Wednesday

An Elect Lady

What does one write about the loss of a dear, cherished, loved, mother, wife, companion, and friend? I don't know. I know that I could never do her justice in the word I could write about her. But one thing for sure is I got the greatest privilege of calling her mine for these 13 short years of marriage. Anne elevated everyone around her and even me.
The past week and a half has been so intense, full of anguish, remorse, pain, disappointment and sorrow. Crazy enough, it has also been sprinkled with hope, faith, love, grace, peace, joy, and spiritual insight.
I was so anxious about loosing Anne when she went into the hospital and I did not want her to know this because I wanted her to be at peace. This was an emotional battle. We realized that Anne's time was counting down due to a brain tumor that was new. The Neurosurgeon believed that the tumor, about the size of a golf ball, was hemorrhaging and he feared she would not do well with surgery or after surgery. So we were in a waiting game. Time was counting down.
They guessed at best that Anne had at most a few weeks. As the week progressed the pain became worse and Anne was paralyzed on her right side and blind in her right eye. Anne had times that she was not coherent and times that she was quite with it. When she was alert she wanted to see all her immediate family and a few others. She was amazing how she would be quite alert as she got to say goodbye to everyone she loved close and dear. Then she would have mental difficulty and rest. This is just like Anne do it right, with grace, and the way she wanted to. I know that she was blessed to be able to part with us in such a way.
There is nothing one can do can prepare fully for the moment of release. Anne's pain was increasing through the week until she could no longer be awake due to the pain meds and she lost sight of the remainder of her vision.
I was selfish and feeling anxious because she was saying goodbye with the last bit of energy she had and I was starting to feel I would not get time with her in her waking moments. The last day that she was able to be alert she had already said goodbye to our families and it was as if she new of my anxiety and woke up for most of the day to be with me. She made me get up in bed with her. So we could hold each other in this anxious time. We laid there and laughed about the first day we met. . . We cried. . . I think that I did most of the crying. We talked most of the time about anything and everything. Anne and I had a bad habit of not going to sleep at nights and enjoyed talking. We loved to talk. So this day, once again, talking came so natural and it was wonderful.
Anne's pain level in her head and her chest was greatly increasing and they wanted to keep her comfortable. So they came and talked to her and told her that she would not be awake anymore in order to keep her out of pain. She OK with this and wanted this and said with calmness, "I am ready I know it is time for me to go." This was about 7 pm and I had apx 7 hours of sleep in 72 hours. We knew that time was close. Anne asked that I would stay with her. I told her that she could not keep me away. She fell asleep about one hour later. Anne is so strong she made it through a rocky night and I managed to dose for a little over one hour. When the time was minutes away she became very peaceful and everything stopped.
I know this is quite detailed and I am sorry for this. It is just the way it is all spilling out. I must say that this night was filled with much faith and prayer. For one to claim no need for a creator at this time would be a blatant lie to themselves and their creator.
I felt such a need to pray, specifically for me, to be worthy to be in her presence at the time of her passing. What a dependence we have and need on our Savior, Jesus Christ. He will strengthen us in our hour of need and will not leave us comfortless. She is an Elect Lady and an Angel. What a holy place and time this was for us.
I know that my Savior lives and loves me and my family and I could feel his love for me in this poignant moment. I know that he has a plan for us and that we will be a family forever. I know that this family forever-ness is possible and directly contingent to our obedience to Him and succumbing our will to the Lord. I am grateful I got to assist Anne to the next life and I know that I will see, hold, and kiss her again.
My Uncle Kim once said, "Anne, you are as beautiful inside as you are without. " She is beautiful and I have thought of this saying many times after.
Anne planned her entire funeral and in the hospital she said to me, "I don't want a sloppy funeral, get writing your talk right now." Of course I refused and wanted to make the most of our last moments. Instead wrote my talk 2 nights before the funeral in the middle of the night due to lack of time and inability to sleep. Anne's funeral was wonderful and we were blessed, and filled with the spirit of the holy Ghost, and Anne's beautiful presence.
Every thought of Anne is full of beauty and grace. This is interesting Anne would always say my name is so plain and I would always tell her how much I loved it. As I have said before Anne fits her name, for it means grace, or gracious.
I love this wonderful Elect Lady, Anne. She will be sorely missed and there is a big hole in our hearts at this time for her. I know things will be tough and really hard but I also know with time, patience and faith my girls and I will heal but always have a piece of her etched in our hearts until we get to embrace her again.

Your loveing husband,
Ward

32 comments:

Josi said...

She was a lucky woman to have a man such as you. So many people never get to experience the joy and connection the two of you had for those 13 years. What a blessing that is.

Thank you for this, Ward, just knowing she's not here anymore is so hard to believe sometimes; I crave to hear more about her, hear how she spent that final time. I remember her saying once in writing group that she was grateful to have known ahead of time so that she could prepare. I was humbled that even amid such unfair and terrible circumstances she looked for the light of it all. She loves you guys so much and we were all blessed by her.

gnkharvey said...

Ward,
What beautiful words. Thank you so much for sharing your pure love for Anne with us. She was so special and touched everyone she came in contact with for good. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you navigate through this painful time. Thank you for sharing your faith. Your words reflect the strength of the Lord.

Thank you,
Kaylauna Harvey (Anne's cousin)

Scott and Kourt said...

Thank you for sharing a piece of your sweet Anne with us. I am grateful that you were able to post, we have been thinking of you. We hope that through this journey posting on this blog will be done. We would love to see and hear what your sweet girls and you are doing. Again, thank you for your sweet words about your graceful Anne :)

Lasting Memories by Marjean said...

Dear Ward,

I love you! Thank you so much for your beautiful testimony of the gospel, Plan of Salvation and your love for Anne. You are an amazing man, very deserving of Anne as your Eternal Sweetheart. Our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with you and tyour beautiful girls. Thank you for sharing your sweet, spiritual experiences with us all. Anne has left a great void in this world but what an imprint she left on all who know her. We are so very blessed to have been touched by her. Thank you again for sharing.

Send many prayers and much love your way!

Marjean

Rip Curl Mom said...

I think there are but a choice few of us in this world that have the opportunity to be with our "soul mate". All one had to do was see the way that you and Anne looked at each other to know that you two belonged together. Your talk at the funeral was beautiful as is your love for Anne. Thank you for letting us be a part of it. Anne came at a time in my life when I really needed her and the lessons that she taught me. I am forever grateful for her. And I always knew you would end up with someone amazing because you have always been that way yourself. Please call on Ross and I for anything.

Much love,
Kelly Walker

Mandy said...

I do feel like I am intruding, but I just need to thank you for your example of faith and hope. I heard about you and Anne through a friend who went to high school with you. As she told me a little about your situation, and later I found this blog, I realized that I had seen you and Anne in the waiting room of Dr. Gray's office back in February of 2008. My husband and I were there for one of my husband's first appointments with Dr. Gray. You two stood out a little bit (brightness in a room full of yellow faces) and we were trying to guess which of you had cancer- I remember Anne's long hair and so I wasn't sure- but then the nurse asked her to step on the scale, and that gave it away. Even though we did not say anything to you and did not know anything about you or your situation, our hearts ached for you as we knew you must be feeling the same fear and anxiety that we were.

Through our own cancer journey we have also learned that we can and must rely on our Savior, and through Him our trials really can refine us, though the process is so painful at times! Through your words alone you are an example of this refinement. Our prayers are with you!

klod said...
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klod said...

Ward, thank you so much for sharing your tender feelings with us. We are finding it hard to believe Anne is not with us at the moment. But our pain is nothing compared to what you are going through. Please know that we continue to keep you and your girls in our prayers. We will always love you no matter where you are.

Bob, Kathy & Mitch Weaver

Rob said...
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Sarajane said...

thanks Ward, for sharing your heart and soul. I am strengthened by your love for each other and that of our Father in Heaven.

Dan Chase said...

Ward, You did it! I know when we talked you were a little nervous about what to say on Anne's blog and how to say it. You spoke from the heart and bore sweet testimony of what should be most important to us all.
I enjoyed our heart to heart at my office the other day. I have never met anyone during my wife's cancer journey that I connected with like that. Your faith and approach to everything is exactly how I hope I can be. You helped restore peace to me and gave wise advise. Call if you need anything. Maybe we can talk again when I am where you are. My prayers are with you and your girls. Thanks, Dan Chase

Ganon said...

Ward,

Jennie and I have had Anne, you and the girls in our thoughts and prayers. Your words are a beautiful expression of your loving actions towards your wife. She will be missed, but will be remembered through you and your daughters.
Thank you for being an example of faith and righteousness. You both have touched our lives.

With love,
Ganon and Jennie

dmaismith said...

Thank you for sharing these personal experiences of Anne's last moments. I was acquainted with Anne at the Library in North Ogden. Her loving spirit, strength, and inner beauty always shown through for the few moments when she came for a visit. I am sad to hear she has passed, but happy that she can be at peace. Much love to you and your beautiful girls.

Di said...

We love you Ward. Thanks for sharing such wonderful experiences with us. Ben and I are working daily to strengthen our marriage through the example you and Anne set for us. We love you both,
Love Di

Shelly said...

Ward,
Thank you for sharing your wonderful testimony of our Savior and blessings of having eternal families . You are also an example to us all. Although at times this all seems very unfair, you have risen above any bitterness and have stregthened us all by your faith.. Anne was able to have the strength she needed to fight the cancer and peace she needed at the end b/c you were there for her and the girls. You two are an amazing couple whose love will continue forever! We will continue to keep your family in our prayers. May the Holy Spirit continue to give you the peace and comfort you need at this very difficult time.
With much Love
Eric and Shelly

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

I really don't know what to say that hasn't already been said, but thank you so much for sharing some of your last minutes with Anne as well as your strength and testimony. It brought back the heart break, but it healed, too. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for loving Anne. Thank you for being such a good father for your children. I remember in Anne's last post, she said you and your girls would be all right because you had each other. That one statement says a lot. By the way, your girls looked beautiful at the funeral. I'm sure Anne was proud of them. Of all of you.

Tyler and Kelli said...

Ward,
I am glad you chose to share your thoughts, love, and testimony with all of us. I love every little insight I get to read about how wonderful your Anne truly was. She was beyond words for me. And I never met her. Definately an elect lady to have such an influence on so many...even those not lucky enough to meet her in person in this life. I hope you continue to share your life on this blog. I think your girls are just adorable, and they truly are as sweet as their mother. I am so thankful I was able to meet you and the girls; I only wish Anne had been there too! Thank you again for sharing your love for her! It is wonderfully inspiring.

The Petersen Family said...

Our thoughts and prayers have been with you and the girls. I only met Anne a few times but I was so stuck by her beautiful spirit that I always remembered her and looked forward to seeing her again. Thank you for sharing this with us. I know that it can't be easy, but along with Anne's blogs your testimonies are a real strength and a blessing to read.
Paul and Calleen Petersen

Nikki said...

What a fitting tribute!
Ward I've never been to a more beautiful funeral. I sat there thinking of what a privilege it was to be there to honor such a great lady. It was such a powerful meeting. My testimony of forever families was strengthened tenfold. Although I was exhausted the rest of the day I was filled. I think I was glowing.
I will never forget Anne.

MKG said...

Oh my! What can I possibly say to this? Thank you for sharing your testimony and your love for Anne with all of us who followed her blog. Your tender feelings for her have always been so apparent! You had the privilege of calling her your wife for the past 13 years, and you will continue to have that privilege throughout eternity! May Heavenly Father continue to bless you and your beautiful family! I know HE will!

The Jolleys said...

What a wonderful understanding of eternal life and eternal families you have and thank you for sharing those precious comments about Anne. She is by far one of the most honest, kind, and beautiful women we've ever known. We will miss her also and pray for you and your sweet girls.
Love,
Alan and Amanda Jolley

Jennie said...

Ward,
I know our situations are so different and yet so similar. I understand grief, and yet I don't.
I have worried about you because I know that after the funeral is so hard. Steve and I looked at our mourning as a journey we were moving through. We couldn't deny, we couldn't hurry through it, but we had to move forward with the help of our Savior.
Please know that we still pray for you and are willing to listen if you need us to.
I'm so glad you can see the Tender Mercies God has given you.

K said...

My daughter sent me Anne's August 9th entry because she had included my book in her list. I just commented there, thanking her, not realizing that I was far too late. I have read you last entry also now, and am deeply sorry I did not have a chance to know her. I share your testimony and your quiet surety that she is, still, and that you will be together forever, bound together by a priesthood that surpasses all understanding. I'm sorry I was late. But I am glad to have known at least something of the two of you. Thank you for that beauty.

Sara and Justin said...

Dear Ward;
I hope you don't mind that I am reading your blog. Thank you so much for sharing such tender and special moments of sweet Anne's last days on this earth.
I won't pretend to know your pain or sorrow only that I know that you will be blessed beyond measure.
Truly a blessing to be able to have been with her in her final moments.
My father passed away from a brain tumor. He was sick for over a year and was able to say and do things for his children and my mother that otherwise he might not have.
We were there in the room when he gave his last breath and peacefully left this earth. Such a sweet spirit in the room. I miss him terribly, but like you, I know that I will see him again like you will see your Anne. How wonderful are blessing of the Atonement and the knowledge we have of eternal families.
You will be blessed and watched over. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your girls.
Sara Barney Urry

Amber Wong said...

I wanted to say thank you to both families and to Ward for such a wonderful, warm and welcoming funeral. I am sure Anne was smiling the whole time.

It was a pleasure to meet all of her siblings and parents as well as Ward's family. Thank you for the help finding the "Red Moose Lodge" and for inviting me to the family meal after the funeral. I saw so much of Anne in each one of you and it was truly a blessing to have been a part of that day.

Ward, I don't know how you have such kind words to say to others even during such a painful time. You are truly amazing and Anne and the girls adore you. I am so happy they have you to raise them and lead them in life. Thank you for everything and if ever you have a need we would be happy to help. Love, Amber, Cliff, Ella and Grace Wong

Crystal Dever said...

Ward... what to say. Thank you for your comments and thoughts and sharing that with us. You have been much in our prayers. She was an amazing person and we are do grateful to have known her. Thank you so much for your faith and testimony.

Brandon & Crystal

Holly said...

Ward
I can't imagine Anne being anymore pleased with something you'd write-- This is beautiful and personal and full of testimony- just the kind of post she'd leave time after time...and I know she'd apprecitate this deeply-

I've been checking your blog everyday-- not expecting an entry, just wanting a moment to linger on Anne. We love her. And we love you. Our prayers continue for you-- Roarke, mine, the children, we all pray for you...every single day.

Big hugs.

Sarah Buma said...

Among my Grandmother's final words, "Sometimes we don't get to choose." We don't get to choose the outcomes, but we choose our response. The fact that you see this as a holy time, speaks volumes to your understanding of Heavenly Father's plan. Ward, you are worthy of each other in every way--both full of grace. Our human response is a longing to embrace you, to soothe you in some way. I am grateful that a power far greater than ours is providing comfort and I pray that it continues throughout your life. I am rejoicing with grand amens that you know how to tap into this source of strength. Just like Anne and I rejoiced together when we felt the "Spirit of God" with Anne's tear-stained, smiling face, I know that fire will continue to burn. I am rejoicing because of the Creager hope, the Creager faith, and the Creager charity. Do you know what YOUR name means? Ward: A watchman, a guard. I know you will to make sure proper watchcare is extended to your girls--until you can be with Anne again, forever. We send our love!

Brodi Ashton said...

“In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

-Aeschylus

Our prayers are with you and your little girls. The funeral was lovely, and a fitting farewell for a woman so admired and loved.

Heidi and Max said...

Thank you Ward for sharing this post. I am so grateful your beautiful girls have you. Also, thank you so much for your comments after the luncheon. I have thought about the things you shared and have been comforted and lifted by those words. Thank you.

Much Love,
Heidi

Marietta said...

Dear Ward, I have been wanting to write you and tell you what a wonderful job you and everyone else did at the funeral. The spirite was so strong and I felt Anne's presence there as I'm sure you and everyone else did as well. My testimony was strengthened that day and again just now as I read your sweet words. Thanks so much for sharing that with all of us, along with your testimony. Not many people have that sweet love that you and Anne share. Yes, she was an Elect Lady but you are also just as Elect as her soul mate. Our prayers are with you always through this painfully hard time in your life. May the Lord continute to comfort you and your beautiful girls. They are sure lucky to have such a wonderful daddy!

Love,
Bart and Marietta Priest

The Henderson Family said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony, feelings and Anne's last moments here on earth. It has truly touched my heart and helped me appreciate all that the gospel and our Savior stand for in our lives. Thank you again...