"How we react in any situation has to make things better, not worse." - Jeffery R. Holland
Last week my husband walked into our living room with a look of disbelief. I watched my previously recorded reality television guilty pleasure show while doing homework and giggled asking him why he looked so concerned. "Bryan died," he somberly replied. Little did we know our entire week and outlook on life was going to be changed.
Bryan was an older brother of one of JD's best friends, a close family friend and neighbor to him throughout his entire life. JD grew up looking up to Bryan. I never met Bryan, knew him or had any idea really he existed. However in the last week he has had many tears shed for him from me and my darling husband. After hearing the news of Bryan's death, we immediately looked at our financial situation. We just happened to have enough reserves in savings to get us down to the funeral and back home for a quick trip. We prayed together and came to the decision that we needed to be there for Bryan's family through such a difficult trial.
Upon our arrival, we learned the details of Bryan's murder. I won't go into details here (an article about the case is available here if you want to learn more about Bryan's story) but Bryan was essentially killed over a gaming system, a computer and a few video games. People never cease to amaze me with their awfulness. It sounds morbid, but it's true. I just can't hardly stand how much evil is in our world today.
Although we were visiting my in-laws under unhappy circumstances, we sought to make the best of the trip and take our mind off of the losses surrounding us. I was able to visit with my best girlfriend, Mandy! We were roommates last year, we have been best friends since middle school, she's my soul sister in every way. I just adore her. We ate salad from Durango's just like old times and visited, laughed and chatted away about all of our going-ons of life. I was also able to see my other wonderful friend, Cody, who is unfortunately home from his mission on medical leave. We sat in his living room like we had so many times in high school. Reminiscing on old times while also discussing new adventures. At the funeral services I was able to sit with my newly married friend, Emma. She and I have been the classic "opposites attract" friendship from the very beginning. She's not particularly girly and quite low key. Any of you who know me know I tend to be loud and I have quite the girly streak. It was glorious to see three such good friends. Additionally, I saw countless others who made my childhood complete. Primary leaders, seminary teachers, good friends and former teachers were among those seen.
We ate delicious food while we were there, including my husband's all time favorite homemade pizza his mom makes. Playing games and watching movies together was mandatory. JD, Willy and I loved Rise of the Guardians, while everyone else watching fell asleep and thought it was boring. It's kind of like how I adored Les Mis and none of them were big fans...ah, I'm such an odd duck. Anyways, it was an enjoyable second day and we were looking forward/dreading the next day to say our final goodbyes.
JD awoke reluctantly as we both dragged ourselves out of bed and got ready for the services to take place that morning. JD wore my favorite one of his ties, I wore my favorite dress, we were a handsome looking couple that day. After attending the viewing, paying final respects and giving hugs to family and friends we sat through a beautiful funeral service. Many tears were shed by all who knew and those who didn't know Bryan. My in-laws went home after the funeral service. JD and I decided to attend the graveside ceremony and grave dedication as well to show our respect to Bryan's years of military service. The military representatives there did a beautiful job preparing the flag for Bryan's mother. It was truly one of those moments where I was so proud to be an American and so glad for soldiers like Bryan who served in order for me to be able to live the comfortable life that I lead.
JD's older sister, Nicole, even came down for the funeral services. We were able to eat lunch with her and play games before she had to head back to St. George. She brought DELICIOUS cupcakes. I only had a bit of the cake (gluten intolerance...I just hate it sometimes) but her frosting was to die for! That evening I was able to attend a show at my Alma Mater and see my old theatre troupe at work. Many new faces, but a few familiar ones. It was great to see freshman students I had mentored blossom into such great performers.
We began the trek home very early on our final day. Thank goodness we did...because we had not idea the pitfalls that were to befall us. As I walked out to the car, I tripped walking down my in-laws patio stairs and sprained my ankle. JD rushed me to the high school to get checked out and get ice put on the ankle. We started off our drive late, but things looked optimistic. We ate Jimmy John's sandwiches, it is a must on a road trip, and continued on our way. Outside of Beaver, UT we saw highway patrol lights flashing behind our car and my heart sunk. Long story short, I am incredibly disappointed in the Utah Highway Patrol Officer we had to deal with. As he was rude, out right lied to us, searched our vehicle without permission (including going through my luggage) and then impounded our vehicle because we did not have our insurance card in the vehicle, although we provided proof of insurance to the DMV that day. We had to call several people to get documents to the DMV in Beaver to get an impound release (Thanks again Aunt Brenda and Progressive!). We had to walk 3 miles to the DMV from the towing lot, mind you I still had a sprained ankle. Everyone else we had to deal with that day was incredibly wonderful and kind to us. They couldn't believe we were impounded for such a minor offense. Even the manager of the towing yard gave us a discount because he believed the impound to be ridiculous. After 3 hours of delay, we finally got our car back and continued on the road home. I have never been so excited to get home. While during the situation I was very upset and angry, I later was able to remind myself things could have been much worse. We could have ended up stranded. We could have been unable to get our car.
Eventually, we got home safely. We're a little broke for awhile because we had to pay for getting our car out of impound as well as paying off the ticket we were written ON TOP OF BEING IMPOUNDED (but I believe it will be dismissed because one of the charges is completely baseless and the other can be dismissed with proof of our insurance provided). While there were highs and lows throughout our trip, I learned a few things:
- When you forget to bring tissues to a funeral, wear a flowy cardigan because it will be useful for your sweet husband to use when his eyes are watery.
- 90% of the time, people don't like to admit they made a mistake. Therefore, they impound your car to cover their tracks and treat you terribly because they happen to have a bee in their bonnet that day.
- Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes by my sister-in-law are the most delicious cupcakes I've ever tasted.
- Seeing old friends is a wonderful treat.
- Family in all forms is a wonderful gift.
- Life is incredibly short.
- I really love my husband. If you told me how much capacity for love I'd have toward him before we got married, I don't know if I would have believed you.
"To love another person is to see the face of God."- Victor Hugo
Mandy and Me, reunited at last!
Saying goodbye to a wonderful man, missionary and veteran.
Jimmy Johns = Our Utah food must have