Saturday, September 18, 2010


I just finished looking through the pictures of Zoe's funeral. What an emotional day it was. The most poignant image was of Michael, chair pulled right up next to the casket, peacefully looking at his mom...

I know it seemed weird to some people that I was taking pictures. You're supposed to take pictures at happy events, right? But I guess that's just my way of giving, of contributing, and of preserving a moment in time that someday the family might want to remember. I asked Kevin beforehand if he wanted me to get pictures of people and the flowers and such, and he said that would be nice. At first I was somewhat timid because I didn't want to intrude on people's privacy, but after awhile I figured that we would never get this day back and it was better to have too much than not enough. As Kevin said, "just take them and we can always delete them later..." I won't share them here because it's not my place, but there are some wonderful images of people talking and sharing support, some darling pictures of the kids, and tender moments at the graveside.

One thing I was able to do for the funeral was prepare a collection of images from Zoe's life. It was such an honor to do that, to give everyone a visual reminder of the full life that Zoe lived. Kevin's sisters did a wonderful job designing the table, using several of Zoe's Willow Tree sculptures. Many people commented that their favorite image was from Zoe's baptism day, before she and Kevin were a couple, when Kevin was a missionary in England. To see them both in white and think of the eternal nature of their relationship was a great comfort.

Now that the funeral is over, we all face the difficult task of adjusting to a new normal, without Zoe. It just seems so unreal sometimes. It's been hard not to be melancholy and I find that I just don't want to be alone. I need to be around other people who love Zoe, or I just want to sleep.

Dan is coming home from mud school in Houston in 7 days. I'm so anxious not to be alone anymore, yet I'm having mixed emotions about how our future is going to proceed. Mud school seemed manageable because it was a specific amount of time with an end in sight. We were anticipating that Dan was going to have a consistent schedule of two weeks on, two weeks off at a site only 3 hours away. But currently the natural gas rigs in Pinedale are pretty much tapped out, so there's no work there. Dan will likely have to work out of the Casper office and will probably be on a rig in northern Colorado. Not exactly within driving distance for a day trip. And they're short-handed on mud engineers, so Dan will likely have to work much longer than 2 weeks at a time until Halliburton gets more mud engineers trained.

It's so disappointing to get to the end of this big challenge and realize that it's probably not going to improve a lot in terms of our time together as a family. While I have learned a lot about my capacity to handle day-to-day life on my own, and felt empowered by my relative success, we are not a whole family like this:

(Photo taken at Zoe's funeral. Her favorite color was blue.)

I'm ready to feel whole again. And my heart aches for Kevin because he's feeling that emotion exponentially. Zoe's death has brought an insecurity, an uncertainty to all of us. We're not sure what to do with ourselves. I'm not sure I can have confidence in the future right now. My whole world could be ripped away at any moment. I have faith that God can make all things whole, but it's so hard abiding. A strange combination of worry and indifference cloud my mind right now. I'm afraid to feel too deeply, to need too desperately. I hope this soon passes so that I can be a proper wife and mother to the family I adore.


The Queen Vee said...

My dear, you are up to your eyeballs in the sorrow and mourning process of someone you love. It's okay, even okay to wallow in it. Despite ones belief and faith we still must move through the difficult process of losing someone we love, it is hard but also healthy. As we mourn the loss of an earthly companionship (husband, child, parent, friend sibling) we naturally turn inward, reflecting upon our own lives, how the loss effects us, how we will live with our loss. The living must move forward with the new normal of their lives and keep on living. I look at the mourning process as a blessing, an opportunity to grow in faith, compassion and to hone in on what is truly important. It gives one a much clearer and cleaner eternal prospective.

I'm sorry to read that Dan's job will require more sacrifice on both your parts. I'm sorry that he is not there to mourn with you. You will get through this Sue and I know this sounds trite, but you will come out of this a stronger, wiser and even more compassionate Sue than that you already are.

I highly recommend a little book for you to read, it's new and a little pricey for it's size, "What The Scriptures Teach Us About Adversity by S Michael Wilcox. It's excellent and I think you will find it to be a book you will read time and time again.

Know that I love you!

Becky in Wyo said...

I'm completely lacking in eloquence at 5:30 in the morning, but I think Victoria said everything the best.

Know that I love you so much, and I will be with you in a few days.

Love, Becky

Lois Ann said...

Victoria is one of the wisest women I know... I am sorry I could not be with you during this time, but thought of you often. And like your sister Becky - and others -love you so much

Tobi said...

Sue I'm so sorry the trials you are facing right now. I am struggling with my grief as well. If I have gleaned any bit of insight from my trials is that everyone is facing some sort of hardship. Everyone feels sorrow and pain. It's not just about me. It's about supporting and loving each other through good and bad. It's about loving fully and never taking anything for granted.

Brian and Rebecca Nate said...

The pictures were so beautiful Sue and you were the right person to do them. You have such a wonderful way of showing a true self in a picture and even though you didn't take all the pictures of Zoe, they were portrayed so well. She would've like them. (except they were all of her which she would've hated!) I'm glad to call you my friend and if you ever need anything or just need to talk please don't hesitate. Love you girl! BTW the picture of you and the chillins turned out so cute!

Jill Heaps said...

My sister in law lost her husband to cancer a few years ago. Pictures are ALL she has, she looks at them ALL the time. EVEN the funeral. You were so wise to take them because that is the last thing on their minds.

I know that when a sweet neighbor died suddenly leaviing her 4 young kids, the ladies in the ward got together and created a scrapbook for each child with pictures of their mom. Now days you could even just make one book online and give them all a copy so they can each have all the pictures... just a thought but I know it meant so much to the dad and kids.

You ARE strong, you WILL get through this. Life isn't easy or certain. When things like this happen we are reminded of how fragile life really is and how important it is to LIVE each day in a way that is pleasing to our Father in Heaven.

I have never met you but I feel like I have. You have such a great heart... You have such beautiful children and you are so supportive to your husband. You are always in my prayers.

Dustan and Micayla said...

Sue--I am SO sorry for your loss! Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. It is so hard when we loose someone close--even though we know of God's plan it still seems so hard to understand and to accept. Please let me know if you need anything. Love ya!

Apis Melliflora said...


My heart goes out to you as you work your way through your grief and find meaningful ways to help Zoe's family. Losing a friend so young is very painful and numbing.