This is Jake's Story...

Jake is a 20-year-old twin who has been diagnosed with stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare form of cancer. Going through a vigorous daily radiation treatment and weekly Chemo treatments make him extremely tired, weak and sometimes nauseous.

Jake is otherwise a normal teenage kid. He likes playing computer games, paintball, swimming and golfing. He loves hanging out with his four brothers, 4 wheeling, camping, and ruining his mom's laundry baskets while making home videos. He hopes to someday become a computer programmer.

This blog was started to keep his family and friends updated on his status.

Addendum: Jake became cured of cancer, free of pain and everything this world brings on September 29, 2010. He continues his journey in Heaven. He is doing awesome! Hope you're doing the same!

His family thanks you for your generosity in donations, love and service. God has shown us many tender mercies!
Thanks for being one of them!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dear Jake...

First car!

Holladay Arch
Dear Jake,
I know you've been waiting for this letter and today is the day!  I know you are in the best place for you...but I sure miss our fun times together...and my Jake hugs!  Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and hug you just a little bit longer when you were a toddler...when it wasn't weird to snuggle you, haha!

I hope, Jake, that out of all the mistakes I made as a young mother, in spite of know how much I love you!  If I could give you my blessing, it would be that you would understand who you really amazing, loving, lovable, sweet guy!  You are my (and dad's) son and a son of Heavenly Father.  I would bless you to also be able to feel joy, happiness and especially love.  I would hope that you have confidence to accomplish all you need to do and that you love learning!  I hope you have a beautiful young lady in your life that sees your amazingness as much as I do...and I hope you can't wait to introduce her to me!

Do you know why I want you to be in love with someone, Jake?  Because I have that with dad!  I love having dad as my eternal companion!  I love being loved by him and having him to love, to cherish, to snuggle, to fish, 4 wheel and just hang out with!  I love being his racquetball and pinochle partner.  I love having him to miss when we're apart!  He gives the best back and neck rubs!  He cares about me being safe and well.  We are each other's best cheerleaders and best friends!  We joy in each other's success and accomplishments and sorrow in each other's sadness or loss.

Having you and brothers added to our joy...and sadness, frustration, multiplied our love by 5.  I don't know relationships work in heaven, Jake, or if you will ever know the joy of having your own children...but I hope you can feel what it's like...somehow.  That is my wish for you, Jake.  That you can feel that kind of joy...the kind you gave us!

It's the same wish I have for all of my boys...I want them to feel the love of an eternal companionship, an awesome young woman that adores them, and little, adorable munchkins!

I love my life, Jake!  I love how God has put so many amazing people in it to bless and love me while I'm here.

Thank you for watching over us and doing what you do there to assist us in our work here!

I'm so anticipating the moment I get to hold you in my arms again!  As soon as I see you...I will run...I will run as fast as I can to hold you again!  I will hold you and cry and hold you and feel your love and your presence and hug you...and yes, I will kiss you and you can wipe it off like you always do!  How I long for that time, Jake!  Until then...I will live my happy life.  I will continue to love those that need my love and serve those that need my service.  I will love and mother your amazing brothers and dad!  We are all missing you, bud!

Big mommy hug!

Love you, Jake!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dear Jake...

Dear Jake,
I've been thinking about you alot this past week or so.  Finally my heart is healed enough that I can put your picture on the fridge.  Coming on to the 2 year mark of your moving on.  Memories of sweet tender mercies given to us keep coming back:  Bishop Larson feeding you your last meal of mint chocolate chip ice cream, Britnee and her mom coming over every week and cleaning our bathrooms, yummy food coming in, a cooler full of good orange juice and drinks, a new roof and shutters, holes mended so Molly couldn't escape, carpets and furniture cleaned, donations of money to pay all the bills, trips to St. George and one to California, treats, surprise Christmas gifts, love bread, smiles and hugs, tears and hugs, massages, cleaning and organizing, the lawn mowed, weeds pulled, a beautiful harp playing in your room, beautiful family pictures, homemade jam, gummy sharks and Lucky Charms.  There were donations and collections taken in our behalf from loved ones and strangers alike.  I remember a surprise package of a game console with a game you had been wishing for a long time.  Your smile, priceless!  I remember you sitting and watching the soldier movies you bought with money Uncle Bob gave you.  You were happy for the t-shirts Dana sent because we didn't get a chance to pick them up while we were there, before our plane left.  I remember how touched I was finding John sleeping on the floor next to you, so he could assist you if you needed it during the middle of the night.  There were beautiful flowers and lots of visits and even more prayers.  I remember a policeman coming and talking with you at PCMC while you were getting a chemo treatment.

I also remember how much you tried to have fun, even when you were in a lot of pain!  There were the trips we took, the hikes in Zion with Kara and Boo, the hike up to Timpanogos Cave with Austin (who offered to carry you, but you wanted to finish it by yourself).  Then there was the time that Doug tried to take you golfing.  You loved it so much, you tried your best to enjoy it one last time.  Then there was the time you had your bald self in Utah Lake trying to wake board behind Uncle Joe's boat.  Besides the fun, you tried to work.  Remember trying to help paint grandma's house and how you helped chop and split wood at Uncle Joe's cabin?   I'm sure John could come up with more adventures you tried, that maybe I don't want to know about.

I remember telling you that if it were possible, I would trade places with you and you were more concerned about who would take care of your brothers...or you didn't want to be responsible for them, haha!

I had no idea how much I would miss you, bud!  The family just isn't the same without you.  I miss your handsome mug and your hugs.  I miss you scaring me at the bottom of the stairs or in the laundry room.  I miss your laugh and your funny faces and jokes.  I miss the banter between you and John and Zack.  I miss your teasing.  I miss teasing you by singing the wrong words to the songs that you loved or singing off key.

Still...the amazing, wonderful blessings bestowed on us during your illness lingers in my heart and continues to strengthens me.  My love for you is still here in my heart.  I cried again, today...not because I was sad, but because my heart was still so full of gratitude for all the love shown to us through many people.  Still missing you.  Still loving you.  I feel your love and I am grateful for that.  Keep working on that Heaven Skype, bud!

Remember how when Zack came home from his mission, I couldn't wait for him to come to us so I ran to him and cried and hugged him.  That's how it will be when I see you again.  You've been gone as long as Zack was...but without the weekly phone calls on Mother's Day or Christmas. Well, I just have to trust that you're doing great stuff and you are watching over us.  Can't wait to catch up with all you have been up to.

Thanks for loving us!  We miss you, Jake!
Big mommy hug!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Well, I think we made it...

I think we made it through the first year.  Some days were harder than others.  You'd think you would have cried all the tears necessary by now...but surprisingly, there are more.  

Everyone seemed to commemorate Jake's "Angel Day" in different ways.  Mike, Spencer and I went with our friend Leslie, to the Cure Search Walk up in Sugarhouse Park.  It was kinda hard.  The ROK (Remember Our Kids) club invited us to come.  See the white balloons in the background?  They gave each family that had lost a child to cancer a balloon to release in their memory.  When I first saw them, I thought it was a very boring color they picked.  After a moment of silence, we released the balloons.  Sweetly, they looked like little angels going up to heaven.  One balloon stopped just above us as if to say...don't worry, we are watching over you...then it flew off with the others.  I think I lost a bucket of tears that day...but its ok.

We ended our walk with an ice cream toast at Baskin Robbins, complements of Leslie.  Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream was the last thing Jake could eat.  His last week, he only ate Cinnabon cereal and MCC ice cream.

Zack and Caitlin were suppose to come with us, but they slept in and missed it.  Dave stayed home and loaded bullets.  John went to St. George and turned a weekend stay to a week.

At 4:30 p.m., Dave and I went to the cemetery and placed balloons and flowers.  Zack met us there.
One of my dear friends left the red potted plant there.  The guys were staking the balloons down.

There were notes to Jake written on each balloon.  Monday, I went back and planting a kiss on each one, released them into the heavens.  Interestingly, they formed a big circle way up high, then disappeared.

Sunday, my friend Rinda, gave me some "love" bread.  Our hearts are knit together with the sadness of each losing our sons in 2011 and they are buried just a few feet from each other.  Kenny's birthday is in September so we hold each other up this month.

Last night, I found a book that was made of all the cards and well wishes of friends and family.  One of our friends had found a way to print out the comments from facebook.  I read through them and was reminded of the love and tender mercies bestowed upon us during that difficult time.  Those were sweet memories!

Monday, one of our neighbors, the Bucks, sent us this beautiful basket with flowers...again reminding us of the love that others have for us.  Here it is with my Prayer Bear I got from Primary Children's Hospital one of the times Jake was there.

Today, October 4th, would be the anniversary of his funeral.  I went to my institute class, which just happens to be in the room that I saw Jake's face last.  I was there at precisely the same time as they closed the casket for the last time.  More tears, more closure.

Lord, help me remember my sorrow, so that when I see another experiencing the same challenging time, I will know how to succor them.
Help me to remember the love, so that I can share some with them.
Help me remember the service and kindness, so I can know how to give back.
Make my hands, your hands,
My heart, your heart,
My love, your love,
My tenderness, your tenderness.
Thank you for showing me that there is more to death than sadness.
Thanks for reminding me to stay close and not to wander too far off (just like we tell our young ones)
Thanks for holding my hand when I was afraid, and my heart when it was broken.
Thanks for showing me Joy again!

Chin up now!  Enduring to the end is hard new meaning to live and learn!  The beautiful weather helps! :)

Thanks to all of you who have honored Jake and my family by remembering him.  Thank you for your prayers and for the strength you lend us.  I don't know how, but I feel strengthened and lifted up by your thoughts and prayers.  Knowing we are not alone in our sorrows is very comforting.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dear Jake...

Dear Jake,
Here I sit at Neskowin Beach...making new memories.  The last time I was here was the time I got that phone call from Dr. Wright saying there was no hope of recovery for you.  The song, Be Still My Soul, kept playing in my head.  With curlers in my hair, I walked out on the beach and cried the hardest, deepest cry I could never imagine.  It was the first of August then.  Now its nearing the one year mark of you leaving us.

I do ok if I don't reflect back.  If I re-read the blog, those old sad feelings come back...and then the tears.  I know you hate it when I cry for you...but it's just the way it is.

This week, daddy and I made some new memories here.  Some healing memories.

Closure does not mean we forget you, Jake.  It just means memories of you are safe...full of love.

Thanks for watching over us, bud.  Please keep watch over your brothers, as they watched over you.

Let us all have peace as we continue our journey.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Hey Jake!  Did you know Jord was headed your way?  We sure didn't!

I love this picture of you two together!  If you can't be here with us, I'm glad you were there for Jordan when he arrived.  I'm sure you have met his grandma Thurston by many heading your way!  What's up with that?!!  More babies...less funerals!

There was a moment there when I thought it was too much...Yet with a few hugs and a ride up AF Canyon on the Can Am, ...perhaps some help from your side... I found the strength to keep going.

Seems like you have been gone such a long time.  I don't even have the luxury of wondering when you will be coming back.  Nevertheless, my love for you will keep us connected until I get to come where you are. 

Thanks for watching over us, Jake!  Hurry up with the Heaven Skype!  The waiting list is getting longer and longer down here!

Your favorite mom in the whole universe!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear Jake...

Dear Jake,

I know it makes you sad when I'm thank you for helping me to feel joy again.  Did you see me ride the 4-wheeler to Kohlers the other day?  I thought you would get a kick out of that!  Rick W. called me over and tried to tell me I was doing something illegal, but I was able to convince him otherwise!  It was fun riding down Main Street on my bright yellow ATV!  I've got to find a trailer to fit it so I can go riding on the trails! 

It's different in our house now!  You and Zack are gone, John has a full time job, Mike is hardly here...mostly it's me and sudden!  Quite an adjustment for me! 

Hope you're learning lots of cool stuff!  It's just so weird not to be able to see you!  Tomorrow we will take a flower to your grave site.  I hate that you are in that group...but no more that Uncle James hates that Tom is with you, and Uncle Jack, Uncle Phil...etc., etc....  I know it's part of the life cycle...doesn't mean I have to like it.

I hope you feel joy where you are, Jake!  My wish is that if I were able to see you now, my mouth would be tired of smiling...just as it was the day Zack married Caitlin.  So happy to see Zack move on with his life and be happy.  That was one of my best days!  I hope whatever you are doing and experiencing now brings you joy!  I hope you feel loved and that you can give the love that fills you so abundantly. 

Remember, having a great life is all in the attitude you keep. 

Love and miss you, Jake!
Big mommy hug!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What good is Hope?

Another Stake Conference come and gone.  Some inspiring words.  What I felt most inspired to do is to write this post.  President West talked about the woman who touched Christ's clothing and by her faith, she was healed of her blood issue.  So many stories of faith and healing.  Then there are the quotes in the bible that say...ask and it shall be given, knock and it shall be opened unto you. 

So why wasn't Jake healed?  What good was it to have hope that he would be ok or that the treatments would work?  If I had time to research I could list some quotes to tell you what the prophets and apostles have said.  You can do that if you want.  I asked God this question and this is what He told me. 

Trials are a package deal.  Hope helps you get through them, but you need to have hope for the right things. 

My hope for Jake, was that whatever was best for him would happen.  Being human, I was unqualified to know what that I had to trust that God knew what that was.  I love Jake so much that even if it meant I could no longer see him live his life...if the best thing for him was to go back to God, then that was what I hoped for.

Now Jake is on the other side of the veil helping to coordinate what is best for me...even if that means I have to stay here and endure many more trials, many more heart breaks and much more joy.  Yes, joy has shown her pretty little face again, in my life.  I really missed her!

It's been 7 months now, since Jake left.  I've cried some good tears.  It's the deepest sorrow I never imagined possible...but my heart is healing.  Not every thought of Jake brings a tear.  I feel that it hurts him to know how much I cry and how much my heart aches and he is doing everything he can to see me smile and hear my laugh again.

Perhaps I will never know why it was better for Jake to go, though I can't really say he left, because it seems he spends more time with me now than when he was alive and healthy.

Am I stronger now?  I sure hope so. 
Can I endure anything?  I hope I don't have to find out.
But whatever God needs me to endure, I know He will be there for me and I have learned that so many of you will be there for me...and I am strong enough to be there for you...because that is what we do.  We love each other and we lift hands that hang down.

I am not done loving or living or helping or assisting or we go on.