Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Some shoes and a Surgeon

Dear boys,


A couple of months ago, a lady from AZ made national news. She was vacationing in New York, when she witnessed a tender scene between a police officer and a homeless man. She captured on her camera how he gave the man a new pair of shoes.
Well, that story brought back a memory of your dad...
      Many years ago, we were still  studying at ASU and your dad worked at the Marriott. Well, he came running through the house. I asked what was wrong. He said, "nothing, I just need my church shoes." He grabbed them and I heard his truck take off, again. Fifteen minutes later, he came back home and explained the following:
      "As I was driving home from work, I saw a homeless man pushing a cart on the sidewalk. I went and got him some McDonalds. When I gave it to him, I asked him if there was anything else I could get him." The homeless person answered, "do you have any shoes?" "I have the shoes on my feet, do you want them?" The homeless person asked to look at them and then turned them down. He said, "sneakers wear through, too fast."
Your dad then told me that as he drove away, he thought of his church shoes, Doc Martens that had lasted his whole mission. He hurried back to try and give them to the homeless man, but could no longer find him.
      As your dad related this story to me I couldn't believe he was going to give away his shoes. We were poor students and it took us a couple of months to save up for shoes at the time. But the more I thought about it, I knew that is exactly what your dad would do. He never passed a person in need. Be it a homeless person on the corner or a stranded motorist on the side of the road. It didn't matter if he had time or not or if he was wearing the right clothes.
Your dad always served those in need.

For some reason another memory of your dad keeps coming to mind.
During your dad's surgical rotation, he worked under a surgeon that was not very nice. Your dad told me that sometimes surgeons have playlists they like to play in their operating room. Well, this surgeon decided that instead of quizzing your dad on medical knowledge he was going to quiz him on music. Anytime a new song came on, he would ask your dad, "who sings this?" Your dad never knew the answer. Each time he would answer, "I don't know," the surgeon would make fun of him to the rest of the OR team. After several "I don't know's" the surgeon finally asked him, "what do you listen to?" Your dad answered, "I don't know. I mostly listen to the Disney channel with my kids."
       Your dad didn't care if he wasn't looking cool to the surgeon. He was confident in himself and the knowledge he was supposed to be quizzed on. 

Your dad remained "steadfast and immovable", even when others were mocking him.
Don't forget the example of your amazing dad!
Love you always,

Monday, February 25, 2013



After your funeral, I pleaded with Heavenly Father to not make me go to another funeral for at least... 20 years. Ok, so I know this was an unreasonable request, but I really did not expect to attend another funeral so soon. Especially, for our friend Pete, who was also 31!

I have a hard time understanding why Heavenly Father needed ONE, let alone, TWO amazing, strong (in spirit and body) kind, 31 year old men with amazing smiles that befriended everyone they knew.

You were both outstanding disciples of Christ, ready to serve your fellowmen. That is the one clue I have.

Many times over the last two weeks, I have pictured the reunion the two of you might have shared. I picture a strong hug, two dazzling smiles, maybe you told him when the next basketball game was to be played, and you thanking him. I hope you thanked him for coming to see me at the house. He told me how shocked and sorry he was to hear of your passing. Sincere words of empathy, as he had lost his father and stepfather in his teen years. He offered to help in any way needed and reminded me that he was always nearby. It meant so much to me!

Like yours, it was a beautiful service. Many sweet memories were shared of Pete. Beautiful and uplifting messages were shared.

(Boston May 2012)

The part that was my undoing was when they talked about Pete and his dad. Pete's grandmother was quoted as saying, "Pete was always happiest when he was with his dad. He is happy now."
I know that to be true of our boys as well. Oh, how they loved to be with you! Their squeals of excitement when they would hear your key in the door, their laughter when you would do the guitar tickle on them, sweaty football games in the living room, and how eagerly they looked forward to any outing with you!

(Hillary Weeks, Just Let Me Cry)

"sometimes life sends a storm that’s unexpected,
and we’re forced to face our deepest pain…
at times the hurt inside grows stronger
And there’s nothing I can do but let it out…
So Just let me cry
Till every tear has fallen
Don’t ask when, Don’t ask why
Just let me cry.
I have felt JOY, the kind that makes my heart want to sing.
So, my tears are not a surrender. I'll feel that way again.
But for now, for this moment, just let me cry. "

Thank you for the JOY you brought to our lives,

Friday, February 22, 2013



There are so many times, when I think, "man, I wish I could pick up the phone and tell you/or ask you?..."

The other day, Barbara and I decided we were going to do a girls outing. I told myself that I totally deserve some pampering ;) j/k But, I was really just hoping that maybe for a couple of minutes, maybe an hour, I could forget and push away all my thoughts and feelings. That I could not feel like an old widow in a young person's body. I feel really old these days, but then I think about how my grandmother is almost 103 and that means I could, potentially, have 73 years left to live!

But as I sat in the chair, I realized it is impossible not to think about you and everything else. I just wanted to ask Barbara cardiology questions, but I refrained myself. Mainly, because I didn't want to explain to the ladies that were taking care of us.
At one point, I asked the lady where she was from. She told me she was a military kid and mainly grew up in Germany, but right before high school her father was transferred to YUMA. (?! What are the chances?!) I asked where she went to high school and she said, "Kofa." ?! (what are the chances?) she seemed 10 to 15 years older than me, so I asked her if her principal had been Danny Farar. "Yes." and without thinking I said,  "that is my husband's father." to which she asked, "oh, how old is your husband?" I considererd lying, so I wouldn't have to tell her and start crying. But I didn't and I told her of your passing and I did cry, for a second.        or two.  She told me she only had to go see your dad, once. :)

See? if I could call you, I would have walked out of there and called you first thing. What are the chances? We picked a random groupon, a random salon, and because I got there before Barbara, this lady was the one to help me.

No, there have been too many instances, lately, that assure me we are being watched over.

Forever and for Always,

PS We miss you! We miss your arms! We miss your hugs! We miss your laugh!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Dear Boys,

Several weeks ago, I decided to sign up to run several races. I wanted to run them in honor of your dad, even though he HATED running, unless he had a football or b- ball in his hands.
I knew that running was going to help me and goals would keep me going.

I had my first race on Saturday. Josie and I ran Susan's Run. Susan was a beautiful friend of mine.  Your dad and I admired her parents so much! Like your dad, she also passed away much too early.

As we lined up to start the race I turned on my iPod. The first song to play was
My Pretty Little Adriana by Vince Gill
Your dad and I had just started dating. We left the computer commons around midnight and as we were both turning left to get on the freeway, he yelled, "listen to this song"
Which he then, also began to sing. We played it at our wedding.
It always brought a smile to my face to hear him sing me this song.
It seems to fit now more than it did before.
As I ran the race, I realized that my journey with running and racing, is not really about time.
I am running to help us find peace with our new normal.
I am running to find joy.
I am running to become the mom you boys need me to be.
As I came around the last corner of the race,
Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers
began to play.
Your dad and I were at a dance. We had only spoken a couple of times.
Your dad had been keeping to the sidelines, even though I saw several girls try to catch his eye.
I was busy dancing when your dad came over and asked me to dance.
This song was playing.
This is the song from Ghost.
If my story were a book,
this is what you would call foreshadowing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Mother's Gratitude

The absolute hardest thing about this experience is not the loss of my bestfriend, my companion in all things, but to see my children in pain over the loss of their dad.

I, Adriana, mother of Thomas, wants to thank the kind, generous soul that put a smile on my son's face.

We have been surrounded by so much love. 
So many people have gone above and beyond 
to help us in so many different ways. 
Not a day goes by that love and service is not extended to us in some form...
be it prayers, messages, invites, delicious food and treats, helping me
Last week, my plan had been to ignore Valentine's Day...
but all week long, especially the day of, 
acts of love kept appearing at our doorstep. 
Alex exclaimed, "This is the best day ever!" 

Every time I see a smile of pure joy on my children's faces
a piece of my heart mends.

Wishes for Tomorrow

Some days are harder than others. Some moments, within those days, are harder to endure than anything I ever experienced before Dec. 28, 2012.

Today, Thomas and I were working on his All About Me poster, as he will be Student of the Week. The regular questions were answered. Favorite color is blue. Favorite food is salmon with rice. We picked pictures he wanted to use. The last item of the poster asked him,
"If I could wish one wish, I would wish for..." 
his first answer..."my own iPad" with a big smile. (kids these days!) ;)
I said, "hmm. maybe you should pick something more important."
he looked away from me and  quietly said, "my dad?" 
I noticed his eyes began to tear up and I quickly hugged him. 
"Do you miss your dad?" 
nodding his head, the tears began to fall from the both of us. 
I, hugged him tighter and assured him that it was ok to be sad. That I miss him, too.
After some quiet and sad moments had passed, I asked him if he wanted to put that on his poster. 
He answered, "no. The kids will laugh." 
I began to assure him they wouldn't, but that is something I have no control over. 
I asked him, "well, what is another wish you have?"
"To eat dinner with my WHOLE family again." 
(dinnertime was always a family event. school made it hard for us to always eat as a family, but we tried. We always knew even if it was a quick five min. meal, we had damond's attention for those moments.
I have since developed an aversion to 3 dining tables. 
Our own table, as it has almost 10 years of fun filled family memories. 
My parents table, his absence is too acute.
And his parents table, it's in the room where the nightmare that plays over and over in my head, occurred. 
With that wish, I can see that Thomas, like me, also mourns the loss of family dinnertime. 
"Do you want to write that on your poster?"
shrugging of shoulders. 
and so we wrote, "I wish for my own iPad."

As for me, each morning I wake up wanting to face my fears, but like Thomas, I am not ready to put "eating at dinner table" on my poster, yet. So, I go to bed knowing I have another chance tomorrow.

Our Birthday, Aug. 2011

Monday, February 18, 2013


Dear Boys,
Yesterday, I received a message for your dad from his friend, Kamel. Due to dropping my phone in a port a potty urinal (that is a story for another day) I did not have his number to let him know of your dad's passing.
Kamel left a message wanting to know how we were doing and to let us know he would be coming out to Indianapolis soon. I want to share with you the story of Kamel and your dad, because I think it tells a lot of who your dad was.
A couple of years ago, Kamel knocked on our door and introduced himself as one of our neighbors. He told me that his wife had commented several times on how much she enjoyed watching your dad play outside with his boys and ALL the other neighborhood kids, including her little toddler. He asked to speak with your dad, because he noticed our AZ license plate and wanted to ask him some questions. Your dad joined us and we learnt that Kamel and his family had moved from Alegeria two years prior to this conversation. He was still learning English, but spoke very well and I could tell he was a sincere and intelligent man.
Your dad loved any opportunity to help someone out and he genuinely cared for ALL people. He quickly befriended Kamel and answered his questions. Although, sometimes they had language barriers, they quickly learnt much about the other and found ways to joke:) When it was time for them to move, your dad was right there, with his big muscles, helping them load the truck. All of that occurred in the early spring. That July, we traveled to Phoenix for our vacation month. Kamel was one of the first people your dad contacted, because he wanted to make sure everything had worked out for them and see for himself that they were doing alright.
Damond made an effort to make contact with him any time we were in Phx. We had planned on visiting Kamel and his family upon returning from Yuma. Unfortunately, that did not occur.
When I received Kamel's message yesterday, I knew I needed to tell him in person. Like everyone, they were shocked to hear of his passing and felt much sorrow over the loss of their good friend.
These are some of the things Kamel told me about your dad...
"Impressive, the word that comes to mind when I think of him is Impressive! His strength was impressive, his mind was impressive, his character was impressive.
He was the best person I have met in this country. There are many people in this country that don't reach out to others, but Damond did. He was so friendly and good. He believed in many of the same things we do, for example the IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY."
He was an angel here on earth.
His wife agreed and kept repeating that your dad was a "good man."
I could tell there was so much they wanted to say, but were trying to figure out the best translation for their thoughts.
What I like about this story is that Kamel and your dad never really spent a large quantity of time together. Maybe a total of 10 hrs throughout these last couple of years. I know your dad admired Kamel for his courage to bring his family to a new country, to accept jobs that were beneath his education level so he could care for his family, and his willingness to work hard to create a stronger future for his family.
This admiration was returned by Kamel. He knew the kind of man your dad was, IMPRESSIVE!

Jacob with Kamel and his beautiful family :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Tender Mercy

          Can I tell you that I had a very special experience? I have always loved running. It’s always been quite therapeutic for me. I decided that now, more than ever, I need to run. I have already signed up for Susan’s 5K Run and Color Me Rad in Yuma with Farar’s and Friends.  I, also, just signed up to run the Half Marathon Mini in Indianapolis, again.
Running is never easy. Well, it’s even harder when you are crying. But these tears need to come out. Usually, I run by myself. But this morning, the weather was so nice there were many people running along the canal. Towards the end of my run, I stopped running, because it really is hard to run when you are sobbing. A young lady came up to me and hugged me. She held me while I cried and repeated, “It will be ok. You can be strong.” She provided a shoulder when I needed one and spoke words I needed to hear. When I related to her about your passing, she offered condolences, but told me how her dad had died in a civil war when she was five. I began to ask about her story. She is a young girl of 16 years from Eastern Africa. She moved here three years ago to join her mother who had immigrated before her. She told me about how much she misses her country, family, and friends, but she is here to get an education to better her life. She saw my ASU shirt and said she hopes to go there someday, too.  When I asked her what she wanted to study she said, “oh, maybe premed. If I can do it.”  I was able to tell her about you and all your hard work to accomplish that goal. I told her that “all things are possible. That I knew she could do it.”
I told her about the boys and asked her if she remembers her dad. She told me she doesn’t even remember what he looks like and does not even have a photograph of him. As we parted ways, she repeated to me, “You can do it. Everything will be ok. You will see.”
What a tender mercy from my Father in Heaven to show me He is aware of me. He sent a young girl, who has suffered much, but has the courage and spirit to comfort someone in need. He reminded me of the many blessings that surround the boys and I at this time. We are blessed to have had such quality time with you. We are blessed to have photographs and movies that will help us remember you. We are immensely blessed to have so many family and friends that will help share your memory with the boys. I, hope, that in time, the boys and I may comfort others as that girl comforted me.
Brother Jardine has continually reminded me of the scripture Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.” This scripture helps me find strength when I think I have none. After parting ways with the young lady, I began to run again and Strong and Courageous by Jenny Phillips was playing on my ipod.

(words adapted from the song)
I am a daughter of God,with vision of who I am 
and the love of the Savior in my heart.

I can be strong and courageous!

Forever and Always,