A New Struggle

I've been debating for a long time if I should write about what has been on my mind a lot lately. Especially on a public blog.  But I believe in the therapeutic advantages to writing things out and I hope that there will be someone out there that might understand or relate.
I thought when I first found out that my world was going to fall apart.  I cried and cried and Andy listened. Then I remembered the great Plan that my Heavenly Father has for all of His Children.  For the past couple of months, things have sunk in and our family continues to live it's daily life.  But recently, it really began to sink into a new level.
How could my parents be getting a divorce?
I've seen it happen to other people's parents, but I never thought it would happen to mine.  Now this divorce is a very different divorce than many that I have witnessed.  Let me explain why and I hope that through me writing this out, I will get some "personal" answers to why things like this happen to us in this life.
This August, our family will be remembering 6 years ago when my dad took a horrible fall up Little Cottonwood Canyon.  He was rock climbing with Craig, my older brother, and fell 50 feet and landed on the ground by my brother's feet.  This is when miracles unfolded.  On the climb just over from them, there was a group of climbers that were training for Snowbird Ski Resort -Ski Patrol.  Many of them were EMT's or retired Emergency Room doctors.  Luckily their phones worked and they were able to get Craig out of the way and take care of my dad.  He was life flighted to the LDS Hospital where he would end up spending a month and a half in recovery.
I remember Craig calling me and telling me that dad had fallen and that I needed to get Nick and get to the hospital as soon as possible. I hung up the phone with Craig and hit the floor crying.  Through the sobs of tears, I had a distinct impression to pray.  I crawled over to a bench in our office and said a very short but humble prayer.  The answer? "Everything will be okay. Whether he lives or dies, everything will be okay."  This gave me the courage to get Nick and to meet my family out at the hospital.
The next couple of weeks consisted of white hallways, hard chairs, and lots and lots of family and friends.  My dad was not the same person from the moment he hit the ground in the Canyon and he has continued to differ from the dad that was once mine.
My dad would have horrible "Mood Swings", if you will, while he was in the hospital. He didn't have his short term memory, so he didn't understand why he had to wear a neck brace.  Because of this he would try to take the neck brace off constantly which resulted in us having to tie his hands down to the bed.  Somedays he would be great and we would all laugh and share memories.  Other days he was downright awful and would yell and scream at the nurses who were just trying to help. He would have "obsessions" with different objects or scenarios each day- whether he felt there were mice all over him, everything he talked about related to airplanes, or he would treat everyone and every scenario as if he were giving a powerpoint presentation at work.
Our family has the great opportunity to have The Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.  This brought us peace in a time of trial. I remember seeing some other families come out cursing God and getting mad at Him. Our family was firm in our faith of the Plan of Salvation and if our dad did die, that we would see him again.  This is one thing that I am grateful for- my testimony of God's plan for his children grew by leaps and bounds.
Throughout the past 6 years, I have become "used" to the dad that I have now.  He likes to spend time with himself whether it be hiking, gardening, or inventing something new around the house.  He has completely lost any emotional capabilities which has put a huge strain on my mom.  There hasn't been much of a relationship between the two of them for the past 6 years.  All of us kids became numb to the situation and just continued on with our lives.
This past November, I was helping my friend Andra move and we started talking about my parents.  She asked me if I ever thought my parents would get a divorce and I firmly said "No! My mom would never do it, so it won't happen".  Completely disregarding the fact that my dad, although mentally different, still had his free agency, or ability to choose.  The next morning I called my mom to see how she was and she couldn't stop crying.  She told me that my dad had told her the day before that he wanted a divorce.  We both lost it. How could I be so sure of something the night before and then to find out that the complete opposite was about to happen?
Well, it's now the beginning of April and I just barely went and saw my dad's "New" place above The Gateway Mall.  5 1/2 years ago my dad would have NEVER left his sanctuary of a house up in the mountains to move above the mall.  None of this seems real but at the same time it seems so real that it smacks me in the face sometimes.
My heart breaks for my mom because it's not like she has done anything horribly wrong, and neither has my dad.  He is just confused and sick.  This is so hard for me to write because I don't want anyone to think my dad is some horrible person for leaving his family.  Because he is not that person at all.  He just has a mental sickness caused by a horrible fall.
Sometimes I feel like I am "drowning" with everything that is going on around me.  I feel overwhelmed with my feelings of what is going on and it is leading to me being overly stressed with every other aspect in my life.  I struggle to have a desire to want to be productive in all aspects of my life.  I just never thought that this issue would affect me as badly as it has.  Like I said before, this is something that happens to other people.  Not me.  I'm stronger than letting something like this get me down.  This is what I am struggling with.
Last night my whole family (Minus Craig and Emily) stayed after Sunday dinner and played games for several hours- with my mom and dad- and I can't help but think, "Why can't it always be like this?".  But instead of my mom and dad going home together, my dad packed up his little cooler of ice that is his temporary refrigerator, and took off to downtown SLC. 
I think the thing that I need to walk away with most from this situation is this:
Life is so precious.  So so so precious.  Every second with your loved ones is precious.  In a matter of 5 seconds from when my dad was up on the climb and then when he was laying on the ground, my world has changed. We never know when we might not be able to see our loved ones again- we just need to live life to the fullest.
I don't know if this helped.  I still feel like I am drowning and I am on the verge of tears. But I hope that this can be the first step of healing.  Getting my feelings out there.  I feel very vulnerable right now with putting this out there.  I am strong.  But I feel so weak right now- especially knowing that in 2 seconds, my friends and family will be able to read about how I am struggling.
I guess I will never get anywhere in life if I don't take risks...


  1. Elise,

    I could say a million things right now, and simultaneously nothing at all. Life is hard, but it is also so incredibly precious; like you said. I have not had your exact experience, but I have felt those same feelings. Some experiences causing those feelings have faded away into the past, while others seem like they're trying to keep those feelings fresh like an open wound that I'm tempted to think will never heal. But that's where the gospel comes in, and sometimes the ONLY thing you can do is hold on with everything you have. Even though sometimes it feels like there's no strength left to hold on. There are a million things that have helped, and a million things that haven't. But the gospel is the ONLY thing that keeps working, time and time again. I wish so much things weren't like this right now for you and for your incredible family, and your wonderful parents. I can't imagine how difficult this has been, but I will say this: remember how we aren't given things we can't handle? Especially when that seems to be blatantly false...it's TRUE. With His help, we can do anything. All things. And sometimes, that's the ONLY way we can do things. With His help. You and your family are so much stronger than you even realize. I know that because of what you're going through. I should maybe just have emailed this to you...but such a personal and heart-felt post deserves not to be left alone. I love you! You and your family are 1000% in my prayers. Thank you for your kind and incredible influence in my life. Believe in the promises He has given you...they're real, and they'll all come to pass: somehow. I know that, even though I'm still waiting for some of those myself. He always comes through.


  2. Elise,

    I cried all the way through reading your post. What a difficult trial your family has gone through. I'm sure you have wondered over and over why you, why your family? I don't have anything brilliant to say, but what I do want to say is how much I have always admired you. You've always been a good girl, a very good example, never really saying or doing anything inappropriate such as myself. :) I have admired your strength and solid testimony and positive outlook on life regardless of this trial you have gone through for the past six years. Please know that I care about you and although we aren't BFF's, you can always talk to me about anything. I appreciate your openness and willingness to share. I actually know how hard it is to put your life out there and feel vulnerable. I've written about stuff that makes me feel so vulnerable, but every time I am always left feeling so humbled by how many people love and support me that I didn't even realize. I love you Elise and know that you can get through anything, especially because you have that eternal prospective that the Gospel brings that so many people don't have. Having that knowledge will help you in difficult times like these. xoxoxo


  3. to my dear elise,
    i don't know that i can say any great words of comfort or say i know how you feel...because i don't really know. but i do know of how wonderful you are and how you are one of the strongest people i know.
    i'm sorry you have to go through something like this. i wish i could give you a big hug right now. so, please consider yourself squeezed really hard by whintey and know that you'll be in my prayers and thoughts, as well as your family.
    love you, elise!

  4. Oh Elise. I had no idea the extent of the damage from your Dad's accident. I am so sorry for the loss that it has caused for you and your family. It is heartbreaking. But you are right, everything is in God's plan, and He will help lighten your burden!

    Hang in there sweetie. You have loads of friends (myself included) who are here for you. You are wonderful. Keep on praying, keep on smiling, keep on being yourself. Don't let this harden your beautiful heart.

    XOXO love you honey

  5. I am glad you shared this. I think that it really is good to write it out and share with others. I didn't tell anyone about my parents for so long and it really ate away at me. Now that I have talked to you guys about it I really feel so much better and know that I have an incredible support system of people who have experienced the same type of thing.I want to give you a big hug! I wish you were right here. We really need to see each other soon!
    Love ya

  6. Elo-
    I am so sorry that this has happened to you and your amazing family. You are in my prayers. I know the Lord is mindful of you and your families hardships. I am grateful that your mom and dad at least still both have the gospel to hold onto and that you have the temple to go to when you need constant comfort. My word of advice is just to enter the house of the Lord whenever you are feeling that weight of sorrow drowning you. He will lift you up. The temple is real and I know that it will help you to go often. I love you and if there is ANYTHING I can ever do PLEASE let me know!

    You are amazing,


  7. Elise I feel for you. Believe it or not I am going through a very similar situation with my parents. It's hard! It sucks! It's stressful and exhausting. I'm glad you wrote about this because if nothing else it made me realize I'm not alone in my trial. I believe 100% that we have trials so we can help others in return and not only that but if we endure them well we will be stronger and become closer to our savior. I think your amazing. Hang in there!