Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thankful Thursday

I am counting my blessings today...large and small.

I really do have a pretty great life.  I'm reminded of this as I sleep in because of a headache and then go about my work and routine on my own schedule.  What a blessing.  As long as I get my work done it doesn't matter when this happens....YAY!  I'm also reminded of this as I look at my wonderful Wayne and all he does for our family.  He is such a strength to me.

I'm so thankful for friends.  My sweet friend Erin is moving to Arizona in a few weeks.  We got her back in Utah for just a few years and now the Blakes are off again for their next family adventure. She came up Wednesday, and we were able to go for a hike and talk up Mueller Park Canyon.  She is a breath of fresh air and truly concerned about everyone.  She assures us that she got a house big enough for everyone to come down in the winter and vacation with her...sit around her pool...and she will know all of the best places to shop and eat.

Still counting my friend blessings... I am in awe of the support, sweet notes, cards, flowers and gifts that have been coming my way since Marcie and Dad's deaths.  I feel truly loved and know we are on this earth to help each other, lift each other and strengthen each other.  It's so much better this way.
Mary Englebreit continues to be one of my favorite artists.  Marcie and I shared this love.  We were always sending each other ME cards and thoughts.  I will have to find another ME lover to do this with now.

Thankful for bike riding.  I look forward to getting on my bike and pedaling in the sunshine.  We are headed today up Morgan way to make the rounds.  I'm so hapy Wayne does this with me.

Thankful to be a Me-ma.  We love grandparenthood.  The Littles are a hoot. Sophia is so strong willed and willing....Andrew is so smart and shy....Alfie is growing and going.  We will get baby Tayla soon right her in our home.!!  To have a baby around every day will be a slice of heaven.  Lexi is hanging in there with constant contractions trying to make it to 36 weeks, then the baby can come at any time.

I'm thankful

Monday, September 21, 2015

What have I learned?

Drawing of Marcie given to Call famiily by YSA Bishop LeFevre
As we have gone through this period of death and loss in my family I feel the need to reflect on the experience and maybe some lessons learned.

We have grown closer together as a family in some ways and farther apart in others.  We spent so much time around hospital beds and shared stories and memories, cried and laughed together that it felt almost like heaven on earth.  SO much of work and worldy  things diaappeared and we glimpsed complete family time.  As soon as the final funeral "amen" was said though, we haven't seen much of each other.  We needed space and time to breathe and get back into our life routines.  Our  Parents were the draw, the magnet that pulled us and now that they are gone we will have to make an extra effort to come together.

One death was a blessing...Dad's,  and one death was shocking...Marcie's.  Even how they left this world, these words apply.  With Dad he slipped peacefully away, being able to be lucid and kind to the end.  His pain was managed and at his almost last breath we all laughed and then were so grateful that he was gone, that his life race was over and his journey was just continuing.   Marcie's death was what nightmares are made of.  Her body was wracked with cancer and her gasping and lungs collapsing was horrific.   In the end she really didn't even look like my sister. I don't know why Cancer works this way, but it does. It was horribly sad and upsetting. I'm grateful for Gary's reminscing, the singing of hymns and having famiy around that night.  I hope this is the memory that I will eventually keep.  I have had to put the beautiful Marcie pic as my screen saver in an effort to supplant the last pic I have of her in my head at her passing.

Two years is a short amount of time to lose 3 loved ones.  My whole world is on it's head.  I was just over the reeling of having my most amazing Mother die, and then Marcie is sick and dying, and Dad too.    It feels surreal not having my sister, mom and dad right down the street from me.  There was so much comfort in this.  They were my cheerleaders, my shoulders to cry on, my back to reality checks and in charge of the family.   I am now the matriarch?!?  It's hard to go on without my people but I know I must.   This shared experience of death hits every family, and as I look around I have wonderful examples of carrying on through the heart ache, and reaching a new normal.

I don't have just sympathy for families who lose loved ones any more... I have absolute empathy.  I get it.

Life really is short.  We need to have those hard converstaions and the sweet, loving ones too that connect us to our families and friends and hopefully help us become more Christ like and less judgemental.

Say I love you a lot and often.... it can't hurt and it always helps.  Even at the end, when we thought Dad was completely out of it, someone would come or leave and give dad a squeeze and say, " I love you" and he would always mumble back, "I love you too."  It was amazing that in this dopey-state love  came easily to his lips.  It's because he didn't hold back saying it all through out his life.  He said it often and meant it.

Take more pictures.... I have so few these last years with my sister. We were always taking the pics and not in them together.  I feel bad about this.

Some days grief and sadness feel almost unbearable.  I have to hide away and cry away the hours..but the next  moment I get a sweet text, an Alfie hug or look at the blue, blue sky and I feel fine.

It doesn't matter how we get to  heaven...we just all do eventually.  We mortals with our fallen bodies and intellects  put so much emotion around death and dying, but it's just all part of the earth experience. There isn't all of this emotion attached to death in heaven.  I don't even believe that God has our days numbered and we exit this world only when God says.... that seems crazy to me.  Dad could have died 3 different times this year, and it wasn't God's will that brought him back, but dads not having a do not resuscitate order in place.  How does one explaiin car accidents?  The Holocaust?  SIDS babies?  God doesn't sit around deciding it's this person's or that person's time to die.  Death is just all part of being on earth. We just came to get a body,  have life experience and continue on our journey to heaven.   I do believe in tender mercies along our path as reminders that we have a loving Heavenly Father... but getting to heaven is the goal, not seeing how long we can stay on earth through medical science.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rainy Days...

so...... I'm sad.
Rainy days like this make it worse.
I have holed up in my bed for hours and I can't wait to climb into my bed at night. ( this is true for every night since my people - Dad and Marcie- left me. )

It's a good thing I have a 13 year old, so atleast after school hours I have to pull myslef together, get out of the house and run her to cheerleading and lessons etc....

It's fun to watch Laila as a cheerleader.  She is darling and doing better and better with her stunts and tumbling runs. She is really good at rolling her eyes at Wayne and I.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


LOTOJA is done!  Wayne and his riding team were on their bikes for 12 hours and 14 minutes and came across the finish line at 8:26 pm.  It was a grueling 206 miles.   The last hour was in the dark which made it even more difficult for Wayne. The guys, knowing his dizzy  difficulties urged him to go ahead and finish in the light but he said no. He wouldn't leave them. They started together and they would finish together. Wayne pulled everyone in the last 26 miles. It took some intense focus. I'm so proud of his strength and his loyalty. 

We had a great time as BBB crew. Laura and I sang and laughed and cried in the car all day. We made up this Song  to the tune of "You are Me Sunshine ": 
We're riding Logan up to Jackson
Some people call it LOTOJA
We're the support crew, we bring the water 
They ride their bikes til their butts are raw
We are the girl crew. The BBB crew
We keep them happy all through the race
They'll never eat all the food we give them
But it puts a smile on their face. 

Coming across the finish line cheering and crying for the riders really felt like an accomplishment. It proves once again that Wayne can do hard things. 

Wayne's team included Bob Lake, Kent Stanger, Kevin Martin and Eric Belnap. Brad Party and Mark Lalli rode together. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labor Day Weekend 2015

After the drama of August/September with my sister and my dad dying and funerals and exhausting was good to run away to the Welch family cabin for a bit.  
Meemaw time with Alfie, Sophia and Andrew.  
Bre and Tru dress alike at the cabin....kind of strange
Addison and Bre try to kiss with helmets on... the ATV's were great!
Alex and Landon sit by the fire....
We spent the weekend with the Madsen and Mark Welch families and Wanee and Holly.   At times it was wall to wall people, but it was wonderful.  We played games, watched videos, played outside, talked around the fire, had dutch oven prepared by Rob Madsen, canoed in the lake, lots of food and little sleep.  We had a special talent night Sunday evening with songs and jokes and dance moves.  Wanee performed the much requested "How much is that doggy in the window" complete with her barking.   Holly ended with her testimony and Wayne wrapped it up with reminding us why we have trials in our lives and how can can grow closer to Heavenly Father because of them.  
Melinda and Tami singing "Colors of the Wind" as we tried to figure out our paddling.
Playing ball with Laila, Alex and Alfie.
Andrew loved getting dirty and riding the 4 wheeler
Tru, ALfie, Bre and Addison watching the Talent Show.  Bre sang little Mermaid songs and a Xanadu duet with Addison.  Addison sang "Puttin on the Ritz."  Tru sang his Pinnochio song from SHrek.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Funeral Talk for My Dad

My Dad was a good man.  Really, really good.  In this world of good, better, best…where we tout this person as the greatest, or this product as the best…”good” may not seem like much in our eyes, but in God’s eyes it is.  We see the word Good used many times in the scriptures: The Good Samaritan. The Good Shepherd.  May the Good Lord bless and keep you.  Be of Good Courage.  Be of Good cheer.  The Good Tree bringeth forth good fruit.
Luke 6:45  A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good;
  Helaman 5: 6……. and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.

Today I want to remember my dad…and his goodness.
My Dad was a Good Father.    He taught us the gospel with bleary eyed morning scripture reading  as we lay on and around his bed.  Often when dad would get us a drink or help us in any way he would smile and quote Matt 23:11 “he who is the greatest among you, let him be your servant.” He got the family “toys” the motor home and boat so we could spend time together.  We  boated at Pineview, motor homed to California with luggage bursting off the roof and clothes bouncing down the highway as we drove.  We  spent 43 summers at Bear Lake condos together.  Dad wanted us to have fun…even though he said he wasn’t very fun and needed to work on that.
HE taught us to work before we could play.  Many a summer holiday we would be outside pulling morning glory and weeding, before we could join our cousins swimming.  Once we arrived at the pool, however we were treated time and again with “The Silver bullet”.  My dad bouncing on the diving board and doing a beautiful swan dive.  In his younger days he would don a silver swim cap,  as he got older he performed this trick fully clothed much to our delight.
As a family we loved to perform and Dad was our best audience member. He would tell us we did good.   Dad  joked when we were singing with the  Cole Collection, that we would have a party to invite our friends over just so we could sing at them.  He was correct.
I want to share a life lesson my dad taught me…. I was in 4th grade up at my Uncle Jay’s farm in Fairview, Idaho…where my dad grew up.   I was on the back of my cousin Nora’s horse while we were rounding up cows.   We tried to jump a ditch, and were almost successful, but the horses hind legs were in the ditch and as it was scrambling to get out, I slipped off the tail end, and ended up having my foot trampled on by the horses hooves.  I lay in the ditch crying, I’m sure pretty dramatically, and my dad rode up, looked down from way up on his horse, with the sun shining and creating a  glow about his head… I thought My angel father is here to rescue me and give me comfort…. Instead He reached down with his hand and  said, “ Well, get up before he steps on your other foot.”   That was it.  Dad taught  us to be strong through our challenges…he learned this at a young age…and wanted us to learn it too. You see my Grandpa Cole passed away when Dad was 15 years old….and it was tough.  Dad was from a his, hers and ours family he was the oldest son of the final ours family…and much responsibility fell on him  when his dad died.  Dad doesn’t remember really being sad, but more in a daze when his father died.  Then a few months later while working in the field, a piece of equipment broke down and dad didn’t know how to fix it …so he broke down and cried and screamed to the Lord…he said he heard a voice tell him, “if it is to be, it’s up to me.” And that’s where the pity party stopped.
One of the last “father” things dad did was give father’s blessings to his children.  He couldn’t walk or stand anymore, so he sat in his chair and we all sat on the floor at his feet for one last blessing.   His words were never sweeter.  We never have doubted of his love for each of us.

My Dad was a Good Husband.  My dad loved my mother… Adored my mother…always said She was THE best thing that ever happened to him and couldn’t believe he was so lucky to get such a catch as Sheri.  I remember countless times my dad dancing with mom in the kitchen…and it would most always end in a dip or a kiss with an announcement, “Kids have I told you how much I love your mother?”
   My parents always sang this tenor-alto duet:     “God gave the wisemen their wisdom, and to the poets their dreams.   To father and mother , their love for each other, but he left me out so it seems. I walked around broken hearted, thinking life was an empty affair.  But when God gave me you it was then that I knew he had given me more than my share.”    
Dad was a good singer. He could yodel and sing all of the old cowboy songs.  ( play recording)  I found such comfort in this especially as a child driving in the old station wagon at night time.  My parents would sing together in the front seat while we pretended to fall asleep in the back just so my dad’s strong arms would carry us in and up to bed.  My dad loved to sing tenor in a ward choir and did so faithfully for 50 years…it helped that his wife or mother in law were the choir directors.   I hope I can always hear dad's high tenor and mom's low alto voices.  If it’s possible to die of a broken heart that's what dad died of. He said over these past two years that his spark has gone out since Sheri passed away.

My Dad was a Good Grandfather…he taught all of his grandkids the song .. Once I went in swimming…it's about a guy stealing the clothes of Some one  skinny dipping. We have sung it so much we changed the words at the end to, “ it looked like Grandpa Lyle,”  and then we all laugh.  We even sang it at the end of my moms viewing 2 years ago to cut through the sadness and bring much needed smiles.

One summer Dad  gave cash incentives to grand kids to work out at his home.  He would pop his head in and check to see who was there and call us his angels…so we called him Charlie.  (Charlie’s Angels)
 My dad taught his grand boys about faith and prayer.   Years ago my family was training a guide dog named Stephi. We had just returned home from our Bear Lake Vacation and I walked into my back yard and went "CRAZY!" I didn't have one flower left.....we were under attack by snails. I hate snails. I went into the garage and pulled out the snail bait and went to town in the back yard, sprinkling it EVERYWHERE.
The next night, while Wayne was at a baseball game with Monson and Truman....Addison noticed Stephi was foaming at the mouth and shaking. She wasn't doing good AT ALL. We picked her up and put her in truck and started calling vets one was answering their phones. It was 7 at night, but where were all of the vets? I called all through the phone book....finally one animal hospital answered in SLC....we drove straight there, praying and crying over our Stephi. She couldn't die. She wasn't really our dog. Technically she was on  loan to us for Guide dog training. This was an expensive puppy...and now she was dying. It was horrible.
Addison was sobbing. Landon was hysterical. I was praying harder than I had prayed in a very long time for Stephi's life. We carried our sick dog into the hospital and the Dr. couldn't believe she was alive after all of the snail poison she had digested. Stephi was put on machines and a stomach pump with tubes running every which way.  My dad came to the vet hospital after we were told that Stephi was going to die.
 My dad looked at us all sobbing and this is what he records in his history, “What happened next was pure inspiration and came about not of myself, but by the power of faith and how we sometimes receive blessings and spiritual experiences in all parts of our life.  I recall it as if it were yesterday how the words came out of my mouth, ‘Hey guys, the Vet doesn’t know what is going to happen.  There is only one individual who knows, and that’s our Heavenly father.  Where’s your faith?....she can make it. “And he had us all kneel and say a prayer right there in the lobby for Stephi’s life.    I couldn’t believe it… I had just prepared my kids for the inevitable death and now here’s optimistic Grandpa Lyle telling them that Stephi was going to live.  I wanted to punch him in the face….Well….He was prophetic. The vet said it was a miracle that Stephi pulled through.

Dad always taught faith and prayer and bore his testimony at many a family event.     Just 3 weeks ago dad called all of his family together for his final King Cole moment… He shared about his life and how he  wanted us to get along and love each other when he was gone.   He bore his testimony of forever families and the love of  his Savior .  We all cried and sang Love one another. He took his calling as family patriarch very seriously. 

My Dad was a Good Latter Day Saint.  My dad served in many callings……but his most cherished were the two missions he served…his first to the Southern States serving along side of Harold B. Lee ….in the 1950’s and then to Scotland with my mom in 2003.   But….Being obedient didn’t always come easy to dad in his youth…but once he was truly converted to the Book of Mormon while serving in the army during the Korean War…he never looked back.  He was a good disciple a dedicated believer and loved the Lord.
In his obituary we wrote Lyle is a ‘Fine old high priest’.  This is from a book we read together 16 years ago…and again during his last days….by Donald Smurthwaite…  I will paraphrase…
A fine old high priest is someone who has  thin strand hair that long ago faded to gray.  A fine old high priest wears silver rimmed glasses and works in the temple and without being asked puts back the hymnbooks in the chapel.  He is a person who  sees gentleness more clearly than ever before and it is the hallmark of all he does.  A fine old high priest’s words are always kind and loving.  He thinks nothing is better than to have a child sit on his lap, unless it is to watch a baby fall asleep in his arms.  A fine old high priest knows there is more to be gained from life by slowing down than by speeding up.  A fine old high priest holds his wife’s hand when they walk together toward church and still thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world. A fine old high priest doesn’t care about gain or getting ahead or making money or who is right and who is wrong but concerns himself more with finding wisdom.  A fine old high priest is at peace with himself, and he understands life, and he knows he can’t tell another how to become a fine old high priest because it is something that is not sought but happens gradually and may take a lifetime or more.  A fine old high priest finds joy in common things, treasures a crayon drawing from a primary child more than any piece of art in a museum and nothing bothers him much because he knows that he has done well and this part of existence is almost over and he needs only to endure another season.  A fine old high priest knows how to say good-bye and looks forward to saying hello.  A find old high priest likes where he is in the world he created.  Many men grow old, and many are high priests.  It is the fine part that is difficult to attain.

My Dad was a Good friend. My dad owned a men's clothing store on Main Street in Bountiful  for years. Cole Esq was THE place.  This was Pre Mr. Mac time.  As a result growing up it seemed  Dad knew EVERYONE in Bountiful.  He Learned a lot about human nature and how kindness goes a long way.   He would smile and shake hands at every restaurant and store or just walking around the block.   There were many times that dad helped out people financially and spiritually.   Dad has many friends.  Our dear friend George Sharkey from Scotland shares this about his friend Lyle,  “ … my sweetest friend Lyle, is and will always be that special light that never dims. To be in his presence is heaven to me. I feel like the moth around the flame, where I flutter, he remains still and true to all that is true…….He is my regulator, never found off course.  He has that unique ability to make others feel that they are the most important people he has met all day and we leave him feeling that we have been in the presence of greatness. What a talent! What wisdom! What humility! I have never met such an influence nor experienced such a closeness in the bonds of friendship. He has been that ' image of Christ ' to all who have needed him as I have needed him on so very many occasions.”

And now… I would like to share my Sister Marcie’s thoughts….. As Marcie lay in her cancer bed, a few days before her death I had a chance to talk to her and record her thoughts about many things.  I asked her to tell me about dad… ……Marcie's words. :  Our  dad’s  the best.  He was silent but deadly. He didn’t say much but he always had your back. Very loyal. He didn’t really have a lot of example growing up of what a father did.  His father was in his 60’s when dad was born and died when dad was 15…so Dad was just figuring it out on us kids.  But he always wanted the best for us.  He really cared. 
Dad was definitely sad when Marcie won the race to heaven, but I’m sure he is rejoicing with her now.
We began Dad’s Obituary …”I am Sufficiently sophonsified and everything else would be superfluous.”   This is what he said for years at the close of many dinners to tell us he was satisfied, filled and happy.  Well I’m pretty sure the Lord is Satisfied with Dad’s good works and his happy, filled life and welcomed him to heaven with open arms and said to him, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, September 4, 2015

84 Miles....

The Cache Valley Century Bike ride was finally here.  I should have been training for it all summer, but with Marcie and Dad in the hospital and spending time with them and being physically and emotionally exhausted , it just didn't happen.

The bike riding went great for Tami  Madsen and Laura Belnap (on her electric bike), but only  good for me.  Wayne said he would stay with me, Tami and Laura to ride this 100miles so he could be out in front and pull us around the course. He is so loyal…and awesome.  We averaged 15.5 mph around. Rob Madsen drove the support vehicle.  Going our pace only bugged Wayne a little bit when really big guys and or riders with BYU kits on passed us up. 

I was just "too" everything…too sad, too out of shape, too miserable pedaling into the wind. And I was feeling a bit nauseous from too much Gatorade.     Finally at mile 68.3 I felt like the pioneer at the side of the trail that says, “I’m done, bury me here and go on…it’s ok.” So the 3 other riders left me on the side of the road having my bawl -fest-pity -party… I told them to fetch me on the way back and I would finish to 84 miles in honor of my dad…but that was it.  I cried for Marcie's loss.  I cried for her kids and grandkids and what they will miss out on not having her wonderfulness around.  I cried cuz  I was  missing my mom.  I cried for my dad and what a change his passing will bring to my extended Cole family.  I cried for my out of shape body.   I cried for all of the injustice in the the world and for children starving in Africa.  You name it, I cried for it...howled really...into the wind sitting in the dirt, holding my bike up, by the side of the road.  

 It's crazy how crying is good and bad and it comes at the strangest times.  

At mile 84 I got in the support vehicle with Rob because this ride wasn’t fun anymore. –I was proud of the other 3 for finishing.  

I don’t know if I will ever try another 100 miler….

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dad's Obituary

“He Was Kind”

     He was “sufficiently sophonsified and any more life would have been ‘superfluous’.” Lyle Nelson Cole was a “Fine Old High Priest”.  He was a covenant keeper.  He was charming. He had a gift of making others feel important. But most importantly, he was kind.
     Lyle Nelson Cole was born September 25, 1931 in Fairview, Idaho to Joseph Truman and Bertha Nelson Cole. He died September 2, 2015 from complications due to kidney failure. He had 4 siblings and 8 half-siblings. Lyle is survived by his brother, Jerold (Patty) Cole; his parents and siblings are deceased. Lyle grew up on a working dairy farm and was elected freshman and senior class president of Preston High School. After graduation Lyle attended the University of Idaho on a Boxing and Baseball scholarship. He served in the US Army during the Korean War. Then he served an LDS Mission to the Southern States where he toured with President Harold B. Lee. Upon returning, he attended and graduated from Brigham Young University. At BYU he met and fell in love with Sharolyn (Sheri) Butters Cole (deceased), the daughter of N. Grant and Eulala Butters (also deceased). They were married and sealed on June 9, 1959 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Lyle and Sheri were a beautiful couple that complemented each other in every way. A true-love match for 54 years, they had 5 children; Marcie (deceased) and Gary Call, Melinda and Wayne Welch, Adam and Christine Cole, Elizabeth Cole and Allison Dennison, Angela and Guy Brown. Lyle also has 24 grandchildren, 6 ½ great grandchildren and many in-laws, “out-laws,” nieces, nephews, friends, and neighbors who admire and love him.
     Lyle and Sheri made their home in Bountiful, UT. Lyle was the owner of a popular 1960’s men’s clothing boutique, “Cole Esquire.” He later sold the store and started a career in Real Estate that lasted over 30 years. Lyle sold hundreds of homes and was sought after by clients who knew of his reputation for honesty and good business practices. Lyle was an active and faithful member of the LDS church. He served as Bishop of the Bountiful 4th and 7th wards. He loved serving on High Councils and with the Young Men, but his favorite calling was being a Missionary – especially with his wife Sheri as missionary companions in the Scotland, Edinburgh mission.
     Lyle’s motto is “Kindness” and he lived it every day. In his quiet, cheerful way, he served others. Maybe you were a customer at Cole Esquire or maybe you bought your house from Lyle. Maybe you played on his baseball team. Maybe you served with him on a mission. Maybe he took you on a campout with the 8th/Woodland Hills ward young men. Maybe he gave you some homegrown tomatoes or told you a clever joke. Maybe he sang you a song with some of his hilarious made-up lyrics. Maybe you saw him perform with his family in a musical or sing in the ward choir directed by his wife. No matter where you know him from, you know he was Christ-like and kind – a true example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  
     In lieu of flowers Lyle requested donations be made to the LDS Missionary Fund through your local LDS Ward.
     A viewing will be held Friday, September 4, 2015 from 6:00 to 8:00p.m. at Russon Brothers Mortuary, 295 North Main Street Bountiful, UT 84010. Funeral Services will be held Saturday, September 5 at 11:00a.m. at the LDS Woodland Hills Ward 640 South 750 East Bountiful, UT (As per Lyle’s instruction, we will be done before the BYU game begins!) A pre-funeral viewing will be from 9:30-10:45a.m. Burial will be at Lakeview Cemetery.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015