While Preslee was in the hospital, I remember praying for her to live. I knew if she survived she would most likely have severe brain damage, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my baby. Just following her death, I began questioning everything about her death. Shortly after, I stumbled across Tessie’s blog, her son Dakota and Preslee suffered almost identical brain injuries just through different accidents and with a different outcome. As I read her blog, the spirit spoke to me and I gained a true testimony that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and everyone of us. I had the strongest impression that Dakota was placed on a specific path, which was not meant for Preslee.
I’m continually amazed at Tessie’s strength, and have asked her to share the lessons she’s learned through her trials.
A different Perspective
I first off have to say what an honor it is to get to write a guest post for Ashley. It’s no new news to anyone but she is truly AMAZING!! In my darkest hours of grief after my sons accident her comment on MY blog changed my perspective completely. Her blog posts have given me hope and strength to keep moving forward when I wanted to give up. We experienced something so similar just with a different ending. Although I have never had the opportunity to meet her in person, I love her like she is a dear friend! Thank you Ashley for being YOU!!
She asked me to share with all of you what my sweet angel boy Dakota has taught me and what I have learned through my trials (a husband going blind and an accident that left my 2 year old with severe brain damage). I have learned SO SO much through all of this that I feel that I am a completely different person then I once was…in a good way. Although I wish my husband could see again and my son was running around again, I am EXTREMELY grateful for what these trials have taught me, how they have changed me, and for my Heavenly Father who allowed them to happen to me…as painful as it was for him to stand by and watch, so that I could progress further on my journey back to him.
So in no particular order…
1. I have learned that life is plain hard and it will never be fair!! We ALL have our trials and hardships that we will face big and small. We all face them at different times and in different ways. Trials are TRYING!! It is easy to look around and compare our lives to others and think…this isn’t fair! It’s true, it’s not always fair. BUT as I have realized this hard reality, I have come to know that we are given what WE need not what someone else needs. We are SO limited in our knowledge and we can’t see the big picture like our Heavenly Father can. Only He knows what we each need and it will ALWAYS ALWAYS look different then your neighbors. But this has led me to learn this next piece…
2. I have learned to trust in my Heavenly Father’s plan for ME. My plan in my head looks SO much different then what Heavenly Father had in mind for me. I didn’t marry a blind man or give birth to a brain injured child. That wasn’t what I wanted and I didn’t ever think that could happen to me. Although I still don’t understand all the “whys” I have come to learn, I will never be able to move forward and find happiness if I don’t learn to trust in my Heavenly Father. I have had to overcome my pride that I know what is best and learn to trust that my Heavenly Father’s plan is what is right for me. That is a hard thing to do!! But when we can truly learn to trust in Him…trust that He really does love us, that He is HELPING us by giving us these trials, and that He has a GREAT purpose behind all the pain…then and only then can we move past the pain and hurt and begin to learn from these hard but necessary experiences and feel joy again…which leads me to the next one…
3. I HAVE LEARNED “LIFE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO BE WONDERFUL!!” This is my MOST favorite saying! Mine and my little families life is FAR from perfect!! It looks NOTHING like what I EVER imagined it being. But I have learned that these trials don’t have to define me and make me unhappy for the rest of my life. They are NEVER going away, it is something we will live with for the rest of this earthly journey BUT the great news is that I can still be happy and have a WONDERFUL life IF I choose! Each day I have to choose…do I want to be happy or sad. When I choose happy, even when it would be easier to be sad, my life is wonderful despite EVERYTHING that has gone wrong. Happiness is a choice and only WE can determine how wonderful our life will be!! “Your future is as bright as your faith.” President Monson
4. I have learned to SIMPLIFY!! I didn’t understand truly what this word meant until we were home from the hospital with Dakota. Our life had been turned upside down. We had NO idea how to take care of and raise a brain injured child. EVERY day we were in survival mode and ALL of the things I used to worry about and care about (clean house, decorating, shopping, my body image, etc.) no longer mattered. The ONLY thing that mattered was my family and my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. My to-do list went out the window! And you know what…I learned to focus on what really mattered most! There is SO much distraction in the world that takes us away from the things that matter the VERY most most. When you are about to lose a child you realize VERY quickly that none of those things EVER mattered…
5. I have learned to Enjoy the simple things in life! Dakota has helped me more then ever before to celebrate the small and simple things. He went from an active and healthy 2 year old boy..to not being able to move, look at you, or have any expression…to a rolling and smiling little 4 year old boy. I have NEVER loved and enjoyed a simple smile like I do today. I LIVE for his smiles and find joy in celebrating every tiny accomplishment in his life and in our families. I love to look back to where we were 2 1/2 years ago after his accident and see ALL that we have accomplished since then. In an outsiders eyes it isn’t much…but to me it is AMAZING!! It truly brings me great joy!!
6. I have learned to Count my MANY blessings!! It was one of the hardest things to do when I was in the midst of my trials. It is so much easier to complain and feel sorry for yourself…trust me I have been there. But there are ALWAYS going to be trials, hardships, and disappointments that happen in life. It is inevitable for us to learn and grow. BUT despite all of the hard things, I realized there are millions more blessings to look for but it took daily effort. Look EVERY day for your DAILY blessings in life and I promise the hardest of hard times will be so much easier. When I was in my darkest moments mourning the loss of my active and healthy boy, Ashley left a comment on my blog that said, “How lucky you are to get to hold, love, and experience life with Dakota.” As I read that and read about her experience with Preslee I kicked myself in the butt. That is the moment when I changed my perspective and realized as hard as it still was, I needed to quite mourning the boy that I once had and learn to love and appreciate the boy I still had!!
7. Last but not least I have learned to LOVE!! This is one of the most important lessons I have been blessed to learn from all of this. I have a deeper love and compassion for ALL people. My trials have humbled me and helped me to come to know my Savior better because it was only through Him that I have been strengthened to bear the load that I have been asked to carry. As we come to know our Savior better we can’t help but become more like him. I still have a long way to go but my heart has grown. I no longer hear a sad story and just think that is so sad…I feel their pain. I put myself in their shoes and I hurt with them. I have also learned and grown from the countless acts of love and service that have been given to our family. This has given me a great desire to share this love with others! As I have given of my time and self in love and service to others I have been able to overlook all of my worries and fears and find great peace and joy!
Tessie blogs at: http://zachandtessie.blogspot.com
Other posts in this series: