Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Butterflies and Dragonflies

I hate going to the doctor, and yesterday I finally figured out why. It's not the poking and prodding, or the little tushy-less paper gowns. It's because when I look around me there, I am surrounded by people who are sick. Not swine flu sick, but sick with things that won't go away after 10 days on penicillin. Folks with long looks who walk beside loved ones with longer looks.

At a recent appointment it was discovered that my thyroid gland, shaped like a butterfly, is very enlarged. I blew it off. With all that is going on in our lives trying to figure out why I keep having miscarriages, I didn't want to be bothered with something new to deal with. It wasn't until I realized that one of the reasons a thyroid can get big is due to cancer, that I began to take it seriously. Cancer runs strong in our family. It strikes young and hard. In the metaphoric sense, that gave me butterflies.

Last week I went to my cousin's funeral. She was 41. She left behind 4 children, ages 7, 7, 7 and 7. Lisa was born deaf, and struggled with the losses of 4 babies, losing one of her tubes in the process. Finally, fertility treatments gifted her with four gorgeous babies. She nursed and pumped for all for babies for about 6 months. She wanted to give them what she would have given them if they had come one at a time. After her babies came, Lisa's husband began to manifest schizophrenia and became dangerous. She left him for the safety of the children, and has raised them with her mother. Now her mother will raise them alone.

At the funeral, there were hymns sung and scriptures read, but there was nothing of Lisa. No talk of her spirit, of her eternal soul, of her good work here in this life. There was talk of pain, and grief, and perhaps some weak hope for something better-than-misery later on. It felt as though the priest who spoke was putting Lisa's spirit on a paper airplane, giving a toss into the great beyond and hoping for the best. I felt flat and emotionless. I was perplexed at the dull feeling. When we left the little church, I burst into tears. The only thing worse than a funeral, is a funeral that doesn't feel like a funeral. People need to grieve.

The next day Guy and I went to church. It was a meeting like few I have been to in my life. I felt like every word had been written for me. One of the speakers even talked about the miracle that "the spirit is able to, in this room, teach a hundred messages by saying the same thing, by using the same tool." For me the messages of that day were to help me to understand the purpose of pain and trial in our lives. I learned about how to know if the answers to my prayers are really coming from on high when I fret that I might be making them up in my head. I felt peace and love and understanding. It was the message that should have been given the day before, at the funeral. I am so grateful that I was able to be there for it.

Lisa loved dragonflies. I will think of her every time I see them.

They did an ultrasound on my thyroid yesterday.
I am waiting for my test results.
(You can listen to the talks here:
2009 1016 Cohen Jay & Nick Hammer.mp3 ... there is an engineer in the ward there with Asperger's syndrome, and he records every meeting. I don't know if it is mormon-kosher, but I am glad that I can listen to the messages again. It is a recording of the whole meeting, so you will have to skip ahead to hear the last two talks by Jay Cohen and Nick Hammer).

Insect photos thanks to Flikr


rebekahmott said...

I am very sorry to hear about your cousin. It is wonderful to know the gospel and know what life can/will bring. It is also nice to know what death can/will bring. The Holy Ghost is such a wonderful thing to have, because it gives us peace the kind of peace people need and so many people need. I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

Elizabeth said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin. What beautiful children.

Jackie said...

I too am so grateful to have the gospel of Jesus Christ. Laine, sorry about the loss of your cousin. What cute kids!

I'll be waiting anxiously for your results and praying for you. Love you!

Anonymous said...

I'm here from LFCA. i'm so sorry for your loss, and the pain of those darling four children.

Alexicographer said...

Here from LFCA.

I'm so sorry about your cousin and her children's loss. How sad that the service wasn't one that was meaningful to you; I do agree that such things matter and hope you'll find a way to honor her memory in a way that does reflect her life and its value.