Friday, January 28, 2011

I dreamed about you

I've dreamed many times about you, Rachel. In the dreams, for some reason, it turns out that you weren't killed in that accident, but you are still alive. Or you come back to me in a very huggable form. We cry together, we laugh together and then talk, talk, talk. Last night I dreamed about your daughter. I was happy to know that she hadn't forgotten me after all. She knew me because of what I had written for her in a little furry coat that she carried.

Rachel had a little furry coat and hood. It was blue. She looked so sweet in it. Then Uncle Steve gave her a white fur rabbit hat that she wore when the blue coat was too small. It occurs to me again that the books I am working on and struggling over are a love letter to Rachel and to my other children. They tell my grandchildren that I will remember them and I want them to remember me.

Joy and Addie
I love to be a link between the future and the past, a link in the chain of people who stretch out behind me as farther than eye can see and stretch forward as well. I'm not as involved in the life of my grandchildren as I was with my children. That's as it should be. My great-grandchildren will be even more removed. But I do still love them and think about them and I write for them as well as for myself.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Letter from Marden, SA, Australia

January 1998
Dear Mom & Dad & Family,
Do you like this paper? Fluff gave me this paper for my B-day. Christmas was really good--I loved it. It was good talking to you!! Hope the bill wasn't too much--if it was use my Christmas or birthday money because talking to you guys was all I really wanted. Things are definitely picking up in the last two weeks. We've added five new investigators to our teaching pool! All of them are choice.

Tell Sister Hill "I love her." That's awful that she's confined to a bed. Fluffy is getting transferred. Don't know where to. But I'm staying here don't know w/who but I'll find out tomorrow. Most of our zone is staying the same. :) It's been great to teach the last two weeks. I love it. We found most of them through tracting. Mark and Leanne we found tracting. They really seem sincere but we have a hard time catching up with them. Then their next door neighbor Steve started asking us questions. We were able to teach him despite his No Religious Callers sign.

We were also able to teach Kirsty and Penny. Penny is choice. The Elders found her tracting. They asked us to teach her. She's really on the ball! Well that's pretty much it for me. Things are going good. I understand so much more. The Gospel is so awesome and true! I hope you guys are reading the Book of Mormon together. It's a powerful book. I promise ou that as you guys read it your testimony will grow and you'll grow closer together and have peace in your life. I'm just about to finish the Book of Mormon for the 3rd time since I've left on my mission! Anyway I hope things work out financially. Remember the Lord will bless you.
Love ya all
Sister Stubbs    :)

P.S. Dad, Fluffy is convinced you're not an American because she says you don't sound like one. She thought you were her uncle hence the confusion on the phone. She was trying to figure out why you were calling her. The green chewy is for you!!

Mom, I don't know if I told you or not that I loved my package. It was really awesome--especially the Junior Mints. Just kidding. The ornament from the Advent Calendar was especially special for me. I loved the Christmas decorations. It brought a piece of home Christmas in the mission field and reminded me of the Christmas traditions. Fluffy and I started our own tradition. We bought a candle & we marked 25 places--each night we would burn it & talk about family tradition, Christmas, cards, or talk about Christ--very cool tradition.

Julia - I picked up these sea shells off the beach where I'm at. Hope you like them. Love ya all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No worries--We can do it.

Do you have a personal motto? I'm not sure that I do, but Rachel certainly did. In her undergraduate history major at BYU, she focused on the World War II era. Her senior paper was about World War II propaganda posters. She scrolled through dozens of microfilms and looked at many many posters, but the one that really caught her eye was the one portraying "Rosie the Riveter" with the motto, "We Can Do It" across the top. She loved that particular poster and used the image of it as her inspiration.

Grandma Rose may have been part of the reason Rachel liked the image of Rosie. Rachel's Grandma Rose was a World War II bride who became very independent while her husband was flying his P-38 in Europe. Rose wasn't a factory worker, but she certainly fit the tough image portrayed by the artist. She traveled by bus all over the United States and also spent time in Panama while mothering her little Jimmy, Rachel's dad.

Rachel  liked the determined "We can do it" on the poster too. It fit her personality. Rachel was not one to give up easily or shirk hard work. She could often be found helping out various family members with tough projects. Nothing seemed too hard for her to tackle. She helped me redecorate her younger sister Julia's room when Julia wished for a room with a personalized, updated look. We sponged lime green paint on the walls, hung a snazzy shower curtain on the window and beads around the bed. Then Rachel, Julia and I created a one-of-a-kind quilted bedspread that reflected both Julia and Rachel's unique personalities and tastes.

Grandma Rose Stubbs
Rachel was the one who spearheaded the garden plowing and planting for her mother-in-law, helped her dad put in an irrigation system in his garden and wouldn't let a Christmas go by without lights outside and decorations inside. She balanced a life filled with activity, reading, crafting, mothering, studying and finally, filling the post of Alpine city planner with her usual sparkle and energy.

"No worries," Rachel's second motto, came from her year and one-half in Australia. She picked up many Aussie phrases there, but the one she never let go of was this one. It, too, fit her personality. She refused to worry. She  got hives or an upset stomach instead. So maybe she did worry herself. However, her answer to any favor asked or apology given was always the same, "No worries."  It became something our family said to each other through our tears after we lost her to the car accident. We knew that eventually it would all be okay again. No worries--we can do it!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Happiest New Year's Day

It was December 31st. My daughter Rachel was in the hospital with premature labor and toxemia. The doctor was concerned for the development of the baby's lungs, so Rachel was under heavy medication to stop the labor and to hurry the lung development of her soon-to-be born child. It had been a few weeks of worry and testing, of off and on labor and of miserable medication. They called it a stress test, but as far as I could see, no test was necessary. Rachel was definitely stressed. She already loved the little daughter who was coming. Her name was to be Adelaide, after the Australian mission city where Rachel had served and loved the people. Her middle name was Rose, after her sister and her grandmother.

Rachel's husband was exhausted, with his own set of stressors. I was elected to sit with Rachel as she slept fitfully that last night of her first pregnancy. My heart was heavy as I listened to my daughter moan in pain. The medication slowed the labor, but made her feel miserable in other ways. She hated most the feeling of only being half-alive, drugged and semi-conscious. We were all worried about the baby's health and also about Rachel's. Sometime deep in the night, I heard a new baby cry. "If only we were at that point," I thought sadly.

Rachel stirred. She tried to sit up. She, too, had heard the baby. Her confused mind worried that she was hearing her baby. "My baby, my baby," she cried. "Please, someone help my baby."  It took some reassuring to get her to relax and try to sleep once more. She was strongly bonded to her daughter before she was even born.

Rachel and Addie
By the next night her child had been delivered and all was well. Addie was rushed to the newborn intensive care, but she was soon released with a clean bill of health. The new year had started out in a most wonderful way, with a new child, a beautiful and much-loved daughter. In fact, two much-loved daughters, my daughter and her own first child.