Saturday March 15, 2014
What started out to be a beautiful sunny spring day, ended in being a tragic yet spiritual experience for me. I was in a meeting when I got a text from Kayla saying "Have you talked to Jori? is CJ OK or what is going on?" "why?" was my reply she said "He's been missing and they pulled his dog out of a canal" Having no Internet connection I panicked when I text Jori and did not hear back (she always texts back) I left the meeting went home to get more information, then headed straight to Jori and Dwight's home. When I arrived there were police cars, many many other cars and my heart was pounding as I walked up to her home. Jori and I have been friends for over 20 years and her husband Dwight and Eric grew up together. I should also insert here that Eric dated Jori, right before dating me....(long story not pertained to this)
I was greeted by Jori's brother Scott, and Dwight's brother Kent Udall. It was now that I realized CJ had drown in the canal behind their home. Last night Jori had a camp out at her home with all the scouts who live in her area. This morning all the kids were in the pin with the goats laughing and having a great time, when Jori realized CJ was missing--Dwight went out towards Power road looking and yelling for him, Ben, Jori's other son went toward the canal, he yelled for his dad when he found CJ's dog. Dwight and Jori ran to the canal, Jori hit her knees "yelling, I just want to start the day over, please just let it start over again" This broke my heart when Kent told me this part.
Jori and I were just at lunch 2 weeks ago talking about how much Recker loves water, and the fear I have of not having a fence around our pool. This conversation was drowning my thoughts as I walked in to see Jori--she immediately grabbed me and hugged me, I didn't want to cry, I wanted to be strong for her as she sobbed in my arms. All I could say was "I'm so sorry, Jori, I'm so sorry" I couldn't help but sob with her.
With the police and investigators still handing around, Jori pulled everyone into her living room, tried her very hardest to be strong and talk to everyone, she explained about the Priesthood and the blessings that come from receiving a Priesthood blessing, she eloquently spoke about CJ, about his testimony, his love for nature, scouting and his family--she invited everyone in the room to stay as her brother gave her a Priesthood blessing. Then Dwight received a blessing from his father Jess Udall. Dwight then gave his son's Ben and Josh a blessing, I couldn't help but think about when my brother Lance died, I wish I had been offered a Priesthood blessing. What a difference that could of made in my life as I dealt with his death. As Dwight gave Ben the blessing, I glanced up at a picture in their home it read We Tend To Seek For Happiness --- a solemn peace came over me, and I cried harder knowing CJ is with his grandfather Carvel Jackson who he is named after--what a grand reunion they must be having--through the sounds of sniffling and tears I could feel this sweet spirit testify to me that HE LIVES -- and now CJ is in a perfect place, with a perfect body. Dwight talked to us about the day CJ was born, the nurse brought the baby to him and placed him in his arms, even before Jori knew Dwight could see CJ had down sydrome, but as clear as day he heard a voice tell him, "CJ is here for a purpose, protect and watch out for him until the day HE returns to his father in Heaven" he said those words helped him to process what was going to be a life of watching a young boy grow up with challenges
Jori and Dwight raised CJ as if he were just like any typical child, CJ didn't know he had down syndrome. Just a couple of weeks ago, Jori told me they were at the Cultural Celebration watching Ben practice, when a girl with down syndrome came up to CJ and said Hi, but CJ snubbed her--Jori said she had to have a talk with him about "being nice to the down syndrome kids" CJ didn't like the idea of being nice to a girl, not to mention one with down syndrome. I got a kick out of that story, and told Jori she has done such a great job of raising him to be tolerant of everyone. He knew nothing but compassion and love for everyone he came in contact with.
My heart aches for them, tonight they will not sleep, right now it's busy, people bringing food, helping fill the void, but when they all leave and the smoke settles I worry about Jori. CJ was her life, she could not have a conversation without bringing up CJ--she was so proud of him, she loved her time with him, she has become very involved in the scouting world, helping CJ and Ben to achieve their merit badges, and Ben his eagle.
I have never lost a child I can't imagine how I would feel, I know my parents were devastated when Lance died, it was as though he took a piece of their heart with him. I'm sure Jori will have huge holes in her heart while she processes this trial she is forced to face. I have heard it said that if all the people we know were brought into a room together to compare trials, most of us would take what we have and be grateful. Today, as I sat and watched this family mourn the loss of CJ, I felt as if my problems or pains were easy. The loss of a child is one trial I know the Lord knows I could not handle. I have so much respect and love for those who have to experience the death of a child, and are able to move forward in faith, knowing they will again see that child after death. I'm glad I was able to be a part of the Udall family today, I learned so much from just watching and listening with my heart. When I try to sleep tonight I will pray for Jori and Dwight, Josh and Ben give them strength and endurance while they try to make sense of a horrible day. I also rejoice that CJ is now with a perfect body, and a perfect mind as he continues on his next chapter and journey.
Keeping the future at bay
2 hours ago