My dad called me around mid-October and announced to me that he was getting married. He had been dating his girl friend for a little while now and decided they had found their soul mates. They were going to be married in Vegas since they were going down there for Theresa's niece's wedding anyway. He didn't want to make it a big deal, so didn't think that any of his kids would want to come. Especially since they'd be getting married on Oct. 30th, which was technically Halloween in Utah. I didn't really give my dad a choice. I called up my brothers and we all figured out how to make the quick trip work. My brother Jared who lives in California even made the trip to Vegas. Jake and I got there on Friday night around 9:30 Vegas time, went and grabbed Jared, checked into our hotel, and headed out for people watching at its finest. First we stopped by my dad's hotel to tell the happy couple good luck! We stayed and chatted for about a half hour, then left to hit the city. Jason, Jordan, and Kenzie finally arrived around 3:30 am Vegas time, then we all hit the sac. That morning we met Dad, Theresa, her brother Kevin, her son Chanse, and his wife Janell at the court house. My dad looked so excited and I hadn't seen him that happy in a very long time. His ceremony was very casual, everyone wore jeans. We teased that the clerk couldn't even pronounce his name- she kept calling him "Dougruss." All in all, it was a happy time. After their ceremony we headed over to a wonderful cafe at the Wynn hotel. Their breakfast was seriously the best I had ever tasted! We were all together laughing and happy. When breakfast was over, my brother Jason and I had to head home to be with our kids for trick-or-treating. I remember giving my dad a big hug. He had tears in his eyes, which made me teary too. I remember him saying "I hope you know how much I love you Boo!" I said "I love you too dad." and gave him a kiss. He thanked me for making it down there for his wedding and I told him I wouldn't have missed it. Then as we walked away, we just sort of held hands for awhile. Being my dad's only daughter, we have a very special bond. Then we came to the point where we had to go our separate ways. And that was the last time I really saw my dad alive.
Fast forward to Monday... I called my dad to see how the rest of his weekend was and he told me it didn't go too well. Him and his wife had an argument over something that was a misunderstanding. I told him things would work out. He had to catch the other line on his phone, so I told him I loved him and that was the last time I talked to my dad.
Fast forward to Tuesday morning at 9:30 AM. We all met back up at the hospital (actually Jason hadn't ever left). My dad was moved to the ICU and his face had been wrapped like a mummy so you couldn't see anything. I finally decided to join all of my brothers to say our last good byes. My dad was perfect from the shoulders down. I made sure to hold his hands. I always loved his hands. I actually have his hands (just not as chubby). He had worker's hands. Something I always loved about him. We were all able to hold another family prayer and finally release him. Most of us stepped out of the room, but some stayed until he took his final last breath. It only took ten minutes for him to pass on. At 10:40 am on Tues, Nov. 2nd my dad returned to Heavenly Father. He returned to live with his brother Jeff who had passed away a little over eight years ago. He returned to grandparents who are now taking care of him since we can't.
After he passed away they wrapped him back up and we went in the room. You could tell that his spirit was gone. There was a peaceful void in the room that hadn't been there before. My dad was officially gone from this life. After regaining our composure, we met in a chapel that the IMC hospital has to talk about funeral arrangements. My dad had always talked about being cremated. He wanted his "5 J's" to hike Red Castle in the Uintah mountains to spread his ashes. So, we started to call crematories in Salt Lake. We made arrangements to have his funeral at my brother's ward house "The Douglas Ward" actually, so that seemed pretty fitting. We also decided to hold it in the gym so that it was more laid back. The way my dad would have wanted it. We also decided to divide his ashes into several urns, so that we could spread them all over the places he loved. My dad loved the outdoors and was an avid fly fisherman. Our first place to spread his ashes would be up the Provo Canyon. He loved fishing up there and that is actually where he proposed.
Friday, Nov. 5th was his funeral. All of us kids spoke about all the great memories we had. My grandparents, bless their hearts, shared their thoughts. Theresa and her son shared words. His brother Ron recalled some childhood memories. A lot of tears were shed. A lot of love was shared. After the funeral, just family, headed up to the Provo River. My brother Jason gathered all of my dad's fishing gear and hats to change into. Brett stepped in my place, although I wore the hat until it was time to fish. We found the prefect place to spread my dad's ashes and officially named it "Doug's Spot." Spreading his ashes was very peaceful. Everything felt right. You could just feel that we were doing exactly what my dad would have wanted us to do.
me and my rock
making our way over to the perfect spot. (my dad would be proud, Brett had to carry me on his back accros the river, then I had to hop on rocks in black boots:)
spreading his ashes
I love this picture of my brother Jason and me. We're probably talking about how perfect it all was...
After we spread his ashes, the boys and Theresa fished for a little bit. It was a perfect end to a horrible experience.
It has now been three weeks to the day, and maybe even time, since I said good bye to my dad. I miss him everyday, but time has definitely helped heal. I don't know where I would be without my testimony of the gospel. Especially of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We had no idea what my dad was dealing with inside. Only God knows that. I have faith that he will be judged justly. Heavenly Father knows each one of us individually and will take care of us. We'll never know if my dad had a chemical imbalance. We'll never know what reasoning my dad had to take his own life. Only our Savior and God do, and I have peace in knowing that everything will be taken care of. We are now looking forward to the mini trips we have made to spread the rest of my dad's ashes around. We are also looking forward to doing his temple work. He has one year to get ready for us to re-baptize him and to take care of his endowments. Now more than ever do I have the hope that we will live for eternity with each other again. I now need to do my part to make sure I make it back to live with him again.I have been so lucky to receive such great service from great friends and family members. All of the prayers that have been said in our behalf have been felt. I know that there will still be good and bad days. I just hope I never forget the good times.
I love you dad and I can't wait to be held my your loving arms once again.
IWUWE Always, your little Boo.