Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How am I?

Today I feel empty. I still have a knot in my stomach that I just can't get rid of. I feel sick. I now know the true meaning of a heavy heart. I feel like there is a brick in my chest. I feel sorrow. I feel like weeping. I feel like sobbing. Today I have wandered around my house wondering what to do. I don't have motivation. I miss my sister. I wonder how I will go through the rest of my life without her here. I wonder how my family will continue with this huge hole. Amber made our family complete. She brought balance and peace. She brought light and happiness. There is no one like her. I feel like I can't breathe. My heart is breaking.

Here is what does make me happy: My kids. They keep me going. They make me happy. They sense my pain and give me hugs and kisses when I need them. My husband. He is patient with me. He stays away when I need him to, but is there when I want him near. Amber is no longer suffering. There is no more pain for her. She is happy. She is home. She is now our angel. And I will see her again. I have a testimony. I have knowledge of the great plan of salvation. I know my Father in Heaven loves me. I know that I have friends and family that love me and are crying with me.

Russ's aunt and uncle sent me flowers today. I have never been sent flowers. It made me cry. Thank you. My little brother called to check on me. It meant so much. People have brought in meals. It is so nice when you don't feel like cooking or cleaning up. And those of you who came to the viewing and/or funeral to support me, you can't imagine how much I appreciated that. Thank you!

Yesterday was the hardest day of my life. I have never been this close to death. I have never been one of the people on the front row. It was so surreal. I kept asking myself, Can this really be happening? When we pulled up to the church, I broke down. Was I really coming to my own sisters funeral??? Was that hearse in the parking lot really for my sister? Was this really the last time I'd see her face--even if it was lifeless?

This post will be huge. You do not have to read it if you don't want to. But I don't know what else to do. I feel like writing down my feelings and sharing my pictures just because it might make me feel a little bit better right now.

My sister and sister-in-law and I were asked to decorate for the viewing and funeral. It was nice to have something to keep me going. Here is a table that shows a little about Amber. She played the piano, loved to scrapbook, loved Tinkerbell, was very creative, loved to make cards and craft, loved stamps. If you look very close, the picture of her on the far right was right before she got sick. This is the Amber we know. I am so glad to know that this is probably about how she looks now on the other side!
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We thought this stamp seemed very appropriate. I must say I have been living by this lately. I've been eating whatever I want. And I am not the only one in my family to agree that right now, the desserts taste the best. (comfort food I guess).
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This is the motto Amber lived by. If you haven't yet PLEASE visit her blog and read her story Amberchase.weebly.com You are missing out if you don't!!!
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This is the cover page I made for her blog book. I also had it made in a large board to be displayed. I had it overnighted so that it would be here by Saturday, but of course didn't make it here in time for the viewing on Sunday. Luckily it was here in time for the funeral and viewing yesterday. I then gave it to my mom.
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Her picture on the left is wrapped with her favorite pink silk pillow case. The binder on the right is her blog. My dad would copy the text and pictures everytime she blogged and then print it out. He would put it in sheet protectors and add it to this binder. She truly wrote a book! It is so beautiful. Her words are such a treasure to all of us.
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This table showed Amber through the years. Some people from Dan and Amber's Ward pitched in and got this picture for Dan's family. They set it up on this table. We just loved how it looks as if Jesus was watching over Amber's life with concern and love. Late last night after we took down the decorations from the church, we went to Dan's house and hung this center on his wall in his front room.
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I love this little board "I Can Do Hard Things." Someone gave it to Amber and it really says it all!
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My sister, Heather, gave this to Amber the day she had her masectomy. Amber truly lived by this one as well. She made the most of the life she was given!
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I didn't take any pictures at the viewing or the church on Monday. I just didn't want to. I didn't even bring my camera up at the cemetery at first, but later my mom asked me to please take some pictures, and I am so glad that I did.
Amber's Family. I often am asked, How are they doing? They really are doing well. I think they are so relieved to not see mom suffering anymore. I am sure hard times are to come, but for the time being, they are doing pretty well! They have many prayers going out to them, and I am sure that helps. The funeral service was beautiful. Dan gave a beautiful talk, and each of the children shared a memory. Blake talked about how his mom would play video games with him and how even if she would scold him about his homework, she would always end it with an I love you! Bekah talked about how her mom loved to scrapbook and how she would let her use her supplies, even when she was little. She would have scrapbook parties with her. Abby talked about how her mom was a "sucker" for getting a great picture, and how they tramped through the mud to try to get a good picture of a buffalo. Also, her mom was the greatest "room mother" at school. Caleb talked about how he was jumping on her bed because he was excited for his birthday. She kept asking him to stop but he didn't. He hit his mouth and his tooth went through his lip, but she didn't get mad and say "I told you so." She just helped comfort him and gave him soda pop.
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Her casket was beautiful. I think Abby picked it out. It had beautiful pink carnations on it.
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We all laid beautiful daisies on the casket at the end of the services. It was so hard...a final goodbye. If you look closely, I also laid my "Run for Amber" bracelet down as well to signify that she has won her race! She has reached the finish line!
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This picture wasn't quite planned, but I love how it turned out. You can see both Dan and my Mom in the background. They were on either side of her throughout her entire battle. Even in the end, they each were able to hold one of her hands. I am so thankful for the wonderful support they each were to my beloved sister.
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This is one of my favorite pictures. I just like it.
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Amber's favorite flower is a sunflower. They just fit her. When she was little, my dad nicknamed her sunshine. Even her scrapbook business was called sunny day (or something like that). Amber truly was always the sunshine in everyone's life!
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The flowers from Dan said Mother and Sweetheart.
Amber is the best mother I know. She made her children the center of her life. She always went out her way to make life fun for them. She always planned fun activities and spent so much time with them. I remember her saying once, "I may not be the best housekeeper, but I sure try to be a good mom!"
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Amber and Dan were truly able to become "sweethearts" in this life, sooner than most couples. I guess when I think of the word "sweetheart" I usually think of older couples. Dan once wrote that he was thankful he was able to be able to care for Amber in ways that couples usually do in their older years. They made the most of their last two years together. I think they really fell in love over again while going through this trial. Once again, I am so thankful for Dan and all he has done for my sister.
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I think one of the hardest things for me is seeing my own parents lose a daughter. It is heartbreaking! So, so hard. I can't imagine how I would feel to lose one of my children. I am so grateful for my loving parents and for all they do for all of us. My mom has spent so much time being there for Amber the past 29 months. Even though we all knew this would be the way it would turn out, I still can't believe this is how it ends!
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Amber was able to be buried right next to my Grandpa Monson. He passed away 22 years ago this very month, also from cancer. It makes it hard to know this was the last family member we have lost, and that it was from the same monstrous disease. I am just glad to know that her body will rest in the same hallowed ground. I am sure my Grandpa was there in her room that night when she passed away. I am sure he was the first one to hold her and welcome her home. I am so glad he was there for her!
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See the leaves on the ground? The moment we walked out of the church after the funeral, and as Amber's casket was being lifted into the hearse, the wind started blowing viciously! Prior to this, there really weren't many leaves on the ground. I felt that it was so symbolic. It was as if the leaves were ready to enter their final resting place as well at the end of their season. When we got to the cemetery, the wind was still blowing hard, and it was so cold. The ground was covered in beautiful fallen leaves. As soon as the dedicatory prayer began, the wind stopped and it was so still. It remained still the rest of the time we were there. It was a little tender mercy from heaven. I am sure that fall will forever more always remind me of Amber. It was her favorite season, after all. Even the leaves paid their respect to my dear sister that day!
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I took some pictures of the surroundings so that I would always remember what it was like that day. So beautiful! So symbolic! Gloomy yet bright. Cold yet peaceful.Photobucket


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I would like to share the memory that I shared at Amber's funeral. One last thing before I end this post.
My Tribute (Memory) for Amber
If two things could be said about Amber, they would definitely be:
· She always was thinking of others rather than herself, and
· She just loved children and babies. She was a mother to all!

Shortly after Amber was diagnosed with cancer, I found out I was pregnant with my second baby; my little Mylie Amber. I would call Amber periodically to see how she was doing. She would hardly let me ask before she would ask me how I was doing and make a big deal out of me! She would want to know how tired I was or be empathetic about how nauseous you can get when you’re pregnant. Amber never wanted any of the attention on her! She was always thinking about others! If I ever tried to turn the conversation to her she would always turn it back to me. (I am sure anyone that knows Amber can relate!)
Later on when I was in the hospital to deliver Mylie, Amber insisted on being the one to take my son, Bennett, for the day! She wanted so badly to help me out. So she took Bennett that day and made it such a fun day for him. She even took him shopping to buy a new toy just for him.

Amber always loved kids and babies and made them the center of her life. She was constantly doing things to serve them. Every holiday, especially Halloween or Easter, or other special times such as the Saturday evenings when the men would go to Priesthood meeting and the moms and kids would get together, she would go out of her way to make a special treat bag, goodie, or craft for all of the nieces and nephews. She continued to do this even when she was extremely sick! I never could help thinking that I didn’t think to do those things even though I was completely well! But that was just how Amber was!

She IS the best mother I know. As I sat by her bed on one of those last few days, I had a very strong impression that mothers are needed in heaven, too. And what better mother could be called than Amber Rosella Monson Chase? I will miss her laugh and especially her smile, but I know that she is now sharing her joyful spirit with others that need her, too.

22 comments:

Strong Family said...

What a beautiful tribute to your sister! I cried as I read your beautiful words. She is just as lucky to have you as you are to have her. I pray that you will be blessed with comfort and peace.

Stinkbombers said...

We love you, Emily. Even though I never met your sister, I feel like I know her just from learning about her from your whole family. She is truly special and so are you. Thank you for sharing your testimony. I was strengthened very much by your family this weekend.
Love,
Steve & Lynnette

Melissa said...

Oh Emily, I wish I could give you a big hug right now! I want you to know that you and all your family are in my prayers.Even though we knew it would end this way, it doesn't make it feel less empty. It seems so surreal. But the spirit was so strong these last two days. The viewing was so peaceful. The funeral was beautiful. You all did such a wonderful job. I loved listening to the brothers and sisters. Thats the Amber I remember. Hearing about her makes me want to be a better mom and friend. Thanks for sharing your feelings and testimony again. I want to tell you also, right before your dad said the dedicatory prayer, Grandma was pleading for the wind to stop. There was power there too. Its a beautiful place for Ambers body to be. We love you and are thinking of you!

Josh and Leslie said...

Oh Emily, you made me cry! That was a beautiful tribute to your sister, from reading this and her blog, she sounds like an amazing person. Truly an inspiration to everyone. I can't imagine how you are feeling right now and I am so, so sorry. Please know that I am thinking about you and your family and praying for you!

Erika said...

I have tears running down my face after reading this. I will continue praying for you and your family and hope you will have comfort during this extremely difficult time.

The Walkers said...

That is such a wonderful tribute to your sister! You made me tear up! I can't imagine your pain, but she will be such a wonderful angel to watch over you and your family! I hope that you can always remember how great she was, she sounds like such a fun person! We have all been thinking of you and your family during this hard time!

Derek and Tara Larsen said...

Emily, what a beautiful post. I don't know the last time I have felt so inspired to be a better mother, better person, and to better appreciate the things I have, and just be grateful for each day I'm given with my family. Thank you for this post. I pray the tears that I've cried as I read your sweet tribute, may somehow lessen your ache, as our family thinks of you, prays for you, and mourns with you at this time of great loss. How we would have loved to have been there for the viewing. I've bookmarked Ambers blog, and plan to spend time reading her words when I find I'm in need of a reminder of the things your post has helped me feel. Our love and hugs!

Love, Tara(and family)

Lesley said...

Emily sorry you are going through this right now! Please know you have many people that are keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers! Glad iam not the only one being emotional! I talked your sisters blog I loved reading it. She was a really neat person. Take care..

Lindsey Rose said...

Emily, thanks for sharing this. It was beautiful. I am so sorry, and I loved your testimony included in this tribut to her. It sounds like you have many of her qualities. You are in our prayers, we love you. the pictures are beautiful as well.

The Killer Bunch said...

I had the same tears everyone else shed from reading this beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. I hope that you will always feel comforted by our Father in Heaven and Amber. I like this saying "If you want heaven in your home, have someone you love in heaven." Love you Em.

Lori said...

this was a beautiful tribute em. big cyber hugs.

Heather said...

Emily, You did a wonderful job with this post and of course the pictures are amazing! You do however make me feel guilty that I do not blog but I sent your blog to many of my contacts that I am sure would like to see it. Your thoughts on how you feel are just like mine. Tuesday for me sounds like Tuesday for you, just plain old BLAH! I am very glad that you took the pics at the cemetery. They are priceless. This was like a wonderful journal entry for you. I am glad that you could do it. I really should start blogging, but where shall I get the time? Love you. Keep on keepin on! Love, your other sister :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Emily,
I was very touched by your heartfelt feelings. I can’t imagine how it feels for you, but I do have a strong testimony of the Savior’s atonement and know that He knows and has felt every little tear, every sobbing tear, every heartache, sorrow and grief, every emotion; but He also knows all of your desires in wanting to become like Him and our Heavenly Father and the only way we can do it is to go through trials. They soften the rough edges of our rocks to make us those diamond gems, and puts us through the refiners fire to make us as gold. I recently heard a quote. I don’t remember if it was conference or a recent devotional, but I wrote it down. I wish I know who said it but it goes like this, “If you take the grief out of death, you take the love out of life.” It is obvious how close you and your family were to Amber. Your love has been demonstrated to hundreds, thus your grief is hard.
I’ve told you the story of when I had a relapse that put me in complete paralysis for a while. It was during the months of April and May and it had been a continuous rain for weeks. I could smell it and my visitors would tell me about it. As I got stronger, I was able to make it to my window one morning. It was in the old McKay hospital and my room faced the east hills. Just as I got to the window, the rain stopped and the brilliant outreaching rays of the sun broke through the clouds of strife, lighting up the hillside and the sky. It only lasted for a minute or even might have been just a moment and then the clouds covered it up again, but I knew the sun was still shining behind those dark clouds. A primary song that I had known in my growing up years (we would sing it with my mom as we cleaned the house) came to my mind. “I am happy today for the sunshine, for the clouds of gray or blue; For within my heart is a song of love. I’ll live, I’ll work, I’ll do. No cloud can cast a shadow over courage such as mine. And I’ll sing my song as I go along. I’ll live, I’ll work, I’ll do.” It became my motivational song. I know these were Amber’s encouraging words to us all as well. I know you and your family will be able to carry on with the same courage as she did, and she and “Our Savior’s Love”, and knowing, “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (you) will help you do it.
I told you of how when I came out of the funeral, I saw the most glorious, brilliant rainbow, in perfect shape. I felt like it was like a hug from Heaven and a perfect touch to end the funeral service that was so beautiful. A rainbow is a promise that Heavenly Father is there. “After the Storm Comes the Rainbow”. (Another song I need to finish.)
Your beautiful words will live on as your testimony here on this earth and eternally in Heaven. We love you and again, our family has said over and over that we want to help in any way. Just let us know. We will always keep you and your other family and loved ones in our prayers.
Love, Mom Harkness

Todd & Karen said...

Emily, Amber would be so honored! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

Emily said...

Thank you so much for taking pictures. I am a good friend of Heather's and we met at school. We met while your sister was battling this ugly disease and I feel like I know Amber through all Heather has told me. What a beautiful family you have and how wonderful it is that you are all so close. We pray for your family daily.

Scooterdoodah said...

Emily ~ What a beautiful post. We were sad to learn of Amber's passing. Such a bittersweet thing when one you love is suffering so much. What an honor to have such a sister. It makes us all want to live better lives. May you be comforted and feel of the Savior's loving kindness at this time of sorrow. We love you and have been thinking of you, Russ, and your family often this past week.

Love,
Carolyn & Scott

Heidi said...

Emily what a beautiful tribute to your sister, it made me cry. It has brought back a lot of feelings from Daxton dying. I hope you can continue to feel comforted and know that our Savior is always there. Please call if you ever need to talk or cry or let me know if there is anything else I can do. Your are in my thoughts and prayers. Love ya!

stewart.shana.ella said...

Emily this is such an amazing post. I am so glad to see such an amazing tribute paid to such a wonderful sister. Amber was a great person and the best mother. I know how much she loved her children. I am always reminded of how important family is when I think of Amber. I remember not to take each day for granted. I was so sad we were not able to figure everything out and make it to the funeral. It sounds like it was beautiful. I am so grateful to see all the wonderful pictures you took. I hope that you are able to find comfort and I am so sorry for what you have been through. I love you

The Jars said...
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The Jars said...

Emily, this is Sarah (Wadman) Jarman. Ashley Wade came to my house today and told me about your sister. I searched for your blog and then hers. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. I cannot begin to imagine the sorrow you feel but I truly loved all the sweet things you had to say about her. She sounds like an amazing sister and mother and friend. I think you are absolutely right, heaven needed her to be a mom to so many others.

Emily, this was so beautiful and I am also in tears. Thank you for sharing this very personal part of your life. The photographs you took are beautiful! You and your family and her sweet children are in my prayers.

Harkness said...

What an amazing post! Your sister will always be with you and I am sure she is doing great work on the other side with our Heavenly Father. Just know you are in our prayers and if you need anything we are here to help!
Will and Kristin

Ryan and Celeste said...

That is such a great tribute to your sister. I never knew her, but I started following her blog last year. I was in tears as I read this, she truly was a great person and makes me want to be a better person. Thanks for sharing, my thoughts are with you and your family.