Our trip together to Hawaii in 2009 will remain a sweet memory and a reminder that you never know how many tomorrows you have so cherish each day to its' fullness.
Saturday, June 30th (Mark's Angel Day) started with an early morning trip to the Columbia River Temple with Brooke and a couple of other close friends. What a wonderful way to be reminded that families can be together forever!
Shortly after our friend's almost two year old passed away last year I read this quote "Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards" by Soren Kierkegaard. The words ring loud in my head and my heart has been softened in knowing that someday we will understand God's plan for us a little better.
After returning from the temple both of our families loaded up the kids with lunches in hand and headed to Boulder Cave in the Wenatchee Forest. We have done this hike several times over the years with our two families. Birch got to remember what it was like to have a baby in toe with Eli Cox as his partner in crime. Chloe did a great job (one direction) with her new highlighter yellow colored cast. (side note: this past week when Chloe went in for her weekly xrays; it showed that the divot that the doctor had intentionally made in her cast after the surgery to help keep her ulna bone in place was starting to form around her arm too much. The doctor decided to take off the cast and put a new one on and used a piece of wood to flatten the bottom edge to her arm to help encourage the divot-ed part to flatten itself. Then the cast tech guy added this hanging ring thing to her cast with casting material. Chloe now has that black nylon cording around her neck to help encourage gravity to do its' magic on her arm.)
Alex, Kaleb, and Tyler are like three peas in a pod. Kaleb always wears that nasty shirt when he comes over since we are OSU Beaver fans!
We made it!!! You can see the mouth of the cave behind us. Somehow the kids all ended up with the flashlights so us adults were lucky to follow behind a fast moving child and not trip on the slick rocks below.
What good lookin' kids we have!
Now that is a whole lot of kids! I have thanked the Lord many times that our two families were joined together eleven years ago through Brooke's parents living in our ward; from there our families became intertwined.
Brooke, Eli, Chloe, and I headed down to the trail-head to change a poopy diaper while Birch stayed back to hike into the waterfalls. The kids all loved hiking behind the waterfall and came back a bit wet.
Kaleb made this sweet bow and arrow for Coop that was 100% el' natural.
Throughout the day (really the year) we had lots of time to reflect. I have grown to love this quote! I had it cut in vinyl and have it on our office wall.
I read a talk this week that really impacted me; the words above are from the talk.
Brooke and her five chillins' have been a beacon of hope and strength to our family (and many others). Even at Mark's memorial service Brooke had the strength to speak and share what was in her heart.
When I think of Brooke and the kids the word that pops into my head is R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.E. I'm not saying that haven't grieved or mourned over not having their daddy and husband here on earth to cuddle with or help them with their homework or wrestle with, etc... But they are still creating memories..new ones that sparkle with life. Brooke took the kids camping -- by HERSELF (that deserves Mother of the Year award in my book), they've started new traditions, and most of all stayed close to the Lord so that in return they have been able to be guided by their Angel Dad.
Cox Family - October 2011
All day long we prayed that the weather would hold up for the evening party.
The kids were all bouncing around the field like it was afternoon, even though the party didn't start until 8:30 pm.
Love this lady! I truly feel that I have sat at the feet of a disciple of Christ this year and have learned so much from Brooke. I have always been bolstered by her positive energy but in addition I have come closer to Christ through Brooke's example.
Late night partiers!
Finally at 10 pm it was dark enough to light the lanterns. At that very moment the wind started blowing. The lanterns were whipping around and not one made it in the air. Most burned holes through the sides of the lanterns. None were able to fill with enough of the hot air to make them rise. It was disappointing and a bit anti-climatic.
The true purpose of the party was fulfilled, though. We were all surrounded by those that love the Cox family and able to celebrate Mark!
While at the temple Brooke was sharing with us what she has learned this year. That got me thinking as well.
- to live today for you may not have a tomorrow
- express your love daily to your family
- take LOTS of pictures and videos
- that I can act as the Lord's hands
- it is better to always talk openly about a loved one that has passed on; it keeps their memory alive and the communication line open
- it's okay to be angry and not understand the "whys" as long as it doesn't over take my spirit
- music soothes the soul
- to be prepared for the future so fear is replaced with peace
- to create with grief...art heals
- those on the other-side are still very much apart of our lives
- friends can make all the difference
- food can help heal the soul
- people are generous and sometimes just need to be asked
- that when someone dies it is better to say something rather than recluse yourself because you don't know what to say or you fear it will be the wrong thing
- kids are resilient but they still hurt
- everyone deals with grief differently
- that everyone wants to be loved, cuddled, and told they are pretty -- no matter how old you are
- sometimes you just need a good cry
- that random things remind you of someone that has passed on
- the Lord loves all his children and desires for them to be happy
- hope, love, and joy are just around the corner
Here is a little video that I put together to commemorate Mark's Angel Day.
Click here if you can't view video: http://youtu.be/mdNw9lS6lqs
**All nature photography in this blogpost and video are from the talented Kimberly Greenfield. To see more of her amazing work go to: http://agreenfieldphotography.com/blog/