Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Unexpected Teacher

We are back home in Seattle now. It has been a lot different, as you can imagine. I don't even know where to start with this post, but we want everyone to know how thankful we are for all the love, support, and prayers that have been sent our way. People have been so kind and it is very humbling. We left Spokane (where my parents live) last Monday to head to Wenatchee (where Eric's parents live) for the funeral which was to take place on Tuesday. There was a viewing on Monday evening and Eric's mom had made an outfit and blanket for Andrew to be buried in. Eric and his parents dressed Andrew and got him all ready. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to do that. I didn't think I would be able to see him, but once they had Andrew dressed, Eric and I took the opportunity to see him. Everything is still pretty unreal to me. While we were at the viewing we got a phone call from our case worker - we have worked with him for all of our adoptions. He told us that Andrew's Birth Mom had been checking our blog every other day since Andrew was born. She had wanted a closed adoption (she didn't want to see Andrew or meet us because it would be too hard for her). She had happened to move right before Andrew died, so she hadn't heard. So when our case worker called her, she had a really hard time. She decided to come out for Andrew's funeral, and we were really excited to meet her. She is so special to us, and she blessed us with being parents to a really special angel boy.
The funeral was Tuesday morning at 11 in Wenatchee. We both were planning on speaking. I was going to speak about Andrew and bear my testimony, and Eric was doing more of a doctrinal talk. That morning, Eric and I got blessings from our dads, and we were both blessed with many things, but especially comfort. I still can't believe the amount of comfort we were blessed with. Days before this, if I even saw Andrew's binky or blanket I would lose it, but I was so blessed with comfort this day. The Spirit really blessed Eric and me to feel peace and love.
A few days after Andrew died, I felt like I was forgetting things about him. I took a few hours one night and started typing all the things that I didn't want to forget. Andrew had such a fun/sweet personality, and I didn't want to forget anything. I ended up using that list for my talk. I love talking about Andrew, and I love it even more when people can share that love with us. Eric did an amazing job on his talk, and the music was awesome. The Spirit was really strong, and we really wanted to portray how grateful we were to have had such a special boy in our home for the last 14 months.
Andrew's birth mom came to the funeral but stayed out in the foyer. Eric went to invite her in and got to meet her. He said she looked a lot like Andrew. I wish I could've met her. I thought she was going to come in, and she ended up leaving before it finished, so I wasn't able to meet her. She left some things for Andrew at his grave. We are excited for the opportunity to be able to get to know her now. We are going to meet her this coming weekend.
After the funeral services, we went to the grave site, and Eric's dad dedicated the grave. The kids released balloons for Andrew. Then the family headed back to the church for a luncheon.
We are so grateful to everyone who made the effort to come to Andrew's funeral. We had a few great friends from our days in Pullman who came to support us. We had a lot of family travel across Montana, Idaho, and Utah to be there. Thank you!
Since Andrew died, whenever I have had a need or have thought of something that needed to get done, someone has always taken care of it for us. Eric's Dad took care of all of the funeral arrangements, my friend Tara did the program for the funeral, my friend Jennifer edited pictures and got them all ordered and framed for the funeral, Eric's mom made Andrew's burial clothes, my brother Tom has emailed us the right talk (by President Kimball) or said the right thing, Stacy Julian made us an amazing memory book, Stephanie Waite was so helpful and gave me hope, my parent's ward brought meal after meal, my mom's friend Whitney gave us tons of balloons for the gravesite, we have gotten cards and letters and messages from hundreds of people, and there are tons more people out there that have been an answer to our prayers.
Right after Andrew died, my mom had done all of his laundry and put his clothes away so we wouldn't have to worry about it. Getting home I found a basket of laundry that still had Andrew's dirty clothes in it. They still smelled like him. Oh, we miss him.
A baby, from unexpected circumstances,
teaches us humility.
A boy, with unexpected authority,
teaches us correct principles.
A man, through unexpected cruelty,
teaches us the true meaning of love.

An angel, from unexpected parents,
needed love upon this earth.
This angel, with unexpected timing,
finished his mission on the earth.
Our angel, through unexpected separation,
teaches us the greatest lesson of all...

To Depend Upon the Savior

Written by Jon Wilson (my brother)


Winders said...

Jenny, you are an inspiration. I read every update to your blog. I love peeking in on your beautiful family. I just want you to know how much you are loved. ~Windie

Natalie said...

That post and poem are SO beautiful. I can't quit crying. We love you guys so much and wish we could have come up for the funeral. We keep you in our prayers-even Madi and Saige are praying for "Eric and Jenny".

Celeste-N-Wes Crew said...

I've been curious on how everything went last Tuesday. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for your strength and testimony. Thanks for your example. We are mourning with you, we are praying and thinking of you. Everytime I look at Ethan,(and my other children)I'm reminded of the great privelage it is to be their mother and to not take for granted this precious time I have with each of them. I'm impressed with Jon's writing skills. I cried. . . We love you guys-your cuz Celeste

Shannon B said...

Beautiful poem! Although I only met Andrew once, I felt like I knew him from your faithful posts and journaling on the blog, and I instantly LOVED him! What a sweet spirit that you got to take care of for that short period of time! He obviously had work to do elsewhere. Your whole family is an inspiration to me and my family. Your trials have been numerous in this life, and yet, you are all still so gracious and faithful.

This might sound funny, but when we moved back into our home, we could feel the sweet spirit that you created and left for us, and I know Andrew contributed to that! I think about and pray for you guys non-stop. What wonderful news that families are forever!! Remember you and your sweet family are SOOO loved!

Cardalls said...

I found your blog thru Stephanie Waite. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet Andrew. I also have an Andrew (he is 8 months) and I feel a little connection to you. You are an amazing woman and mother. I have never met you but I admire you. Your little angel is watching over your family and will be there for your children when they need extra protection and help. I feel for that sweet birth mother, how very difficult for her! God bless you and your sweet family with his love and peace that surpass our understanding!

Melanie said...

What a beautiful poem. Fits too a "T".

I'm so glad that you get to finally meet the birth mom. What an awesome (although emotional) experience that will be.

What a blessing the priesthood is. How lucky we are to have it in our homes.

Becky said...

Oh Jenny. I am so sad to hear about your loss. I can't imagine the pain you are going through right now. You have been blessed with a loving supportive family and a knowledge of the plan of salvation. Truly, families are forever. You are in our prayers.

Allison Barnes said...

Jenny, you are an inspiration. You have amazing strength. I can't believe you have had to go through this. I can hear your parents in your words. You are so blessed to have an amazing parents that raised you in the gospel and have shown you strength. You are in my prayers and i wish i was there to help.

Clinton and Jessica said...

What a beautiful post Jenny. We continue to pray for your family and I know that you have the best support system there is...your family is amazing and truly an inspiration through this difficult trial you are going through. You are an extraordinary mother and woman and I know that you have been so very blessed with your beautiful and eternal family.

tara said...

What a sweet post. I am so glad you were able to get thru the funeral with such comfort. I was shocked when I saw you were speaking and wondered how on Earth you were going to get through that. What a great idea to write down all the little things you loved about Andrew. That's something that'll be sure to make you smile every time you read it. Love you, Hen.

Army Petes said...

Jenny, Thank you for keeping your blog up dated. We love you and your family so much.

Kristen said...

You don't know me - I heard of your loss through Stephanie's blog and am so deeply sorry for the loss of your beautiful boy. Sending love and hugs your way from CA - you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Nycole said...

What a beautiful post. You and your family are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. You are such an amazing mother and example. Andrew is so lucky to have you as parents.

The Potter Family said...

The funeral was so wonderful. Jared and I have talked together and with other family members about it. We were especially humbled by Eric's talk. It gave us a good slap on the head and let us refocus on what we need to be focusing ouselves on. Thank you for that. Thank you for your family's amazing example of faith, courage and hope.

Bianca5 said...

I'm very sorry about your lost of Andrew. I wish i could of met him and share the laughter you and your family has. I know when you meet his birth mother this weekend you will see a lot of Andrew in her. You and your family are so loving and caring I can't thank you enough. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers.
Your posting was beautiful.
B" xoxo

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Your story brang me to tears as I read about your wonderful family and about the devastating passing of your beautiful boy. You don't know me as I live in Australia but I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I can tell that you are such a strongly knit family and that your faith and love will bless your family through this hard time.
I really pray that your heart finds comfort and peace in this time of trial.
Ellen xoxo

Alexandria said...

Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. I can't imagine what this past week has been like for your family but I can see that the Lord has and will continue to bless you with peace and comfort. You are such strong people and have such a loving family. Andrew truly is a little angel and I am so grateful to see those beautiful pictures of your family all dressed in white at the Temple together. Knowing you are sealed together forever strengthen's my faith and makes me so grateful for the Knowledge that this life is not the end and we will be with our loved ones again. I love you! You have always been a great example to me in every aspect of life. You're family is so beautiful and our family will continually have you in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Kerrie sent me your blog page and it was very hard to read but also inspiring about how strong you are and your faith. My sister now lives just down the road from your parents too and she had told me about this. I just wanted to leave a note and say I am praying for your family.

Lisa said...


I feel terrible- I just happened to see a post on your FB wall and I checked your blog. I am so sorry for your loss and the loss that you and your family are feeling. Life is so precious and your little Andrew is so adorable and just has the most angelic little face. I'm so glad he was able to spend his short time here on earth with such an amazing family. I love you Jenny! You guys are in our hearts and prayers!

All our Love-
Lisa and Jeff

Stacey said...

I can't even tell you how much your story has touched my heart. I am so sorry for your loss and want you to know that your family is in my prayers. I hope that you find comfort in knowing that your Heavenly Father loves you and that you will see your sweet Andrew again.