Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A tribute to my dad...

This is going to be a long post.  I am going to try to sum up my feelings and the events that have happened over the last few weeks/month. 

Sometimes we think the people we love our invincible.  I know I have always thought my parents were.  My dad has had multiple health issues throughout his life, some including colon cancer, kidney failure, diabetes, congestive heart failure, COPD, and the list goes on and on.  He always made it through everything.  When I was about 12 he had surgery for colon cancer and his body went into total body shutdown. We did not think he would make it then.  He was on dialysis and had a colostomy bag for months.  He made it through.  I guess I just always thought he would.

On October 4th, we were up camping for the elk hunt.  Chantry's family including his dad, two brothers and sister were there with us.  We had spent the morning having a good time on the mountain as usual.  Jessi and I had just stopped to practice shooting our guns and we decided to head back to camp.  Chantry and Ladd decided it would be fun to play in some mud holes.  Chantry broke something off on his jeep that would not allow him to shift out of 1st gear.  We got back to camp and Chantry turned on his phone to see if he had service (which we usually do not do while camping).  He thought it was weird because my sister Pateresa had been calling his phone looking for me.  He told me to call her back and if it was not important, to get a number to the parts store for him.  I knew in my mind right then it was my dad (I will touch more on why later) but I thought maybe he had to go the hospital or he had fallen down or something.  The second Pateresa said hello, I knew it was bad.  She was crying and told me that my dad had died.  It took me a second to process it and I said it out loud to Chantry and my heart just broke right then.  

The next few hours were such a blur...somehow Chantry's family helped us clean up our camp and we were off the mountain and home so quick.  I called my brother, Hartly, and got more info.  He told me not to come until the morning when the family was all going to meet.  I went home and stewed for a bit and could not take it anymore.  Chantry's family is just amazing and they are so good to help when anyone needs it.  Dusty and Ginger took my kids without hesitation so we could go to Richfield that night and be with my family. 

We got to Hartly's house and Bawb and Alan were already there.  My brother, Hartly, found my dad that morning.  He was bringing him a box of apples and when he went in the house nobody answered.  He looked and there he was on the floor.  He had watched the morning session of conference and either got up to go make him lunch or go to the bathroom or something.  There was nothing my brother could do, he was already gone.  There are so many things I am grateful for.  One, that my brother found him so quickly.  He was probably not there more than a couple hours and I am so grateful for that.  With my dad living alone I always had this fear that something would happen and nobody would know for days.  Two, I am grateful that Hartly was the one who found him.  He is a nurse and also the oldest of us siblings.  I hate that he had to find him, but I am also so grateful too.  Third, that my dad did not have to spend his last days in a care center or hospital.  I know he would not have wanted that.

The couple weeks before my dad died, I had some really good conversations with him.  I have no doubt in my mind that my dad knew it was his time.  I don't know if he had some spiritual enlightenment or if the doctors had told him things he had not told us, but I just know he knew.  He called me about 2 weeks before he died and he said in our conversation, "I just called to tell my baby girl I loved her in case I can't tell her again."  Now you have to know that my dad had said things like this before, but usually more in a joking manner and this time was different.  He sounded so serious.  My response back-"Don't be silly dad".  Oh, the things I would say now if I would have known.  I think that was a definite tender mercy sent just to me.  I will cherish those words from my dad, even if I did not respond back the way I wished.  My dad called me several times after that for little things.  He called me on September 24th, Randilyn's birthday.  He was on his way home from Mesquite.  He was supposed to go there for a few days, but he lost $400 his first night there, so decided he needed to go home.  He also told me he was having trouble breathing there, but thought it must be the smoke or something.  He intended to stop on his way home to bring Randilyn and I a birthday present, but before he knew it, he was in Parowan and did not turn around and come back.  Oh man, I wish he would have stopped that day.  He also told me that he loved my kids and Chantry.  It was after that I got worried.  I called Pateresa that night and we had a long discussion about my dad and how worried we were.  I kept telling her that something was just not right.  I had been telling Chantry that over the week too.  The next day, the Saturday before my dad died, we went to Antimony and rode with our friends Marcus and Keshia.  It ended up being a really rainy day and we did not get much riding in and we talked about either going to Richfield or going to Ruby's Inn to eat.  I told Keshia that I really wanted to go to Richfield so we could see my dad after.  For one reason or another, we decided to go to Ruby's.  Oh, the things I would change if I had known.  I am trying not to have regrets and I know my dad would not want me to, but it is hard thinking about what could have been. I talked with Keshia on our ride over to Bryce Canyon and told her the conversation I had with my dad, it was really weighing on my mind.    

I talked to my dad that Sunday night.  He seemed really out of it, but told me his blood sugars were low and that his oxygen was low and he was trying to get that fixed.  I talked to him Tuesday when he called me to just see what day it was.  He talked about not winning Publisher's Clearing house yet and was back to my silly old dad.  He told me he felt much better and I felt good knowing that he seemed like a whole different person from Sunday to Tuesday.  He told me he had a doctors appointment Thursday and was going to go stay at Pateresa's house.  Well Thursday came and I got a call from Pateresa asking if I knew dad's cell number that he had not showed up.  My phone had just broke and I did not have any numbers.  Pateresa called around and finally Marie went to his house and he was there.  He had forgotten his insulin and cell phone, so he decided he better just go home.  Marie said he looked really good that night, especially compared to when she saw him Sunday and he looked awful.  We all kind of thought he was on the up and up.

Sunday, we all as brothers and sisters went to the mortuary to plan out his funeral and program.  It was hard.  We had no idea where to begin with planning a funeral.  How do you plan a day in honor of your dad?  How do you make it special enough? Perfect enough?  I am thankful for the funeral home in helping us plan so well and put things together when we did not know where to begin.

My dad was too young...I am too young to lose my daddy.  I am so so thankful though for the 31 years I had with him. Lot's of good memories  I always felt loved by my dad...not only did I feel it, but he never failed to tell me that he loved me and he was proud of me...those are two things I never had to doubt.  The week between his death and funeral were really hard.  Lots of memories flooding back, looking at old pictures, talking about old stories.  Chantry has been my rock.  I do not know what I would do without him.  He is truly amazing.  It was the hardest week of my life and he was there for me every step and still is there for me every step.  I know that this is not going to be a trial that lasts a day, month or even a year.  I will always miss him, but I am so grateful to know Chantry, my siblings, and other family will be there to help me make it through.  So many tender little mercies I have seen this last week.  People are so kind.  The generosity shown to me and my family was incredible.  I am a very optimistic person and tend to see the good, but honestly I could not believe how many good people there really are.  It makes me want to strive to do better and be there for others when they need it. 


Ron Nielsen
Richfield, Utah
Ronald C Nielsen, 74, passed away at his home in Richfield, on October 4, 2014. He was born June 14, 1940 in Richfield to Elmer F and Erma Winget Nielsen.
He married Marcia Larsen, June 6, 1964 in Glenwood, the marriage was solemnized in the Manti Temple, November 25, 1964. They later divorced.
He married Mildred Litteral in Manti, they later divorced.
Ron graduated from Richfield High in 1958 and attended Snow College. He served in the US Army during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. He met Marcia while on leave and they married after his return from the service, they raised their family on the best side of Richfield. Ron loved his family and was proud of them all and their accomplishments. He enjoyed telling stories, especially "fish" stories. He always had a smile on his face and was happy to see you. He was a hard worker, sometimes working two or three jobs to support his family, finally retiring from SUFCO Mine.
He is survived by his children: Hartly (YuMei) Nielsen, Richfield; Marie (Todd) Stewart, Richfield; Pateresa (Lynn) Johnson, Tooele; Robert "Bawb" (Heidi) Nielsen, Fairview; Sarah (Jeff) Ames, Glenwood; Alan (Malia) Nielsen, Kaysville; Rachel (Chantry) Brindley, Enoch; 28 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren; brother, David (Carolyn) Nielsen, Springville.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Niels Hartley Nielsen and Elmer Niels Nielsen.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. in the Magleby Mortuary Chapel, 50 South 100 West in Richfield, where friends may call on Friday evening from 6 to 8 or on Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Burial will be in the Monroe City Cemetery with military rites by the Monroe American Legion Post #37. Funeral Directors: Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti.


We went back over Friday.  I had waited all week to see my dad.  The funeral  home had suggested we don't see him last weekend.  I thought about it all week.  Stressed to the point I almost made myself sick.  I did not want my dad to not look like my dad.  We went there Friday and brought the kids to see him and to ask any questions they might have.  We spent some time just our family.  I could not believe the comfort I felt.  He looked so happy, so peaceful, and just like my dad.  

I do want to share some of my favorite pictures that were on my dad's video.... This is just a few of the million, but my favorites that I want on my blog...




















 We did not find many pictures without a big smile on his face.  He was ALWAYS smiling.  Loved that about him.

My mother in law was AMAZING!! She came and babysat the kids at our motel for hours while we went to the viewing.  I would not know what to do without her.  She is the best.

We had the viewing Friday night.  Viewings are awkward...I will just say it.  There were friends who came to support me and thank goodness for them and my siblings or I would not have made it through a viewing.  I had to introduce myself as most of the people went through the line with "I am Rachel, Ron's youngest daughter".  All the people I did not know made comments like "I did not know Ron had a daughter so young, what are you 18, 20?"  and asking my sister who is only 11 years older than me "Is this your daughter" pointing at me.  I do think God has a sense of humor, because we had our laughs too.  Pateresa and I went out to say hi to our old neighbor Brooks Poulson because he is not doing well and could not walk in. They had the video playing that my sister put together and she had "We'll meet again" by Johnny Cash playing and as we walked out the door we heard this cute little old lady with a walker say "I can hear Ron singing, can you hear Ron singing?" I did not have the heart to stop and tell her that was most definitely not my dad singing...I just walked outside and me and my sister had a good laugh.  I had another awkward moment when I introduced an old friend and her husband to my sister and accidentally introduced her husband with her ex-husbands name...even though I knew dang clear what his name was.  And the awkward pauses with some people not knowing whether to hug or shake hands.  I am sure my dad was looking down on us getting some good giggles in.  Just awkward.  Ok enough about awkward viewings.

 I love that they put his real fishing pole into the arrangement....

Saturday viewing was not as bad because it was mostly family and close friends, the ones planning to attend the funeral.  I don't think I 100% quit crying all that week.  When the tears were not flowing, my heart physically hurt.  I did not know that was possible.  I had some big breakdowns though, one being when I received his death certificate and program in my email.  One big one when I went to his house for the first time.  A few just when memories would flood me.  I think my biggest breakdown though was after the family prayer and saying our goodbyes for the last time. Hardest thing I have ever had to do.

My dad's services were perfect.  Simple just like him.  He was a simple man and probably thought the small funeral we did for him was too much of a fuss.  Each of us kids got to share some memories.  It was hard and I had thought all week about what I would say.  Once again, how do you sum up a relationship and memories with your dad in just a few minutes? Once I got up there I did not talk about everything I had planned, but I made it short and simple and I hope my dad felt my love for him.  

The graveside services were amazing.  I had never been to a funeral with military rights by the American Legion.  It was so touching. Exactly what my dad would have wanted.  I felt my dad so strong there. I have no doubt that he was right there with us.  



















I love that Pateresa took one of each family individually...

Alan and his family...
 Sarah and her family....
 Bawb and his family...
 Our little family...
 Hartly and his family....
  Marie and her family...(minus Kevin and Skylar)  Marie's family was a little joke throughout this all.  Her family took up a lot of the room on the obituary.  She has 9 kids between yours, mine and ours and they are all amazing.
 Pateresa and her family (minus Bryson)....

 The grandkids.....It is amazing to see the posterity evolve from just one man.










 Is this not the sweetest picture of Chestyn kneeling down saying goodbye to grandpa?....
My nephew, Cody, had a pretty close relationship with grandpa.  Out of all the grandkids, I would say he was the closest.  Love this kid....

 My dad's only brother, David, his wife Carolyn and daughter Lisa...
 Tender moment between my sister, Sarah, and I...I had a lot of these with my sibling over the weekend....

My siblings and mom.  We have always been close, but this definitely brought us even closer.  Love them with all my heart.

We spent the rest of the weekend at Sarah's house looking through old pictures and stories of my dad, visiting, and just being there for each other.  It was such a hard weekend, but I cannot help but see the positive in it all.  We made memories this weekend that I will cherish forever.  I love my family so much.

We went back by the cemetery on the way home....







I am so grateful for the Gospel and the knowledge I have that this is not the end.  It is truly what has gotten me through. 

Thank you to all my friends and family who sent flowers, gifts, treats, cards, etc.  They were appreciated more than you will ever know.  Like I say, it makes me realize I need to step up my game a little...you never know how much just a little act of kindness can mean, especially during a hard time.  Even the texts, messages on Facebook, emails etc. meant so much.  One card I received a dear friend wrote "I know this is such a hard thing, but I think you will find that you will gain more empathy and compassion towards others."  She was absolutely right.  I have always loved deep, but I feel like I have gained a whole new perspective.  I am truly loved and I hope I can show others how truly I love them.