Sunday, June 22, 2008


Today we went to church.  Church was good for me.  I felt the love of our ward for us and appreciated the support.  I enjoyed sacrament and gospel doctrine.  I found some interesting scriptures on restoration and a great scripture on the Atonement and how Christ has taken on all our pains.  This took on a new meaning for me after having heard a few people say they wish they could bear my burden for me.  Christ actually has and will take it if I let him.  Still the sorrow of separation is mine to bare.  I claim it as my own, for it is borne of love and inspires me to be the new woman Camille has shown me I can be.

It was my Sunday to teach in Young Women's.  I know they didn't really expect me to teach but I looked over the lesson during sacrament meeting and the Lord gave me a great analogy to start a lesson.  So I got to teach my analogy on the commandments being like a trampoline and then team teach the lesson on the commandments with my co advisor.  

Church was harder for Jon.  He always played with Camille in the hallway during Sunday school and priesthood.  He was missing her today.  He may not write but he reads all the blog posts and comments so if anyone wants to address him in them, he will be reading them.

After church we spent the day with family, mine first then his.  Many are leaving town tonight and tomorrow so we took time to say goodbye.  Our brother-in-law Spencer wrote a lullaby for Camille and sang it for us tonight.  He said he wrote it after watching us saying our goodbyes to Camille after we took all the tubes out.  It was beautiful.  It made us all cry.  I need to have him record it and put it as background to a slideshow with the pictures Elizabeth took at the hospital and funeral.

OK so that was the day and a couple of things of relativity have stuck out to me.  First, people have noted how hard it must have been to speak at her funeral.  I guess hard has taken on a new relativity for me.  Last Friday -- that was hard.  It was a whole new kind of hard.  This new "hard" made any other hard thing Jon or I had ever done seem like a walk in the park.  Finding her, the horror, the fear of losing her, the desperate pleas to heaven with no feeling of reassurance that she would live, the police investigation, the look of agony on my husband's face when I arrived at the hospital, the screams I heard coming from both of us as we desperately performed CPR, the keening in agony that first night in the hospital, the sickness in my stomach, the inability to sleep for 3 nights because the image of finding her would come into my head and wake me with adrenaline.  Yeah.  That was hard.  That was a whole new kind of hard.  It made speaking at her funeral seem pretty easy.  

I don't think it will ever be as hard as it was those days in the hospital.  Jon and I have had a strong peace since we acknowledged the will of the Lord was to have her home.  We have felt the Savior strengthening our backs and lightening our burden.  

On  the other end of the spectrum, what we are going through and have gone through is far easier than so many other things would be.  There are so many worse ways Camille could have been taken home.  Ways that could have permanently scarred my other children.  And as Joesph F. Smith, who buried nine of his own children once said, "I have learned that there are a great many things which are far worse than death.  With my present feelings and views and the understanding that I have of life and death, I would far rather follow every child I have to the grave in their innocence and purity, than to see them grow up to man and womanhood and degrade themselves by the pernicious practices of the world, forget the Gospel, forget God and the plan of life and salvation, and turn away from the only hope of eternal reward and exaltation in the world to come."

I have always said it would be easier to lose a child in physical death than in spiritual death.  I still maintain that for me, this is easier.  Trials ... we all have them.  They are all hard ... relatively speaking.


Rach said...

I understand. I really do understand what you have written about relativity.

Please know, my thoughts and prayers are with ALL of you--Jon included. After losing our precious, precocious five year old to drowning almost a year ago, I sympathize with you in ways I never would have otherwise.

Many many HUGS to you all as you continue on this journey.


scrap chair potato said...

Last week, while praying for you, the thought came to me that I wish I could carry some of your pain. Then it struck me, like it never has in my life, that Jesus has already done that for all of us. I only hope that when I have trials I will be able to remember that.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

sarah said...

I continue to read your posts everyday. I feel like I know you although I have never met you. You are truly an inpiration to me. You make me want to be a better Mom and person. I continue to pray for you and your family everyday. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with everyone.

L.and.R said...

I have had the words, "Cami Camille," going thru my mind all day yesterday and this morning. Thanks to the Waite grandparents for that song! It helps to think of you, Steph and Jon, when I sing that song in my head. The lesson that has come from Camille's life is amazing and watching you and Jon share and express your feelings thru this experience has been life changing for me and many others. What love and strength I feel from you!! I will be continually thinking of you both and your girls and family (including grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins) and praying for you all because of the separation you are feeling at this time!! Love you, Lori

Heather said...

You are an amazing person! My heart aches for your husband as well. My husband does the same thing with my 10 month old as well at church. I can't even imagine the feelings that you both are feeling.
If anything ever happened to one of my children I would hope I could share my feelings the way you have. You are a daughter of God & he honestly loves you sooo much. Thank-you for sharing your feelings you uplift me more than you know.
My prayers are with you~

The Morris Fam said...

When I read in the Book of Mormon, Alma 27:28 it took on new meaning for me today. "...they never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection...." I think it so wonderful that as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we have restored "Views of Christ" and have such great understanding. I am inspired constantly at how you rely on this knowledge so much. If I am ever faced with such a trial, I hope I will do the same as you. Thanks for sharing your precious thoughts and feelings.

kdskids said...

Steph & Jon,

It was so good to see you at church yesterday. I love the scripture Alma 7:11&12, that we went over yesterday in gospel doctrine.

We all have burdens to bear and it is reassuring to know that we are not alone. For me the hardest part has been letting go and handing everything over to Him. I have found that with faith and practice it does get easier.

We love you all and are here to help lighten your load!

Hugs- Kathy Fairchild and Family

Mythreesons said...

It was so good to see you guys in church yesterday. Your posts are so inspiring... if only we could all deal with life's challenges and trials with such grace and faith. We continue to pray for you guys but I must admit that your family seems so much stronger than I could ever hope to be. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and faith with us... they are such testimony builders to me. May the Lord continue to lift you and your family and strengthen you.

Jordan & Kimberly said...

Stephanie, Jonathan & Girls-

I am a friend of Julie Presley. Your blog has touched me in more ways than one. Your daughters are beautiful. I continue to pray and think about your family often even though we have never met. I wish you the best at this very difficult time. It is so comforting to have the knowledge of the gospel and know that you will be with your sweet Camille again. Thank you for being so open with your feelings and letting people into your heart & soul to heal with you. May the hand of the Lord bless your life daily.


Anonymous said...

Dear Jon:

I am so sorry for your ache of missing Camille. How could you not? This is all so new. There exists such a special, sweet love between father & daughter.

I liken memories to Heavenly Father's photo-album. He compiles all the snapshots of our lives and them customizes an album for each of us. He is the ultimate scrapbooker!

There will come a day when the memories that now pain your heart will remind you of a time when a special Angel dwelt in your midst and feelings of comfort will replace the deep ache you must surely be feeling.

The below poem reminds us that some things are everlasting.


The tide recedes yet leaves behind bright seashells in the sand,

The sun goes down yet gentle warmth still lingers on the land,

The music stops yet echoes on in sweet refrains,

For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.

~ Author Unknown

In the photo on your homepage, Camille's expression is quite striking. It's as though she is captivated by something beyond our realm.

I pray for much comfort & peace as you lead your wife and daughters through this most painful trial.

Marleen said...

That seems and feels so true. In my prayers I have always prayed for my children's safety and protection as well as prayed for their spiritual protection and my ability to teach them what they need to know spiritually. Lately, the second prayer has been more fervent. I thought it strange at first because of the circumstances that that should be farther from my mind but yet it is at the forefront of my mind. Through all of this I have continually thought how blessed we are for what we know and the sacred convenants we have made with our Father in Heaven.

Stephanie said...

My memories of Camille at church are of her in Jon's arms. That is when I always noticed her. I took note of how comfortable and confident he was as her father. It doesn't come naturally for all men, especially with daughters; but I could (and can) tell he has a gift for it!

Stephanie Morris

Sally Wright said...

Although I don't know you I just wanted to let you know that I have prayed for you and your family. Yesterday a young woman was speaking in church and she concluded her talk by saying that "having courage is what it means to follow Christ". I am so touched by the courage portrayed in your words. I know the Lord will bless your family.

My heart goes out to you as do my prayers.

Sally Wright

MaryClaire said...

it's amazing how in church you, or at least i, tend to get frustrated with my kids/babies for being just that and needing to take them out all the time. the funny thing is that in think brian loves it. he too has had parker and now natalie with him for most of church, and i think he truly relishes that time alone with her. he and i feel your heartache. those babies bring so much love and perspective to us, and i know that camille is doing that now even more than before for you and for millions of people who have learned of her short life.

yesterday, i wasn't able to go to church due to a really fun fight with a 4-wheeler the day before (checkout my blog for lovely pictures from that), so i sent parker and brian, and i stayed home and turned on a session from this last conference i had saved on the dvr. elder bednar's talk rang so loud in my ears as i haven't been able to get you off my mind this last week and a half. you are doing everything he suggests in keeping an eternal perspective and allowing the lord's will.

love you!


Anonymous said...

I don't personally know you, but a friend directed me to your blog, and I felt compelled to post. I have been so moved by this trial in your life. Camille is a beautiful baby and so lucky to have a family who loves her so much. I truly have admired your attiude, your will, and your desire to do what is right, so you can be with Camille again. Even though I don't know you, I feel as if I do now, because of your touching posts about your sweet angel baby. Thank you for sharing this, and for reminding me of the eternal nature of families. I have hugged my 1 year old a little harder, and my other children a little more, because of Camille. Your family has been in my prayers, and continues to be.


steph said...

I don't even know you or your sweet family. But I stumbled upon your blog last night, and I wanted to thank you for the inspiration it gave me to face the challenges of parenting. I was more patient with my kids today, and cherished the little moments more than I have in the past. You and your family are in my prayers. My testimony is strengthened by yours, and I need that. Thank you... all the way from Colorado.

cmomof2 said...

Through reading your blog, through seeing you in person, you have changed me.
I look more at the bigger picture. Try to see the Lord's Plan in my life. To thank Him more, to come to Him more.
I am making a point to rejoice in the perfect (and imperfect) moments. To try to appreciate everything and everyone around me.
To let the little things go, and to focus my attention on the positive, the things that I consider my "blessings".
So many things you have written and said have touched me. You and your family are constantly in my mind, and in my prayers. I look at how you have delt with all of this, all that has come with it, and I see through you immense growth. Never have I seen such perspective in a person. Never have I seen such humility. Such love. Such strong faith. Just looking into your lives, just a peek, I have learned so much. And yet I feel I should be the one helping you, instead you have helped me, and givin me more than I will ever be able to tell you. When you spoke at the funeral I walked away with a resolve. I was going to do as you said and allow Camille and her life, and passing, change me. Make me a better person.
That is now my goal.
I also am changed in my desire to return to my Lord. I was so touched when you explained your motivation to return to heaven, something precious beyond comprehension is waiting for you. I have strived to give myself the eternal perspective that I have seen in you.
In more ways than one, thank you.
If you ever can think of anything, a way I may help you in return, please let me know. All my heart, thoughts and prayers are with you.

Mandy and Jason said...

Hi John,

I must admit it was a little lonely in the halls this week at church. I remember a short conversation you and I had a while ago about Camille not wanting to walk yet. Even though we never talked a whole lot, it was nice to get to know some of the other dads in the ward since I'm in Young Mens. You're still invited to join us in the hall anytime.

Jason Hafen

Mum-me said...

I came to your blog just today and have been reading backwards through your posts. I have been praying for you and your family as I have been reading.

I wanted to comment about this post that I really can understand what you mean about preferring to lose your child in physical death rather than spiritual death. When my babies were little I was so scared of cot death, but I used to pray over them each night that if God knew that in their future they would reject Him, them I would rather He took them while they were so sweetly innocent.

Can I tell you a short story which (I hope) will lift your heart a little. My grandparents were missionaries in PNG in the 50s and 60s. Once they were brought the lifeless body of a young boy who had drowned. He was the only child of these quite old parents. My grandparents prayed over this little boy, and he came back to life. He grew up and left the village, turned his back on the mission and his Christian upbringing and ended up in jail for murder. His mother said to my grandmother "I wish God had let him die as a toddler rather than alow me to watch his self-destruction and his journey to hell."

You KNOW you will see your sweet daughter again one day. Praise God, and may He bless you richly for your faithfulness.