It's been in the back of my mind for all these months and my thoughts kept turning to the topic of gratitude. I just feel like gratitude is so powerful and I feel like most people don't understand the power it has and so I always love to talk about that. I pretty much decided that would be the topic I chose, but I kept open to inspiration.
As the time got nearer, I still felt that was to be the topic, but I also felt I needed to include a lot about how happiness is a choice. When I recently asked Janice the theme of the dinner, she said it was celebrating ourselves and finding joy in life. I knew then I was on the right track. I spent a few days working really hard on it and I basically had it written and ready to go. Then a few days before I was to give it, I felt very impressed that I was to talk about my son Tyson who passed away, but also relate that experience to my previous topic of happiness is a choice as well as to gratitude. So, I basically rewrote my whole talk. I knew it would happen that way, because it pretty much almost always does when giving a talk. For some reason the inspiration is withheld for some reason until the date closely approaches. Will someone tell me why that is?
I don't usually talk too much about Tyson when I am speaking to a large group. I think I have always feared that I might lose my composure and it would back fire. But, this time, I went in with an assurance that I was supposed to talk about him and so I was prepared for whatever emotion rose during my talk. I really enjoyed preparing and talking about that boy. I felt like it brought his spirit closer to me.
My friend Dawn offered to go with me and since I always love to be with her, I was excited she would come and support me. I picked her up and off we went. We had to drive by my old house (duplex) that we lived in 20 years ago. It looked mostly the same, but run down a bit. We lived on the right side. Two of my babies were born in that house...well, not IN that house, but while we lived in that house. We moved from there when Taylor was only three weeks old.
Off to the right of the photo there used to be a field where we planted a garden and now it's a road! Our backyard was an open corn field and now it's houses.
When we got in the church, Janice was inside and was so welcoming. I saw this beautiful wreath that was displayed and I was drawn to it (yes, it was purple) and commented how amazingly stunning it was. Janice said, "It's yours!" I was shocked yet ecstatic! She had made it for me as a thank you gift for coming. It is GORGEOUS beyond words. And it was PURPLE! I loved it. I couldn't believe she was giving it to me as my gift. I was so excited!
And she was wearing all purple and asked me why I wasn't. Gulp. The word got out that I love purple and several people asked me why I wasn't wearing it. I felt like I should go home and change. Even the decorations were purple! They know how to make you feel very welcome in that ward.
Here I am with my dear friend Dawn who came to support me. She is an amazing woman and I call her the poster child for happiness. She is always up and happy and positive and lifts up others wherever she goes. I knew she would be good energy for me and get me in the right spirit for this talk. And she was. I just love being around her.
As people started to stagger in, I started to recognize some of the faces. I was so excited to reunite with all of these amazing women! KarLynne, (on the far left) was YW Pres and I was her secretary. I don't know if you can see the pen stuck in her hair, but I just about died laughing because she always had a pencil stuck in her hair when we lived there. I love her so much. She is just so fun and she also lost a child - Kelly - 19 years ago right after we moved. She remembered that I came back to visit her after it happened. There is an immediate common bond with parents who have lost children. And Diane (next to me on the left). Her husband Alan owned the field in our backyard and let us glean the leftover corn after it had been picked. We were struggling medical students and so appreciated that! Georgia, Rosanne, Sister Raybold, and Marilyn. So many amazing women. Their examples had such a profound influence on me while there and still do. It was so good to see them all again!
My good friend Colleen just moved to Bountiful a month or so ago and so I had a feeling I better let her know I was there. I sent her a text on my way. She responded after I arrived at the church and asked for the address and said she was coming. Crazily enough, I was speaking at her church! Not her ward but her building! And she had gone to that ward the first week they were here. Talk about a small world. She brought her darling daughters Courtney and Kaylie. I was so happy to see them. I have really missed them! They all knew Tyson really well and so after I spoke they told me how much they loved it and Colleen told me that what I said was exactly what Courtney needed to hear. I'm glad I listened to inspiration and let her know I was coming. I almost didn't because I felt kind of like I was saying, "Hey I'm in town speaking, come listen to me." The fewer people I know when I'm speaking the better. haha But I really felt I needed to. Plus I really wanted to see her.
I felt like my talk went well. I always say a few things that I wish I hadn't and leave out a few others I wish I had added, but overall, I think I was able to get across my message. At least I hope. I never know for sure after a talk but hopefully if the comments were honest that I received from everyone after then I was able to share the message I wanted to. At least I felt really good about it.
My main theme was that no matter our circumstances we can be happy. Happiness isn't based on our circumstances but on our attitude and we choose if we want to be happy or not. I spoke how after losing Tyson that I was given a choice.... I could be a mother that lost her child and be miserable or I could be a mother that lost her child and be happy. It was really MY choice. I could be bitter that he died or I could become better and stronger for having gone through that experience. I spoke about how no matter what his circumstances, which usually consisted of pain in some form, Tyson choose to be happy and to not complain. He easily could have and no one would have blamed him for that, but he CHOSE to be happy and live his short life to the fullest. He was a great example of that. I also talked about how gratitude has so much power and that just the simple act of being grateful for what we have at the moment, even if it's not all we want, can transform our sorrow into joy. Almost magically. I truly believe there is some kind of magical power in gratitude! ☺ I also told how Tyson was so grateful to everyone in his life including the nurses, doctors, and even the phlebotomists that inflicted pain on him. He never forgot - not once - to tell them thank you after they did what they needed to do to keep him healthy. He was always the first to say thank you at dinner and each night he would come in my room before he went to bed and say, "Is there anything you need?" He was an amazing example. My overall message was that life is tough and we will all have adversity. We can't choose our adversity and most of the time we can't control the things that happen to us, but we can control how we will react to it. Tyson was the best example of all those things of anyone I've ever known. Everyone was so kind after and told me I did a good job. I hope so. I tend to over analyze after a talk and get super nit picky about how I did. I just hope that my message helped inspire even just one person. If it did, then it was worth it. Well, it was worth it just for the wreath! hehe
I forgot to take a photo of my table display with photos, but this above picture was part of it.
Someone put the wreath on my head. It makes a great hat, don't you think? We decided I should glue a witch hat inside and wear it to Witches Night Out this Halloween. It would be boo-tiful!
On our way home, I told Dawn we were stopping at Dick's Bakery. It used to be in my backyard, but has since moved to Parrish Lane. I had called earlier and had them hold some of their famous chocolate fudge donuts. If you don't call ahead of time, then they are out! I also ordered some of their yummy mini eclairs for Dave. Mmmm........ NOTHING BETTER! Dick's is one of the things I miss most about living in Bountiful!
Overall, a great night! I am so blessed to have the amazing associations I do and the amazing examples of so many women in my life. Life is good.
Remember to CHOOSE HAPPINESS!
And chocolate. Since they are basically the same thing!