Monday, February 28, 2011


About 12 years ago I was a primary teacher in the Plano 3rd Ward. If I remember correctly the children in the class were about 11 years old. What I do remember is one of the boys whose name was Edgar. He always impressed me with his bright countenance and constant smile and every time I think of him a smile comes to my face.

A few years ago, shortly after Krista's diagnosis I ran into him at church. He was in his late teens at the time but could only walk with the assistance of crutches. He had been diagnosed with the same cancer as Krista was but it was closer to his brain stem and had already affected his motor functions. Despite this he still had that ever present smile on his face.

Krista and I kept in touch with him and his mother Liliana over the next few years. We would find comfort in each other knowing we all shared the same trial. A couple of years ago we ran into them at the Dallas temple. Krista and I had just finished an endowment session and were walking to our car. Edgar and his mother were about to leave the temple themselves. Edgar was in a wheel chair now and had lost almost all control of his body. Yet he was beaming with joy. Not only was he able to receive his own endowments but he had just done his father's temple work so that they could be together in the eternities. It seemed as if his trial didn't matter anymore. He had the blessing of the temple for himself and his family and whatever happened next was fine, he knew he was ready. That was the last time we saw him.

Edgar passed away on September 22, 2009. He was a good friend and we were saddened that his life was shorter than expected. But we were happy for him to finish this trial and return back to his Father in Heaven and his earthly father that had passed on before him. I can just imagine how joyous that reunion must have been.

After Krista's memorial services, when we just arrived at the cemetery to dedicate her grave, Liniana pulled me aside and whispered to me that her son, Edgar, was buried in the same cemetery, just yards from where Krista was to be buried. I was filled with joy to know this. Krista's body was laid to rest just yards from our friend who had passed away just a little over a year earlier. They were friend in this life and I'm sure that friendship continues even now.

Yesterday, in Sunday School, we were studying Christ's Sermon on the Mount. As we were reading the Beatitudes I was asked to share with the class how the Gospel has comforted me while mourning the loss of my wife and best friend. I shared the experiences, the help and comfort that I was blessed with. When I finished others in the class shared their thoughts and experiences of comfort during times of mourning. As I listened I looked around the room and noticed so many in that room who blessed me and my family with comfort during the last couple of months. As I was gratefully pondering this my eyes fell upon Sister Win Marsh, a wonderful friend and truly an angel. She and her husband had lost several of their children and knew what it meant to mourn. Shortly after Krista's death Win sought me out to talk to me, to share with me their experiences with the loss of a loved one and to let me know what to expect and what was perfectly normal at a time like this. She also happened to be the Relief Society Compassionate Service Leader or as Krista would call it "Captain of the Angels". What a blessing she was in this capacity at this time. She knew what I was going through, what I was feeling and what help I would need without even asking. Many times she would recommend areas of service for my family that I hadn't thought of. She was a great blessing for us when we needed her.

For the last few weeks, while driving in the car, I've been listening to President Thomas S. Monson's biography "To The Rescue". Chapter 26 of his book is titled "There Are No Coincidences". It talks about how people are put in the path of other people's lives for a reason. It not just haphazard or coincidental that certain people have been a part of our lives. I know many people that have been a blessing to me and my family. I'm thankful that I live where I do, that I'm in the ward I'm in, that Jacob and Emma go to the school they go to and that I've been blessed by so many good people. I know they have been put there by the Lord's hand to help us in our time of need. I hope and pray that some day I may return the favor to Him and be of help and comfort to others when the Lord has need of me.

We all have the ability to help, comfort and uplift our fellow men. We each have unique abilities and talents that can bless the lives of others. We need to be ready to seek out those in need so that we may "succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees" D&C 81:5. If we diligently seek out those in need and listen to the promptings of the Spirit we can be instruments in the Lord's hands to bring comfort to those that stand in need of comfort and further His work here upon the earth.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Valentine

I remember one day when Krista and I were first dating in High School. We were standing in the lunch line together and just talking. I kept noticing a funny look on Krista's face, it was as though she was trying to redirect my attention away from her to something on the other side of the room. I looked around and didn't notice anything odd so I looked back at her with an inquisitive look. She then looked up at the top of the wall eyes gleaming with pride. I turned and looked at the top of the wall. Right next to the ceiling I saw a sign written on butcher paper that went from one side of the lunch room all the way to the other. I started to read what was a beautiful letter expressing ones love to another. I continued to read admiring the time and effort that went into it. When I got to the end I read the words "Happy Valentine's Day Jared". Suddenly I felt very small. I forgot it was Valentine's Day and didn't have a gift or even a card for Krista. She had, in typical Krista fashion, gone all out to make sure there was no doubt in anyones mind where her affections were.

It's been 27 years since then and I haven't missed another Valentine's Day. Gifts to her have ranged from simple paper roses to hand inscribed Tiffany's jewelry. But no matter what the gift was I always made sure she knew of my undying love for her. She has been my sweetheart for almost 3 decades. I don't know of a day that I haven't let her know that I love her.

I have a picture of her in her wedding dress on the wall next to my side of the bed. Each night, before I fall asleep, I turn to her picture and blow her a kiss followed by the words "I love you". Tho tears follow most nights I have peace and joy in my soul knowing that we are bound together forever. And If I'm faithful to the end there is nothing that man can do to separate us.

Happy Valentine's Day Krista.

Love Eternally,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two Down, How Many to Go?

Today marks two months since Krista's passing. It's been a time for use to figure out our routine as a family of three. Jacob and Emma have been a great help. Emma is so willing to do anything around the house that is needed. And Jacob has willingly accepted new responsibilities. I used to affectionately call him my little man, but he has been such a help around the house that I now call Jacob my big man. It's cute to see the pride in his face when I call him this.

We have been determined to maintain the routine and traditions that were so important to Krista and I. We have continued our family prayers morning and night, daily scripture study and Family Home Evening every Monday night. At first it felt weird without Krista there to participate but as we acclimated to our new situation we have felt the Spirit of the Lord attend us.

It is good to have the Gospel as a constant in our lives. It is our anchor and compass especially in times of trial. It is the one thing that doesn't change and will always point us back to our Heavenly Father and to our ultimate exaltation. And it is the one way we will be back in the arms of our mother, companion, wife and friend.

So despite my cooking (it's getting better) we've made it two months. It doesn't seem much compared to what we see ahead. But I know if we continue to cling to the Gospel of Christ we can make it no matter how long it may be.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

If ye are prepared...

Monday night I had to run to the store to get paper lunch bags for a school project that Emma was turning in the next day. When I arrived at the store I was surprise by the hoard of shoppers I had to wade through just to buy some lunch bags. I didn't realize what was going on until I started talking to the lady ahead of me in the checkout line. We were expecting a big ice storm to hit that night and everyone was stocking up on food and water to last through the storm. This was a new experience for me. We have always had enough food, water and needed supplies stored in our home to last far beyond what any storm could last. I was thankful that we were prepared for such an emergency and didn't have to endure masses of frantic shoppers to make sure we could weather the storm. And what a storm it was this time.

Usually when it snows here in Plano it starts with freezing rain and sleet and by the time the snow hits the roads are covered in ice making it quite treacherous to drive anywhere. Schools and business shut their doors and people hide out in their homes until the ice thaws. Usually it only lasts a day or two. This time we had to wait four days before the roads thawed and life could return to normal. During that time, thanks to having a set of snow chains, we were able to get out of the house now and then. We had a great time checking up on friends, spending time with family and making it to one of the few good sledding hills in the area. Many times while we were out we ended up helping someone else get their car out of a snow bank or off the shoulder of the road. Being prepared for this situation made all the difference. Not only for us but others we were able to help because we were prepared.

A week before Krista passed away she was talking with her father about what was going on with her life. She recently finished her radiation and chemotherapy for the metastatic tumor that was on her spine. She had regained much of the mobility in her legs that was lost because of the pressure the tumor was placing on her nerves and the pain associated with that pressure was mostly gone. We were anxiously waiting her follow-up MRI and her oncologist appointment to see how effective the treatment was. All signs were pointing to the possibility of good news. But as she was talking to her father she mentioned that no matter what the outcome was or whatever happened all would be well. If she were to die it would be okay because she was ready and knew that the Lord would take care of her and her family. Krista had been preparing for this for years. It brings immense peace to me knowing that she was ready to leave this life and return to her Father in Heaven. Again, being prepared made all the difference. Definitely for her, but also for us and all those who love her.

We don't know what tomorrow will bring. Hopefully we can say the same thing whatever may happen, that all will be well. To have that peace is a great blessing. For the Lord has said "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear" Doctrine and Covenants 38:30