I'm 22 weeks pregnant. I'd like to share some details about my current status, but I also feel impressed to share something extremely difficult.
On October 15 my dad died. Typing that sentence just made me cry. What do you say? Where do you start?
My dad has faced dementia related health problems for several years. I never cared to share any of those struggles in this forum because they were personal. Whether or not his health had declined in recent years, the coming of the news on October 15 would have made it even 0.1% easier.
Jason and I rushed to my parents' home to be at my mom's side the second we heard the news. He still lay in the house when we arrived. To say it was hard to see him is the understatement of all time. I would say that it is a bit of a spiritual confirmation to know that a person has a spirit and a body when you see someone who has just died. He was clearly not there. The him that makes him, him was somewhere not there. I knew that, and I knew that I knew it on a spiritual level. Within several hours all of my sisters had gathered with my mom, and my brother was in flight to Arizona.
All along we had an ultrasound scheduled for October 15. Once I learned what had happened, I was ready to cancel the stupid appointment and not think twice. My family thought I should go. We knew that going would give us a glimpse of our baby and reveal the gender. I didn't care. I couldn't even be excited. Well, we did go, and that proved to be a tender mercy for this day.
As I lay on the exam table staring up at the ultrasound screen, I was mesmerized and lost in the moving baby. She, yes, Hot Dog, is a she moved gracefully and repetitively throughout the ultrasound. She even showed her face for us quite a bit. The doctor made several emphasized comments about how healthy and animated she was. These little observations combined with the special experience of seeing your baby inside of you were enough for me to know that Heavenly Father blessed us with a little tender mercy that day. I couldn't help but think that this new little life was somehow a passing on of the torch of life in my family. I don't exactly know how and when the spirit enters a baby in the womb, but I'd really like to believe that Hot Dog did indeed get a chance to brush shoulders with Bappy on that day that he entered into his place of rest. I certainly hope so.
This tender mercy did a great deal for me to carry on through the next week of grieving and preparing for a funeral. All I have to say is that going through this has taught me a great deal about the gospel and my place in serving within His kingdom. Friends and family alike brought meals, gave hugs, and shared memories. The best way I can describe it is that they helped filled the cracks and holes that couldn't be filled in any other way.
The day before the funeral was extremely memorable and difficult all at the same time. We made a decision to accompany my mom to dress my dad for burial. It's not something that I feel I should share electronically, but I will say that it was difficult beyond measure but a final act of love and service to provide my mom and dad. It brought us sisters together , and again, reminded me that our bodies are sacred and that our spirit goes back to its home.
The funeral went well? Is it okay to say that? I feel that the services were a lovely tribute to a coach that gave his all to basketball. Because of this, he imparted life lessons to players, students, and his children and grandchildren. As expected, I walked away being proud to be one of Coach Bratt's daughters. I walked away with a restored and refined determination to keep running and doing my best at everything that comes my way.
Again, through all of this I learned many important lessons. My testimony was strengthened, and my resolve to fulfill my service responsibilities to others was increased. I know that the Plan of Salvation provides comfort and hope in this time of sadness. I know that completing my dad's temple work will be a momentous day. It goes without saying that I have to continue living the gospel. As my dad rests from his trials here, he is probably right now learning about a gospel his heart began to love and accept late in his life.
Whatever you do in life, do your best. Coach Bratt