Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where Can I Turn For Peace

I have learned that there are many hearts that are cold and indifferent.
I have also learned that there is so much contention and noise surrounding us one wonders,
"Where Can I Turn For Peace?"

 I was raised a Latter-Day Saint in a partial member home. 
My mom was faithful and true yet for reasons unknown to me for years my poppers showed no interest in the church.  I never grew up with Family Home Evening, Family Prayer or Family Scripture Study.
My poppers did not even hold the priesthood.
But the Lord was good in blessing us with faithful priesthood holders who watched over and loved us.
In Matthew the Lord shared the Sermon on the Mount and taught:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy
Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God
Blessed are they which are persecuted for the righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake...Ye are the light of the world...

I love the first two blessed's.  I am surrounded by those who are poor in spirit and those that mourn. 
It brings great peace to my heart that the kingdom of heaven will be theirs and that they shall be comforted.  Even though at their darkest moments they do not see that promise being fulfilled.  

I for one in my dark moments hold tightly to those promises.
They are what help bring me back into the light of our Savior's love along with the love and support of great friends who have and share their priesthood with me.

I continually carry a prayer in my heart and find my mind reflecting on scriptures that have inspired and enlightened my mind.
I am so so grateful for the inspired leader's of the church.
 I find myself feasting on their words. 
All these bring me great peace when the darkness sets in.

I read the story of how the words to one of our hymns came to be, a mother had a daughter who battled with depression all of her life.  If I remember correctly the daughter gave into the depression and took her own life. 
It was during that dark time her mother penned the words, "Where Can I Turn for Peace."
I hope her words bring comfort and hope to those who are searching for their peace.

Where Can I Turn For Peace

Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger and malice

I draw myself apart, Searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows, where, when I languish
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand? He, the only One.
He answers privately, Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching
Constant He is kind, Love without end.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Greatest Gift

In my chosen profession I am surrounded by those who are in the Twilight of their lives.
 They have seen sorrow, joy, and hard times but not at one time does one hear them murmur.
Instead they chose to share the best part of their lives which is their loved ones and family.
 They quietly bear what they are called to bear with grace and great dignity.
 Their humble and great hearts inspire me and create a desire within myself to become a better person.

A few nights ago as I was visting with my fave guy I found myself asking this question,
"Why does Heavenly Father call home so many of His children during the holidays?
Does He not know now painful it is to the loved ones left behind?"
 I have found myself pondering on my questions for the last few days searching for an answer.
I lost my poppers just a few days after Thanksgiving for many years I found myself dreading Thanksgiving because I missed my family so very much.
It took me several years to stop looking inward and start looking outward.

One Thanksgiving I brought home one of my special friends who had no family close by; we had all the fixings and made some very special memories;
 That started a tradition which continues today and has truly deepened my love for Thanksgiving.

As I watch those around me struggle with losing a loved one at this most joyous time of the year,
I find my heart aching for them and asking, "why!"

Today as I was spending some one on one time with a special friend this thought came into my mind as I looked at the peace that filled her lovely face, "What greater gift could she be given then to return home and no longer face the aches and pains caused by her worn out body."

 My mind then turned to the greatest gift our Heavenly Father could give,
He gave His only begotten son so that all of His children could return home to Him
and live with Him once again. 

He knows better than anyone the feeling of loss and suffering as He allowed His perfect son to be taken and judged of man as a thing of naught and crucified for us.

I read a thought by Elder Melvin J Ballard that truly brought this home to me:

"I think as I read the story of Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac that our Father is trying to tell us what it cost Him to give His Son as a gift to the world...Abraham and Isaac ascended the mountain, gathered the stones together, and placed the faggots upon them. 
 Then Isaac was bound, hand and foot, kneeling upon the altar. 
 I presume Abraham, like the true father, must have given his son his farewell kiss, his blessing, his love, and his soul must have been drawn out in that hour of agony toward his son who was to die
 by the hand of his own father. 
 Every step proceeded until the cold steel was drawn and the hand raised that was to strike the blow
 to let out the life's blood,
when the angel of the Lord said: It is enough.
Our Father in heaven went through all that and more, for in His case the hand was not stayed.
He loved His Son, Jesus Christ, better than Abraham ever loved Isaac, for our Father had with Him His Son, our Redeemer, in the eternal worlds, faithful and true for ages, standing in a place of trust and honor, and the Father loved Him so dearly, and yet He allowed this well beloved Son to descend from his place of glory and honor, where millions did Him homage, down to the earth, a condescension that is not within the power of man to conceive. 
He came to receive the insult, the abuse, and the crown of thorns.
God heard the cry of His son in that moment of great grief and agony, in the garden when the pores of His body opened and drops of blood stood upon Him, and He cried out:
Father if thou be willing, remove this cup from me.

I ask you, what father and mother could stand by and listen to the cry of their children in distress, in this world, and not render assistance?  I have heard of mothers throwing themselves into raging streams when they could not swim a stroke to save their drowning children,
rush into burning buildings to rescue those they loved. 
We cannot stand by and listen to those cries without its touching our hearts.
The Lord has not given us the power to save our own. 
 He has given us faith and we submit to the inevitable, but he had the power to save, and He loved His Son, and He could have saved Him.  He might have rescued Him from the insult of the crowds. 
He might have rescued Him from the crown of thorns placed upon His head.
He might have rescued Him when the Son, hanging between two thieves was mocked with,
Save thyself, and come down from the cross.  He saved others; himself he cannot save.
He listened to all this.  He saw that Son condemned;
He saw Him drag the cross through the streets of Jerusalem and faint under its load.
He saw the Son finally upon Calvary; He saw His body stretched out upon the wooden cross;
He saw the cruel nails driven through His hands and feet, and the blows that broke the skin, tore the flesh, and let out the life's blood of His Son.
He looked upon that.
In the case of our Father, the knife was not stayed,  but it fell,
and the life's blood of His Beloved Son went out. 
His Father looked on with great grief and agony over His Beloved Son, until there seems to have come a moment when even our Savior cried out in despair:
My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
In that hour I think I can see our dear Father behind the veil looking upon these dying struggles
until even He could not endure it any longer; and, like a mother who bids farwell to her dying child and has to be taken out of the room so as not to look upon the last struggles, so He bowed His head and hid in some part of His universe, His great heart almost breaking for the love that He had for His son.  Oh in that moment when He might have saved His son I thank Him and praise Him that He did not fail us, for He had not only the love of His Son in mind, but that His love for us made it possible for Him to endure to look upon the sufferings of His Son and give Him finally to us, our Savior and our Redeemer.  Without Him, without His sacrifice, we would have remained,
 and we would never have come glorified into His presence. 
And so this is what it cost, in part, for our Father in heaven to give the gift of His son unto men."  

It brings great peace to my heart to know that My Heavenly Father loved me enough to send His only begotten Son to die that I and all will live again. 

He is right, there is no better gift one could receive during this beautiful season than
 the gift to return once again to Our Father who truly loves each and everyone of us.


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas by Greg Oslen

By the magical light of a small Christmas candle, 
A little old man tries to carefully handle
The small porcelain manager which serves as a bed
for the wee Baby Jesus to lay down His head.
In wonder he brings the manager up to his view,
smiles at the baby and whispers, "I love you!"
I love you for bringing this season of joy,
I love you for growing to a man from a boy;
For being our light and leading the way,
For being the spirit which makes Christmas Day!
You've been my mentor, my model, my hero and guide,
Please continue to help me and stay by my side
I've tried to follow your teachings and give as you gave
Please continue to help me and stay by my side.
I've tried to follow your teachings and give as you gave
Reminding all to be kind and that it's wise to behave.
Help me to serve others and bring them your light,
Especially the children, please bless them tonight!
Some have so very little, scarce food for the table,
You know how feels--you were born in a stable.
Bless all their mothers and fathers with a knowledge that's sure,
The best gift they can give is their love, strong and pure.
That's the Spirit of Christmas when all's said and done.
God's gift of love, that came as His Son!
Then back to his mother the child is returned
The Nativity glows as the candle is burned.
In a wink the little old man slips quietly away
some say he goes up the chimney and climbs in a sleigh.
Whatever the case, His mission is clear-
Give unto others, bringing love and good cheer.
He flies into the night and bids us adieu
Doing for others what Jesus would do!
Greg Olsen

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Birthday Memories

I just celebrated another birthday and have another cherished memory to add to my mental photo album.  President Faust made this comment, "There is a difference between presents and gifts.  The true gifts may be a part of ourselves giving the riches of the heart and mind.  Therefore, more enduring and of greater worth than the presents bought at the store.  And of course among the greatest of gifts is the gift of love."
I guess with my "old age" I have found myelf reflecting on the best birthday's I have had the privelege of having.  One of my first memories of birthday's was the love that my mom would put into planning the perfect day for me.  The one thing that sticks out most is the birthday's when I was surrounded by all my family and listening to them sing "Happy Birthday."  I believe that is one of my most cherished due to the fact that all of them are now on the other side but I can still feel their great love and I still hear them singing Happy Birthday to me.

My next special birthday memory was my 32nd birthday.  That birthday forever changed my life's course.  That special day was spent in the Salt Lake Temple.  Just me, my family on the other side and my Heavenly Father.  I still have snap shots of that very special day play out in my mind and a peace that settles deep within my soul.  It was that special day I found out for myself that The Lord knew my name by heart and I was truly His daughter.
Another special birthday memory involves a very special gift from a Loving Heavenly Father to a hurt and broken little girl.  I had lost my poppers and was feeling lost and alone; When I was awakened in the wee hours of the morning and prompted to go to our big window and look outside.  There lightly falling on the ground was the most beautiful snow I had ever seen.  As I gazed upon its beauty I felt loving arms wrap around me and heard a loving voice that was so very familiar, "Happy Birthday Lorie."  I can't remember how long I stood at the window in those loving arms watching the snow fall but soon my eyes grew tired and I returned back to bed.  Upon awakening I quickly jumped up expecting to see snow all over the ground but there was none to be found.  But I knew a Loving Heavenly Father reached out to comfort His heart broken little girl with one of  her all time favorite things....snow.
This birthday I just celebrated is also going on that list.  I learned a new tradition that I am going to continue from here on out.  Birthday cookies for my special friends.

What made this one so special were the gifts I received.  I received so many beautiful smiles, loving embraces and off key loving friends singing, "Happy Birthday" but then one special friend who does not show emotion or like to touch or be touched tentatively tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention and when I turned to face her wrapped her arms around me and wished me a Happy birthday.
Then to top it off as with all my birthday's I spent time with my special friends doing various activites and my best friend taking me to dinner.  Two friends are always there for my fave guys and I's dinner date.  This year another special friend and I attempted to create a crafty project.  Hers turned out divine, mine is a work in progress and of course another loyal friend once again baked me a birthday cake filled with love and then all the birthday wishes from those who surround me.

You know President Faust is right I cannot remember the birthday gifts from one year to another but I sure remember the love and thought that went into the gifts because they were given from the heart but the greatest gift for me has been my friends willingness to share their time and talents with me.
Every year I spend my birthday in the Temple.  If I am working on my birthday I spend my days off in the Temple; To show my Father my great thanks for all the wonderful gifts He so lovingly has bestowed on me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hidden In My Heart

I've been reflecting on comments people have made concerning the healing of my knee. 
Most are, "You sure are walking good." 
Then in between the lines, "You must be healed." 

As I have thought about the various comments and reactions, I have learned that people are quick to look only at the surface of things and not many care to dig deeper. 
Yes, I am walking better yet I still can't kneel down and get myself back up, my knee is still weak and I need assistance getting back up. 
My knee gets fatigued very easily and it doesn't take much to knock me down
due to the weakness of my knee.

That got me thinking about our spiritual knees. 

This past Thursday my Physical Therapist released me due to there is no more he can do with my knee.
 One of the tests he had me do was walk up and down a flight of stairs without hanging onto the hand rail.  Going up I was strong and confident coming down I started having a panic attack. 
My heart started pounding, my hands started sweating and I had this immense fear of falling take over and doing a face plant. 
At the bottom of the stairs my therapist held his arms out to reassure that he would catch me if I fell. 
He also spoke reassuringly that I was doing great.
But yet I was still in a state of panic.
 My knee held up just fine and I knew my fears were all in my mind,
 yet I just could not ease my fears of re-injuring my knee. 

How often does our Heavenly Father ask us to come down the stairs and He is there waiting with outstretched arms and offering words of assurance; yet, we still battle our spiritual panic attacks? 
I have never been one for panic attacks but since injuring my knee I am finding myself more cautious and more apt to have panic attacks which has made me realize that I have had countless spiritual panic attacks where I have doubted that my Father could do all that He has promised He could do.

I have also come to realize that we are quick to judge by what we see outwardly and we do not take the time to see what is happening inwardly. 
We have so much to learn from our Father who "looks upon the heart."
As these thoughts were running thru my mind this song I learned long ago seems to tie in perfectly with what I have been reflecting on.  It is called Hidden In My Heart:

In the shadows of myself far to deep for hurting eyes
from the stage of outward acts a soul desires to arise
Please don't look at what you see when our troubles makes us part
For I know you'll want to love what lies hidden deep within my heart
Theres a struggle deep within causing torment and disdain
Why must goodness go unseen, why this barrier remain
I have feelings no one knows; Joys and lights on my life's chart
But dark clouds obscure them all for they're hidden deep within my heart
yes, their hidden in my heart.

I've decided to really look and listen to those around me because just like me on the outside they may appear healed but on the inside they are far from healed.  May we take the time and make the effort to follow our Father's example and not be quick to judge and to look upon the hearts of our fellow man; He only, truly knows what is hidden deep within their hearts.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Because I Have Been Given Much

This morning as I was sitting in the temple, this thought came into my mind, 
"Because I have been given much I too must give." 
My mind then started running thru pictures of those whose lives have touched mine and how my love for them had touched them. 

 The first memory was a conversation I had with a dear friend, who was feeling abandoned and forsaken.  As I listened to him talk I reached for his hand and said, "My friend, you are never alone.  
You are surrounded by loved ones and even when they are not close by you are still loved and will never be left alone."  We both shared some special tears and our bond grew stronger. 

 "Because I have been given much I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty Lord each day I live
 I shall divide my gifts with thee
with every brother that I see
 who has the need of help from me."

The second memory that played in my mind was the special love shared as I helped feed my special friends who needed assistance and the love and gratitude that radiated from their eyes as I visited with them as I fed them.
 "Because I have been sheltered fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another's lack and I not share.  
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
 my roofs safe shelter overhead,
 that he to may be comforted."

The final memory that played in my mind was the radiant smiles and out stretched hands that reach out to me when they hear my voice saying, "good morning."
They know that they are loved by me and because I have loved them first they love me in return.

I have had the sacred honor of being there when they are preparing to leave this mortal tabernacle behind and return home to their loved ones and Heavenly Parents.
Though it breaks my heart to see them go there is a great peace that fills my soul in knowing that we shall meet again and the love we shared here will continue on there.
 Never to be parted again.

"Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord,
I'll share thy love again according to they word. 
I shall give love to those in need;
I'll show that love by word and deed: 
 Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Aunt Bea

My adopted father wanted to call me Laura but my mother's name was Laura and she thought it would be to confusing so they named me Lorie.  Most the family called me Laura and to this day I am still called Laura by people I meet.  But it does not offend me because of my mothers love and example to me I feel it an honor to be called by her name. 
Kenneth Cope has a song where he talks about his Father and Grandpa and then poses this question, "What have you done with my name?"  What a wonderful question to ponder.  I have a very special friend who for awhile has been calling me "Aunt Bea."  When he first started calling me Aunt Bea I felt as if I was in the Andy Griffith show but there was a day when I was just not feeling well and as I was visiting with Heavenly Father about not feeling well and I must admit I was having a pity party, out of the blue I hear, "Aunt Bea! Aunt Bea!" It brings a smile to my face just hearing that name and knowing it is me.  I turned to face my friend who quickly grabbed my hands and stated, "I love you so much Aunt Bea, your the greatest!"  Tears sprung into my eyes because at that point and time I realized that Aunt Bea had done wonderful things for my friend and had loved him very much.  She had done great things with her name for my friend.
Tonight I was reflecting on my friend and I am in hopes that when we return home I can meet this wonderful Aunt Bea and I will continue to hear, "Aunt Bea! Aunt Bea!  I hope she won't mind that I share her name with her for all eternity.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

City of Zion

I remember as a primary girl learning about Enoch and his city, "And I the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them."  I grew to love Enoch and admire him for his great empathy. One of the stories that still brings tears to my eyes is when Enoch was visitng with the Lord I'll let Enoch share his story:

"And after Zion was taken up into heaven, Enoch beheld and lo all the nations of the earth were before him; and there came generation upon generation; and Enoch was high and lifted up even in the bosom of the Father and the Son of Man; and behold the power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth.  And he saw angels descending out of heaven; and he heard a loud voice saying:  Wo,Wo  be unto the inhabitantsof the earth.  And behold Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced.
And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and the Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.
And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it saying:  How is it that the heavens weep and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?  And Enoch said unto the Lord; How is it that thou canst weep seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all is it thou canst weep?
The Lord said unto Enoch; Behold these thy brethern; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden gave I unto man his agency; and unto thy brethern have said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that the should choose me, their Father; but behold they are without affection and they hate their own blood....
Enoch knew and looked upon their wickedness and their misery and wept  and stretched forth his arms and his heart swelled wide as eternity and his bowels yearned and all eternity shook..."

I have had many instances where my heart swelled as I looked upon the wickedness and misery of some of my brothers and sisters.
If you haven't noticed I love music; it speaks to my soul. As a child I learned the words to this song that ties in beautifully with Enoch's story..

Zions Theme

One night I dreamed a dream; I saw a noble city
With those who were so pure and of one mind and heart
Oh what joy, Peace and love filled the souls of Zion
At dawn when I awoke I looked around with longing.
And lo beauty was there I felt the joy and light
Then I knew and the dream burst forth and was Zion.

It is my heartfelt prayer that all may come to know and feel the joy and light which comes with finding your own personal Zion.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lost Love

Since I have been non-weight bearing I would flip thru the channels of the television to see if anything sounded interesting to watch.  One day as I was channel surfing a documentary on suicide caught my attention.  I was not surprised but I was very sad that the one thing all the suicide victims shared was, "I just want to be loved."  Wheels started turning in my mind hence, lost love:

In todays fast paced technological world it is so heartbreaking to see so many searching for someone to love and to lift tired hands. 
Buried deep within our souls is a longing for a love which we knew so long ago.  A love that was pure and unconditional.  How our hearts yearn for that lost love.
Elder Groberg gave a powerful talk about the power of pure love.  A comment he made that vibrated within my soul was, "True love can lift you from the very depths of your deepest despair."
I have had multiple witness's to the truthfulness of those words as I have struggled with some of my most difficult challenges.  I have felt the power of love for a loved one bring one back from their heavenly home to their earthly abode.  I have had two near death experiences where I returned for a brief moment to my heavenly home.  As I expressed my desire to stay, a loved one would point and ask, "what about him?"  I found myself looking to see who they were pointing at and I would see my husband.  My heart went out to him and a surge of love filled my entire being and I knew that it was not time for me to leave him behind. 
Sadly, there are many in their great despair who feel they were left behind.  They find themselves in such a hopeless state that they cannot even see the One who loves them the most.  In their small dark world there is no one willing or able to feed them.

"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter,
Simon, son of Jonas,
Lovest thou me more than these?
He saith unto Him, Yea Lord;
thou knowest that I love thee.
He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
He saith to him again, the second time,
Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?
He saith unto Him, Yea Lord;
thou knowest that I love thee.
He saith unto him, Feed my sheep
He saith unto him the third time,
Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?
Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time
Lovest thou me?
And he said unto Him,
Lord thou knowest all things;
Thou knowest that I love thee
Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep

May we be so willing to show our love for our Savior and reach out our hand to those in such great distress and "Feed His Sheep."

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Am A Child of God words By Me

As I was reading my FB posts LDS Conference had made a post that they were looking for new verses to "I Am A Child of God"  I went to the TF temple and as I was sitting in that peaceful setting these words started playing out in my mind.  I typed part of them up and submitted them.  They were chosen so I had a family that my mom loved sing the lines and upload it to the LDS Conference page.  Later I received an e-mail that they had uploaded my verses with a video on U-Tube.  If you would like to see the video go to U-tube and type in "I Am A Child of God, words by Lorie Bishop "  It is pretty neat to watch ....not that I'm partial since it was my words lol

I am a child of God

His love for me Divine.

He fills my soul with peace and love

When life becomes unkind.

He leads me

Guides me

Walk’s beside me,

Showing me the way

Knowing He is always near

 Brings great peace

to this child’s soul.

The Ones Left Behind

In 1994 my brother decided he could no longer handle this ole world anymore, so he took his own life.  His death totally rocked my world and forever changed me.  I was taking an English Comp class and one of our assignments was to write a about a personal trial we had which had changed our lives.  I chose my brother's death.  I went through all the stages of grief writing this essay.  I come to realize that I had not healed I had simply buried it deep in my heart.  It was shortly after I completed this essay that I was once again able to hang his picture back on the wall.  It had just been to painful for me to even look at his face.  I share it in hopes that it will bring peace to another who has to walk that darkened road of suicide.     

In 1994 there were 2,286,000 obituaries published across the nation.  30,570 of those notices included the words “died from self-inflicted wounds,” more commonly known as suicide.  Sadly, my older brother Terry was counted among them.  In one brief moment on February 10, 1994 my brother ended his life and took a large portion on mine with him.
It all started with the simple action of answering the phone.  My stepmother had called to inform me that earlier in the morning Terry had put a gun to his head.  I remember my brain screaming out that she was lying while my heart felt like it had been shattered into a zillion pieces.
The morning of February 11th, my husband and I headed down to Terry’s home in Ogden, Utah.  As I gazed out the window, I reflected on a conversation Terry and I had back in 1992.  In February of that year, I had gone to Ogden for the weekend.  One evening Terry drove us up to the Ogden canyon, so that we could talk.  After parking the pick-up, he proceeded to tell me that he was feeling even more isolated.  He made reference to the fact that the “family members” had hugs for each other, but none for him.  No one in the family, with the exception of me, understood his loneliness and pain.  He continued on saying that he was beginning to feel as if he were invisible because people would look right through him.  He closed by making the comment that he was a horrible monster no one could ever love.  I punched his arm playfully and said, “Hey now I love you.”  He simply replied, “Yeah sis, I know you love me, but it’s not the same.”  He shared his hope that one day he would meet someone that would love him the way my husband love me.
Staring out the driver’s side window he mumbled, “But that will never happen.”  I knew at that moment he had been contemplating suicide.  So I came right out and asked him, “Terry have you been thinking about putting a gun to your head?”  Choosing not to answer me he simply started the truck.  Sensing his avoidance of my question I asked him again.  His response was so calm it sent chills down my spine, “Yeah sis, I have thought about killing myself but it won’t be with a gun.  Instead I am just going to drive my pickup over the edge of the Ogden Dam.”  Ice began to fill my veins.  “Terry you can’t do that to me.  We promised that we would always be here for each other.”  Even now I can see his face as he responded, “I’m just kidding sis, I’m not going to kill myself.”  Those words from the past were running through my mind as my husband and I crossed the Utah line.

I found myself increasingly anxious as we arrived in Ogden.  When we pulled up in front of Terry’s home everything looked normal.  His pickup was parked in the driveway and his dog Rusty was greeting us with his usual bark.  I found myself praying that Terry would be inside the house eagerly waiting for me.  When I opened the front door instead of seeing Terry, I saw our cousin Phil who was an officer with the Ogden Police Dept.  He was sitting in one of the living room chairs with his head bowed.  As I walked towards him he slowly lifted his head and raised his hands to me, “Lorie I was the responding officer.”  I had been in a state of denial but at that moment the reality began to hit me.  My brother was never going to greet me again.  He was really gone.

Later that evening as I made my way down the hall to my bedroom (Terry had set aside one of the bedrooms just for me) I remembered the last conversation my brother and I had.  It was Jan. 30th at my mom’s birthday party.  Terry had called to get my mom’s phone number around 8:00pm.  He said that Aunt Ruth, whom he affectionately called “Nana” wanted to wish her a happy birthday.  He sounded so distant that I kept asking if he was okay.  He would respond, “Yeah sis I’m fine.”  He told me that he had to go after he had written the number down.  “Terry”, I said, “You know how much I love you don’t you?”  He answered vaguely, “I know sis, I love you too.”  As we hung up this strange sense of loss came over me.

The morning of the service I felt as if I was wading through quicksand.  I did not want to face the cold reality of it all.   Instead I wanted to stay within the safety of my denial.  The service was like a dream to me.  After all, that could not be my brother lying there in that gray marble box.  It looked like my brother Terry but it just could not be him.  It came time to close the casket’s lid and I found myself trying to crawl inside with my brother.  We had promised that we would always be there for each other and now total strangers were trying to separate us.  I was not going to let them succeed.  I believe it was my step-father who finally pulled me away so the funeral attendant could close the lid.  As they latched the locks I felt as though my heart was being shredded by razor blades and then there was nothing, nothing but a large black hole taking the place of my heart.

Someone, I do not know who, took my hand and led me to a car for the funeral procession.  Once arriving at the cemetery they led me to a square hole in the frozen ground where they proceeded to set Terry’s casket.  I can remember feeling an icy numbness as I watched the final scenes played out.  Afterwards, my husband led me to our car telling me it was time to head home.  I let him strap me in like an obedient child.  I found that my eyes no longer focused on the here and now.  Everything had became a continuous blur.

When we got back to Idaho, my husband discovered that our “hell” had just begun.  I had withdrawn so far into myself that I had become a walking zombie.  A few weeks after returning home my husband tried to reach me and I resented the intrusion into my cold little world.  I let him know by telling him that when they had sealed my brother up in that box they had sealed me up also and not only did they bury him they buried me along with him.  My stinging remark cut my husband deeply.  But because he loved me he kept trying to reach me.  Many a night he would take my car keys because I had made it clear that I did not want to go on living.  I found myself hating the man I had once called my “best friend.”  He had now become my worst enemy.

I found my days intertwining, turning into months and years.  Each day I awoke with emptiness filling my soul.  I had found myself feeling just as Terry had unloved and invisible.  I was in such a severe depression that I could not see the loving arms that were reaching out to me.  One morning, however, I woke up and felt a little tinge of something in the area where my heart had been; each morning after that I felt more and more of my heart coming back to life.  It felt as if someone was inside tenderly putting my shattered heart back together one piece at a time.  Day by day I found my eyes focusing again.  Life was clearer and the continuous blur was gone.  Slowly the icy numbness inside started melting away and the long slow process of healing began.

I knew I was on the final stretch of the healing process when one night I found myself watching an I Love Lucy rerun on television.  As usual, Lucy had one of her hair brained ideas backfire.  While watching her idea backfire, I found myself laughing.  The sound of unfamiliar voice laughing totally shocked me.  Could that have been my voice I just heard?  It had been so long since I had smiled let alone laugh that I thought I had forgotten how.  Needless to say, that laughter was music to my ears.  It was then that I realized I had become a “suicide survivor.”
Over time I had managed to pull myself out of that deep hole of depression that Terry’s death had plunged me into.

Six years have now passed since my brother became “another statistic.”  I still carry an invisible scar in my heart as a constant reminder of the events that transpired in 1994.  There is still a large void both in my heart and life that will never be filled; simply because I can no longer just pick up the phone and say, “Hey bro, guess what!”  I no longer have my “own room” in Ogden.  I now find myself at a little cemetery in Brigham City, Utah saying my hellos to a granite headstone.  I no longer receive warm brotherly hugs as the only contact I have with him is in the coldness of the marble.  I tenderly brush away the grass, leaves and dirt from around my brother’s marker remembering his life.  As I lovingly gaze upon it, my eyes are drawn to the scene I had engraved upon it; my final gift to my brother.

The first thing I see is a towering mountain surrounded by trees, at the base of the mountain is a simple log cabin with a front porch facing the mountain.  My eyes are then drawn to the gentlemen sitting in a wooden rocking chair gazing up at his mountain.  My eyes fill with tears as I remember Terry’s statement about his “dream home,” he said, “One day sis, I’m going to move up into the mountains and build me a log home.”  I would just smile and say, “Oh Terry, you would get so lonely up there in the mountains all by yourself.”  He would then gaze up at the Ogden mountainside and claim, “No sis, up in the mountains is the only place I do belong.”