Before I begin, don’t forget to enter to win the diamond pendent I am giving away on Friday! 

I pulled in late last night from our long day in Island Park Idaho.  A storm chased us all the way home right into our yard.  Luckily we beat it most of the way and it was only bad for about the first hour of the six hour drive.  The journey home was dark, almost reflecting my mood after a very emotional day.  

The day actually went well, for a funeral of a close friend.  

What do you say when someone asks you, “How as the funeral?”  Well…it was good I guess because I saw friends that are like family and we all supported each other through a very hard time, but none of us would choose to be there in that circumstance.  Unfortunately sometimes it takes things like this to force us into dropping our schedules and traveling long distances to see each other.  We stayed in a cabin that we rented with Rock and Shanie.  It was great to see them, if only for a minute.

Handsome quickly fell into routine opening and shutting the door and trying on any and all shoes he could find.

{Gunner, Handsome, and Mack}

The talks were beautiful…they captured Zack’s love for the outdoors and his sweet personality well, but watching his siblings deliver their message was hard.  I kept thinking…how would I talk at my brother’s funeral?  How could I compose myself in sadness, yet deliver a message of hope?  Luckily there were 9 boys distracting me from the heavy feeling inside, that’s right NINE!  The Ellison’s had three boys and have since then produced nine grandsons *and one precious granddaughter*, and let me tell you 

{Ruby is one tough chick!}

It was so entertaining to watch how boys play…and I’m talking the serious boy play!  Arms flinging, legs karate chopping, heads whipping about, and toys a flyin’.  It was obvious there is  some sort of pecking order by age and size.  The young ones had leaned to fend for themselves and when all else failed, run! At one point I was accidentally hit on the shin with a stick because the offender had a bucket over his head pretending to …um I’m not sure….chop wood? 

 Handsome sat and watched in awe…not doubt comparing his hormonal sisters and their antics *fights over clothes, the “she called me a’s”, and mood swings.  He held his own and even tried jumping in the dog pile once when it was on top of Little Jon.  

The strength that Jamie and LeGrand showed was an example to us all.  Through all the turmoil and sadness, they still were a beacon of light to us all offering words of council and peace.  I guess that is the kind of person you become when you weather the storm and are humbled…over and over again.  Some people let it make them bitter, eat them from the inside out…not them.  Yes they were stricken with grief, and the sight of them made me want to cry {how would it feel to bury a son?} but they looked forward to the future and what good they could do from the situation.  There isn’t a doubt in my mind that they will use their story for good. 

 They will touch others through their lives.

I lost count how many times we went in and out of the church.  Handsome loved the beautiful snow and was checking out the scenery.  He didn’t care that it was 32 degrees outside!

At one point I actually met one of my “readers”.  It is a small world and somehow she figured out that her sister led Handsome to me and she was best friends with Zack’s mom also! She had been reading my blog without knowing the connection until somehow it came up and she said to Jamie, “You know that Pink Moss lady?!”

Yep….small world!

I did alright, just tearing up throughout the service off and on until the end.

I had come in the church the back way and hadn’t seen a book that had been set out to write a note to Zack.  I sat for a minute pondering what to share and then realized it would have to be relatively quick because Handsome was running back and forth and I had to look up every few seconds.  I started with my first memory of meeting him, in a duck blind.  He walked up with his bright blue eyes flashing and introduced himself.  He was full of life and energy kind of like Brad Pitt on “Ledgends of the Fall”. 

 I was smitten…he was a doll.

I finished writing the letter to Zack after running for Handsome several times.  Little Jon walked over and started thumbing through pictures of Zack that were there for people to take home.  And then I saw it, the picture that tore me apart..that let the flood gates loose. 

 A picture of Zack and his x-wife on their wedding day.  

Their love for each other was written all over their faces.  They beamed with possibilities for the future.  That was it…I had reached my limit..and I cried.  I couldn’t compose myself any longer.  It didn’t matter anymore how much I hate to cry in front of people.  It didn’t matter that I was trying to be strong for Little Jon, and it didn’t matter  that I had decided beforehand that I would wait until I was alone to cry.

So as others composed themselves after the funeral…I was a wreck.  

The feeling of loving someone so much and watching them throw his life away “their” lives.  She had no choice but to save herself and leave him.  After so much pain, she had to save her own life.  She loved him…but couldn’t let the decisions he was making take her down.  She was after all, helpless.  I have no doubt that she loved him more than anything…I am sure she still does.  Sometimes love alone isn’t enough. 

 Sometimes it comes down to survival.  

I cry for her…I cried for her when Zack was alive, and I cry for her now that he is dead.

Just like any day, this one came to an end also.  It is funny to me sometimes how slow some days go and how quickly others fly by.  It is the same clock, the same drum we all march to every day, but somehow space in time is pliable in our brains.  

We spent a minute trying to decide if we should stay another night because of the snow that fell in blankets across the cold, dark landscape but eventually drove to our rented cabin and packed up.  The forecast showed that it would snow all week and staying there another night wouldn’t make any difference.  Besides, our kids were home without us and no doubt needed help with homework, lessons, and wedding plans.  Our businesses luckily can run without us after many years of not being able to, but there are still things in each business that needed to be pushed along.  It is an interesting thing as a business owner.  There is a pressure not only for our welfare, but the health of the businesses for all the people that rely on us. 

 We work for us, we work for them.

Some people think that being “the man” is easy.  That they just take home big salaries and fire people at the drop of a hat.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Work always comes home with you.  It comes on vacation, it visits you in your dreams.  The endless juggling is exhausting and the pressure is extreme.  Of course there is a flip side, and that is that there is always possibility.  You aren’t confined to what another visualizes you doing. 

So we do it.

I laugh at the thought of Little Jon working at Blimpies for a few weeks when he was a young. It was hard to see him force himself to work this morning with Zack still weighing heavy on his heart.  We do however have a renewed conviction to share his story, to focus on bringing good out of a very sad situation.  We have a perspective to share and the ability to help other people battling this same hardship.  It is widespread and takes families down all the time.

 We will make a difference….I am not sure how yet, but we will make a difference.