I don't even know where to start. When I look at the last post I wrote a year ago with the title, "Some days are better than others" little did I know how profound those words would become.
It's hard to believe an entire year has passed and I am sitting here trying to find a way to share a little of what I feel.
Last year at this time Nick had just received his mission call. We were all so happy and thankful for the decision he made to submit his papers and accept the call to serve in the Oregon Portland Mission. We had a great time preparing for his departure and ultimately spent some time in Southern California as a family before he left for the MTC. We had a great time and enjoyed each other immensely. I can't help but think of that time with joy and sadness. So many mixed emotions. So many memories.
If I close my eyes I am there. I can hear the boys (Mike included) singing the song rapper style, "I left my wallet in El Segundo." Robbie is the driver of Scott and Angi's big "bus" van they let us borrow so we could be altogether. Of course Nick rode next to him in the front passenger seat. That is where he belonged and wanted to be. Next to Robbie exploring everything. Nick was of course in charge of the music. He was so good at it and could find something for everyone. Nick would say hilarious things to cute girls on the corner as we drove down PCH and would do the best monkey imitation ever just to amuse Jack. At times he was quiet and contemplative. I know he was thinking about what was coming up. How his mission would change him. I think he was looking forward to it and it scared him too.
When we returned home from our trip, life turned into a whirlwind. Within a few short days he was giving his farewell talk. It never sounded like a farewell talk to me. After he spoke, I turned to Mike and said it felt like that was a homecoming talk. I was so proud of him. So grateful he turned his life around and had the courage to take all the necessary steps to become worthy to serve a mission. I knew he was ready for whatever the Lord had in store for him.
He left for the MTC on July 21st. That morning as we drove him to the airport I was both sad and happy. I was going to miss him terribly. I tried so hard not to think about that. I tried to hold back my feelings as I didn't want to make it harder for him. When it was time for him to go, he wanted to go quickly. He wasn't one for long, heart wrenching goodbye's. When I go back to that day I try to remember everything. I know I can't. I'm not supposed to. We said our goodbye's he started down towards security then turned and waved. He never looked back. I never took my eyes off of him. I followed his tall lanky self and his beautiful brown wavy hair until it was no more. We waited until the plane he was on took off. I even took pictures of the plane going into the air. We drove the other two boys to the MTC but Nick didn't want that. He wanted to be home with his family, his friends and with Alex until he reported. He liked having the people he loved near him. It was a great day and a sad day because I knew that we would miss him terribly. Our hearts ached for him just like they do for any loved one when they are away but mostly we were grateful for this miracle.
We were continually worried about him and prayed day and night that things were going ok for him. He wouldn't say much in his letters. He sounded discouraged but I knew he knew he was where he needed to be. Because of that, I was certain he would be ok, but I still worried. I worried about him every day and prayed day and night that we would have the strength necessary to do what the Lord needed and required of him. I felt this way every day he was gone until the Wednesday before. The libraries were closed due to a holiday on Monday. They had their P-day on Wednesday. I was sitting at the computer when his email for the week came in. I quickly replied to it to see if he was still on the computer. He replied that he was there but wasn't doing very well. That was it. He was gone. I immediately called Mike to tell him about it. Almost 2 hours later Mike arrived home from work with the biggest grin on his face. He said, "We don't have to worry about him anymore. He is good. He is really really good." He shared with me what they talked about and how thankful he was the Mission President allowed him to call home to talk to his dad. He told me how the last thing Nick said to him was "It always helps to talk things out with you. I know what I need to do. I just needed to hear it from you too. Thanks Dad. You're my best friend." For the next few days we didn't worry. Not one little bit. Not. at. all. I was sad I didn't get to talk to him too. I wanted to hear his voice and tell him how much I loved him. That was Wednesday.
It was Saturday night we received the news that changed everything. Forever. When we received word that Nick was in the ICU and had suffered a brain aneurysm it felt like everything went into slow motion. I remember being shocked. stunned. confused. scared. scared for him. We talked with doctors and President Dyches and heard the words that no parent should ever hear. That he would not survive this. To come as soon as possible and they would do all they could. We were comforted by those that have become our Arizona Family. They helped us make necessary arrangements to get to him. Call our parents and probably the hardest of all, tell our kids. As parents we do everything we can to protect our kids and try to keep pain and sorrow out of their lives. How do we tell them this kind of news? It was the next day we called from Oregon to tell them that our Nick was gone.
For now, that is as far as I can go. I feel so blessed to know where Nick is. To know that he was happy doing the Lord's work and that he made a difference. He made a difference in all of our lives and I was glad to see that he did the same thing for the Mt. Tabor Ward in Portland, Oregon.
I've been having a hard time these past few days. Maybe it is because it is Mother's Day on Sunday and every missionary on the planet has made arrangements to call his mom. That's because Mom's need to hear from their missionaries. As much as that breaks my heart and makes me so very sad, I have to remember the beautiful thing is that I don't need a phone to hear from Nick. I know he is always close by. I have the many cards he wrote me. Most were funny with very sweet heart felt things said only the way Nick can say them. I have our memories and can hear him laughing and loving life. I hope he knows how much I love him. How proud I am of him. I know if I were to do it all again, I would probably make the same choices all over again but sometimes I wonder. Would I have been a little more patient? I little less stressed out and demanding? I know I would have hugged him longer, cooked his favorite meals more often and made sure I never held back on telling him how much I love him.
This is the poem he wrote to me in the second grade. It has been next to my bed since he gave it to me. I thought it was the cutest thing ever then and I cherish now more than ever.
(This picture was right around the time he would have written this. )
My mom is loving and nice
She is there for me when
I get sick
She helps me when
I need it the most
Her heart is soft and caring
She reminds me of a bird
singing in the trees
I smell her sweet perfume
As I give her a hug
She makes my day complete
by Nick Ferrin 1997
Monday, October 18, 2010
Nick loved like no one else. He did not judge others and because of that he was an incredible friend and successful missionary for the few short months he served. He kept things real and accepted you for who you were and where you were at. His decision to serve a mission was not an easy one and came with great sacrifice. I will always respect him for the courageous decisions he made to set his life right so he could be worthy and able to serve. I believe it was because of his courage and conviction to be at his best - in a most perfect place both physically and spiritually - that our Heavenly Father chose to take him home. I believe he has a greater work to do and had arrived at a place in mortality that would allow him to go on and be successful in that work.