So I cannot believe the last post I made was nearly 3 years ago....I do have to say I'm pretty good at updating our life on Facebook, but I'm sad I haven't put more personal posts here.....I started this blog to "create" a journal/scrapbook of our family...and now I need to update the whole blog!! So my first post of 2014.....well, let's just say that 2014 has had both great times and heartbreaking times. Thad was in an accident in November of 2013. He fell 10 feet off the wing of an airplane he had just finished fueling. That trial ended up bringing him home....Home for Thanksgiving...then he never was able to go back because he had a traumatic brain injury that he has been trying to recover from. We were so grateful that his life was spared that day, and knew he had a purpose here on earth and realized it was not his time to go. He figured he would come home for Thanksgiving to recover and be back up working up there in a couple of weeks....that couple of weeks ended up turning into not going back up there. Thad and I spend countless hours talking at night about how it really sucked that he had to have that accident, but how nice it was to have him home! He was able to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and spending quality time with the littles...and that we talked about being forever grateful for. The doctors he was going to just said it would take "time".....That was so frustrating to both of us....We just wanted to wave the magic wand and say...You are healed Thad! You can walk and run and not feel "foggy" as he would put it. He had good days....where he felt great...then it would go back to the barely even get out of bed days. He started walking with wrist crutches to help his sore muscles work.. I used to tell him he was the only man who could make walking with crutches SEXY!! :) he would just roll his eyes at me....but it is true....I every time I looked at him, my heart would skip a beat....after nearly 29 years of knowing him....He still gave me butterflies in my stomach when I saw him!
On May 12, 2014, our family's lives would forever be changed. It started off as a "normal" day...if you can call it that. Thad was supposed to take my mom home on his way to Greybull the day before, but the road ended up being closed in Evanston, so they turned around and came home...I remember saying "whahoo!!! We get you for one more night" If I would have known that was literally the one more night I was able to be with him on this earth, I would have not let him go the next day. The next day, driving to work, I noticed the sign saying road closed in Evanston...I called him and left a message saying..."looks like you get to stay another day...the road is still closed". He called me at work that morning and said that the road had opened and that he and mom were going to go up to LDS Hospital to see my brother David who was recovering from a severe accident he had been in and he wanted me to go and meet them for lunch....I thought that was perfect so I told them I would meet them there at noon. Well it was a super busy payroll Monday, and I ended up being close to an hour late. I remember walking into my brother's hospital room and Thad's back was turned to me and when he heard me, he stood up and said "it's about time!" :) We gave each other a hug and said our goodbyes to my brother and his wife and walked to the cafeteria with my mom to eat lunch....I remember he got rotissere chicken...I have no idea what I got....but I remember sitting next to him and looking through his phone...he showed me a cute pic of one of his friend's baby on facebook, then pulled up the Wyoming road report to make sure I knew that the roads were just showing wet all the way through South Pass...I was relieved. Then it was time to say goodbyes....I was going to go visit my brother before going back to work, and he and mom wanted to get on the road. When we got in the elevator, there was a man in there, and I remember thinking oh shoot...the guy is going to be irritated because we pushed 3 and 4 and he was going to 5. When we got to floor 3 where mom and Thad were getting off to go get in the truck, I gave him a quick hug and kiss and we said our love yous, drive safe. trying to hurry so I didn't irritate the other guy in there....Now, I wish I wouldn't have cared what the other guy was thinking....I would have held that hug and kiss forever had I known that would be my last before he returned to heavenly home. I called him when I was done at my brother's and he said the roads were all dry...and he was making good time...he said he was going to drop my mom off and then just head to his dad's so he could get an early start the next day on the farm. After work, I talked to him....he was in Farson, going to grab a soda and get back on the road...he talked about how frustrated he was with Workman's comp and if he didn't see his check by Friday, he was going to call an attorney.....then he said, you can call me any time tonight to keep me company...I reminded him that I was taking the kids to the high school play...He said "oh that is right, well when you get out of the play, give me a call....if I don't answer, make sure you leave a message so when I get into a good area, I will be notified I have a message....We ended our call as we always did, love you, miss you, drive safe. He told me he should be in Greybull around 10 P.m. that night. I remember looking down at my clock for some reason and it said 6:28....It was the ONLY thing I remember even having an inclination that I needed to know the time we had talked....
I took the kids and one of my grandkids Eli to the wizard of oz at Stansbury high school...It was an awesome production and there were several teenagers and kids in our ward in the production...I took pictures and we had a great time. When we got out to the car, I called thad...It went right into voicemail, so I left a message as he instructed....I called his dad to see if maybe he had gotten there because it was nearly 10. He said he hadn't and was surprised he was coming that night...he thought he was coming the next day and hadn't talked to him...I thought that was strange because I knew Thad would call him at some point in the trip to make it go faster...but I said, well just have him call when he gets there...I get home, call him again...this time it rang, so I figured he was in a better area, but still no answer....I got the kids dressed for bed then called again, and it went into voicemail.....I texted him and said where are you????? no reply...I figured he had gotten to his dad's house, and his dad was on the home phone so he couldn't call. As I was saying my prayers I prayed that he would call me to let me know he was ok and had gotten there. I still really didn't think anything was wrong...It wouldn't be the first time that he had forgotten to call before he got there and lost cell service.
At 12:30 a.m. I was startled by my phone ringing....awww....I thought he's calling me.....It wasn't him. It was my son Michael asking if Grandpa had gotten a hold of me...no I said...what is going on...He said "Dad rolled the truck........and he didn't make it".......NOOOOOOOOOOOO (scream)........noooooo what? I don't even remember what I said except those words, and then screaming tears, crying with my son on the other end doing the same thing...Holland woke up and was worried wondering what was wrong....she figured it out through my sobs...she starts crying and trying to console me at the same time....singing I am a Child of God. Such a sweet little spirit.....I was so mad.......I remember asking God ...Why? Why now?
We had so many dreams to live out...we were finally all together as a family....and now this??? How could you do this to me?? I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is forgiving.....for I did not speak kindly to Him that night/morning.
What I didn't realize was that in the next 8 weeks, I would see God's hand in many different situations, that at the time I thought why us? why now? this isn't fair!
Gift #1. Thad's accident on November 17, 2013....Every time I call that a gift, I almost feel bad, but I truly believe this was a gift from God. That accident gave us 6 months of TIME.....time together, time with the kids, time at home, quality time talking, laughing, crying, and realizing just how much we loved each other and how excited we were to be able to live our dreams out.
Gift #2. Thad's type of brain injury....another weird gift....but the part of his brain that was affected, was the front lobe of his brain....his emotional part of the brain. Even though it was frustrating for him and me at times with all the mood swings and going from laughing to crying to raging mad, this brought Thad closer to Heavenly Father and the spirit.
Gift #3. Preparing us for May 12. I truly believe we all have a time that God needs us. God knew his time was coming ...thus the accident to bring him home for that quality time, but also as I look back He was preparing both of us....I got a really good raise at work....I remember thinking wow....I'm going to be quitting in June or July to move to Alaska....why couldn't this have come sooner so we could enjoy this!? but that was part of the tender mercies ....Thad knew his time was short here on earth (I didn't) He told me one night in bed...."I'm not going to be here much longer". I remember telling him that the doctors just said it just takes time, and that I'm sure he was frustrated, but reminded him that he is living till he is 90's! Then one night the bishop called us in....just to see how we were doing...He asked if he could do anything for us...I said blessing would be great. So he gave Thad a priesthood blessing....I have no idea what all he said in that blessing except for these words : "Now is the time to prepare to meet your maker". I remember thinking oh no! He has already been talking like that...I hope he doesn't read into that statement...well he did...after we left, he said, "did you hear what the bishop said?" He said I was going to die! I said...that is not what he meant...he meant that this LIFE is a time for all of us every day to prepare to meet our maker...he was like...no...that is not what he meant....I've thought a lot about why Thad knew and I no inclination whatsoever, but I realize that God probably didn't want me to sit and focus and worry about it....so he allowed me to not "know".
Gift #4. We were able to find his phone....They didn't find it when they gathered the things that had come out of the his truck....It was so upsetting because I just wanted the pictures and texts and memories....I also wanted to know if I was the last person who he talked to. The night before his funeral, his brother Eric and his wife and son stopped at the accident site and tried calling it...there was no service...he walked up a few steps and called again....it started ringing!!!! it was in an inch of dirt under the son's foot!!! The miracle doesn't stop there.....He immediately tried to call me to tell me he found it....no cell service!!!!! AND it only had 6% battery left....another miracle...the battery in that phone barely lasted for 4 hours let alone 5 days!!! I was the last person he talked to....he called me at 6:25...we talked for 3 minutes..then the accident happened at 6:44 p.m.
Gifts since the accident: my kidney stone....another time I was like really Heavenly Father? A kidney stone a week after the accident? I got some REALLY good sleep in the hospital that night...something I hadn't done for a week...AND it passed in the middle of the night that night....yes..that was a gift and a push in the rear end to start taking care of myself!...another even that I'm still trying to figure out how it is a gift, but my car breaking down on the way to St. George this past week....The only thing I can pull out of that is the fact we were all safe, and maybe the Lord knew I needed to get a reliable car...and knew I would never do that without the car's engine getting ruined.
I love my Heavenly Father, I have realized that He has been putting me through the refiner's fire...to allow me to see what I'm made of...I honestly don't know how I've gotten through this past 8 weeks, but I do know it was through Him and my Savior's atoning sacrifice. I'm grateful for that knowledge that Families are Forever. I know we will see Thad again, and this is just a temporary separation. I miss him terribly, and wish that God's will would have been the same as mine, but I know that He is in charge, and Thad is having a wonderful reunion with so many people including my dad and his mom! I love you Thad Cheatham....with all of my heart...Thank you for the wonderful memories...I will hold these memories in my heart forever!!!!