Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Heather's Funeral and Life Celebration

I have sat down so many times to write this post and can't make it past the title. I miss Heather so much and some days it still feels like it's not real. I think to send her a picture or tell her a story and then have to remind myself I can't. So while I want to document these moments, it is still incredibly painful to do so.

The days leading up to Heather's funeral are a blur. I think we were all in survival mode trying to keep it together. My mom. sister Brittany, Kyle's sisters and I were able to dress Heather for the viewing. At first I was so nervous I could not walk up to her casket. It just hurt too much. But, after saying a little prayer to myself I got up the courage to go stand beside her. After we got started I felt Heather's spirit near. I was able to do her makeup and was glad I could serve her one final time. Phil spent many hours putting together a beautiful video to remember Heather. Phil played it for Kyle at the beginning of the viewing and we were all in tears watching the beautiful life Heather lived. The viewing itself was incredibly hard. I felt like I had to comfort others when I myself needed that comfort. It was so nice to see so many loved ones and to feel their love.

The next day was the funeral. As I mentioned in my previous post, it was a beautiful service. I gave her life sketch, Heather's oldest nephew gave  an amazing talk, the children all say "A Childs Prayer" and then Brittany gave a great talk. After the funeral I could't find my family and everyone had already left to the cemetery. I felt very anxious and when we arrived Phil had to run so that he could help carry Heather's casket. I was so sad that they had already started when the boys and I finally walked up. My Dad dedicated Heather's grave and Kyle read some words that Heather had written to the family. After the burial we headed over to a celebration that Kyle had organized with Heather's friends from their ward. It was just as Heather would have wanted. She wanted to kids so feel happiness. Which was so good after so much sadness. The kids had a great time and I loved looking at all of the photos of my sis. I was happy Kyle honored Heather in that way, she would have been proud.

 It poured after leaving the cemetery and once it let up a double rainbow appeared. We all felt that was a gift from Heather.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Saying goodbye to my sweet Heather

The details in this are very tender and dear to me. I write these things down so I can always remember the love I felt and the sweet moments I had with my sister before she passed.

Last picture taken of the four of us.

I found out on July 1st that my sister was near death. My dad called while we were in Colorado and told me "Ashlee she is waiting for you". I just burst into tears and started packing our bags. We drove through the night that night from Colorado to Utah. It took us 9 hours. When we got to Utah we picked up my parents and went straight to the hospital. Seeing my sweet sister Heather hooked up to all these machines broke my heart. However, I tried to keep it together so I didn't cry in front of her. I didn't want to worry her. She was nervous when we first got there as I sat with her and Brittany. She asked for Kyle by motioning with her hands. It took Britt and I a few guesses but once we got it she calmed down. I tried to tell her stories, it was so hard without her being able to respond. I got worried I was talking too long of a turn and knew my mom would want to see her. I said "Heather I'm going to switch mom, I know she wants to see you" Heather started to shake her head "no". So I asked her if she wanted me to stay and she confirmed yes with a nod. I almost burst into tears right there. I said "of course sis, I would stay forever if I could" (you could only have 2 visitors at a time in her room). In my heart I knew this was bad. I knew she was in so much pain and it broke my heart. Later that night I got to be with her again. She held up and "I love you" sign with her hands and it was the sweetest moment. For her to muster up the energy to do that was purely amazing. On Friday July, 3rd (the next day) my mom and I went back in the morning. Kyle told us he only wanted visitors in the morning so he could have as much time alone with Heather as possible. While I sat with Heather I put lotion on her feet and legs. We were supposed to wear gloves (for risk of infection for us) but I couldn't. I needed Heather to feel my hands, feel my warmth. Show her I love her so dearly. After that visit Kyle said we could visit Heather with our spouses one last time. Phil and I had a sweet visit with her. We told her stories about the boys, reminisced on old memories, and tried to keep the mood light. I did not want to add to any she already had. At one point Phil told Heather about a Darth Vader bobble head Owen wanted and she laughed!You could not hear it but could tell by the movement in her shoulders. Through all of this I could still feel her quick wit. I showed her a picture of her and Kyle from 8 years ago. Kyle said, " man, I have gotten old" I said, "I don't know, I think you look the same" Heather shook her head "no" and we all laughed. Pretty funny. One of the most tender things about these visits was that she was refusing pain meds so she could be coherent when I visited. Talk about pure love. When it was time for me to leave I didn't say goodbye. Just told her we are so blessed to be sisters and that l love her, my boys love her and we know how much she loves us.

The next morning on July 4th, Kyle sent us a text saying that she had returned to Heaven early that morning. So many emotions, immense pain, sadness, relief that she was no longer in pain and much more. The days leading up to her funeral were so hard. I cried at so many random places (still do). We had to get Phil a suit for the funeral since his were in Texas. And when the salesman handed me the suit I burst into tears. They were just rolling and I kept thinking how is this real? We are at a mall shopping for clothes for my sisters funeral. Just so upsetting. My mom kind of volunteered me to speak at the funeral. I was so nervous and didn't think I wanted to but I am so glad I did. All of Heather's nieces and nephew sang "A Child's Prayer". A song that has been so tender to our family and we sang it at my Grandma's funeral when we were in elementary. I sing it all the time ti my kids and Heather would sing it for comfort and to her nieces and nephews. Wesley did such a good job and sang his heart out. He is pretty sad about Heather being gone. We had a family night before the funeral about death and you could tell he felt the spirit and really understood what this meant and where his Auntie Heather was. On the night of the viewing he sat in one spot for nearly 45 minutes. She loved her kids and love love and miss her dearly. One night when we got home Wesley said a prayer and asked 3 times if " we can please have fun with Auntie Heather again". My kids just adore her and it hurts not having her here. I need her. It is so hard to picture the rest of my life on this earth without her. I am so thankful for the Plan of Salvation and for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know I will see her again and can feel her love around me. She continues to surprise me and I find out new things every week. She didn't let her disease define her and was determined to live a beautiful and full life. And she was successful. We love you sweet sister.

Deckerson Reunion

The end of June we drove out to Colorado for a fun family reunion with Mom and Bob, Todd, Whetten family and Nelson Family. The Nelson's were so kind to have us all in their beautiful home! Our boys were in heaven playing with their cousins for 5 days. We roasted marshmallows, did family olympics, siblings went out on a day date to the Olympic training center (thanks to Grandma and Grandpa), rented a water slide, took family pictures and visited the zoo. It was such a perfect trip. Wish we got to see these sweet families more often! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

June 2015

Heather was so good at keeping a record of her and Kyle's life together. She documented everything and now we have so much to read and remember. I am so thankful for her example and am determined to make this a priority for my family's history. 

On June 8th my Dad sent me a text asking me to FaceTime Heather. He said "he thought it would help her".  She had been in the hospital for over a week for a routine visit. When Heather answered on the iPad I immediately knew something was wrong. She was talking slowly, seemed dazed and did not appear to have much strength. However, she still tried to chat with the boys and even taught them a banana knock knock joke. Our conversation was brief and when I hung up I burst into tears. I could feel that this was serious. Later that night, the Drs realized Heather was having a bad reaction to her medicine and needed a blood transfusion. She ended up having 2 that night. I called Phil and we both agreed that I should fly out to Utah the next morning. I sent Heather a text and said. "I am looking at flights, can I come be your buddy for the week" she replied, "I'd love that" then I asked her if she wanted just me or me and Eli. Of course she replied "Eli is a must".  Phil's Mom was so sweet and watched Wesley and Owen while Phil was at work during the 4 days I was gone. 

The next 4 days with Heather were truly a blessing and so happy I was able to fly out. We tried to be at the hospital as much as possible. Went went back to my Mom's when Eli needed to nap or had had it for the night. On Thursday night I was able to spend the night with Heather in the hospital. We laid in her bed together and just chatted for hours. I loved every second of it! 

One of the days Heather felt like walking (we pushed her in a wheel chair) over to Primary Children's to have lunch and she bought my boys some prizes from the gift shop. She was always thinking of my boys.

Eli and I went back home Early Saturday morning. After I landed and turned my phone back on, I got a text from Heather saying she was being moved to ICU but not to worry. I did worry though and again, had the feeling that this wasn't good. 

When Phil and the boys picked me up we went straight to an Astros game. I tried to be in the moment  and have fun with my boys, but it was hard to not just break down in tears. I wanted so badly to be back with Heather. 

Eli so happy to be off the plane.

My dad sent me home with donuts for the boy. They were pretty happy about that. 

Heather got this cow for Owen at the hospital gift shop.