Sierra's View: October 2011

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Sunday, October 30, 2011


I am going to be brutally honest right now.
I try my hardest to not have angry, emotional, irrational posts (no, I only do that in person).
But right now, I have a lot of things that I need to get out. 
And I feel like I need to explain some more life lessons that have been learned and some life lessons that others need to learn, despite my less than tactful manner. 

It has been a HARD weekend. There is no other way to put it.
Coming home was the best decision. It is, actually, the first time me and all of my siblings have been together for a year and a half. I have been lucky enough to be given a wonderful family who supports one another when each other are facing hardships. This weekend has been another testament that this awful trial has happened to my sister, my family, because the Lord knows of our ability to be strong. We are strong, huh? Go Ainge's!

Holland's funeral was beautiful. I did okay in the beginning. In the viewing, I was able to hold it together for the first little while. Then, after moments of fighting, I lost it. I cried so much that I think my body was unable to cry any more later that day. She was so loved by so many good people. There were some absolutely incredible moments that are too sacred, too special, to share here. I was reminded of how lucky I am to contain the knowledge that families are forever, that the Atonement encompasses the entire roller coaster of emotions that we are all feeling, and that there is, in fact, an after life. 

Yesterday I was given an massage by my aunt Sharyl (Ya Ya, you are amazing) and moments after the massage...I broke down. Now, don't get me wrong, I have broken down multiple times since last week. But, this time was different. I shut down (the psychology of touch is so apparent, let me tell you) emotionally, physically, and mentally. I became upset. And angry. And just plain sad. 

Now, before I continue on, I need to preface some things. I do not want you to think that I am being selfish. I came home for my sister, to support her, and to strengthen each other. I do not want you to think that I am only thinking of me and my selfish desires and experiences. I just need to get this out. 

This entire week has been about motherhood. It's entire focus has been about the joys (and hardships) of motherhood. Now, I can certainly sympathize with this experience, but I am unable to empathize with my sisters as they are going through these experiences.
And once again, I am left out of the equation.
I have always felt this way in my family and I think this weekend was the first time I finally, honestly, realized it. 
I feel left out.
It sounds so juvenile, I know. But as I sit there and watch all of my sisters cry with one another and communicate with one another, I am completely left out of the situation. I am unable to help Lexie in the same way that Mckenna is. And that hurts. A lot.  I constantly am aching for my sister. And I hope she knows that I wish more than anything I could take the pain from her. Even though I feel inadequate to help her, I just try to support. 
And that is part of the problem. I feel helpless. 
 I am (or feel) completely unable to be there in the same way that my sisters are.  
I am always the "baby sister." And I always will be. When will I ever stop being the baby sister?
I feel out of the place; I don't belong. 
This weekend has been intense. 
I am a wreck. 
And as I watch my sisters, I am reminded of how lonely this grieving process has been for me. I am reminded of how lonely this stage of my life really is. 

I just had an experience earlier this day that solidifies the above statement . I texted multiple people asking them if they could pick me up from the airport. People, who specifically have contacted me saying, "If you need anything, I am here." Guess who responded with a "yes." One. One person. And it was because she could sense my desperation (Allie, you are simply amazing. Seriously). And you want to know what's even more sad? Their responses all included things like, "I have a dance. I have a party. I have homework."
Now, do not get me wrong, I understand that it is Halloween night. 
But, really? 
This lack of loyalty is exactly what I mean. 
I have learned to only put up my guard because if people are only going to give me the surface; then I am going to give them just the surface back. 

It makes me wonder when people say the words anything or anytime. 
Really, people need to change that statement to: If you need anything, and it's convenient for me, then I'll do it.
I don't have a buddy. I don't feel like I have many people who, when push comes to shove, will be available when I am in dire need. 
And whether that sounds selfish or shallow, it is how I feel. 
(Note: There ARE people who are there. They just all happen to be in Oregon. Ha)

The grieving process, in general, is a lonely process.
And I know all of these emotions are stemming from that particular process.
It brings out emotions, feelings that are so deep, they slowly creep out whether we want them to or not.
But right now, I am so exhausted, the emotions are only heightened. 

A part of me wants to relate back to my expectations post because this process is something that I need to go through by myself. I cannot expect others to live up to my expectations right now. 
Because, the reality is, people do not know what to do. They are unable to do things just the way that I may want or particularly need. 
This is something that I need to do on my own time and in my own way. 
It's amazing what death can do to a person. 
It can make or break them. 
And I know I am strong enough to get past all of this negative emotion to ultimately help others in a positive way.

But the brutal life lesson I have learned is this:  life really is a personal journey.
Our relationship with the Savior is a personal one.
Our difficult experiences are happened alone.
And we, as humans, need to learn to deal with these experiences on our own.
Because the only way we ever grow, is if were go through it individually.
Just as this entire grieving process is another experience I need to go through on my own.
"We're born alone. We live alone. We die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone." -Orson Welles.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Holland's Video

Here is the slideshow that was played at my niece's funeral this past weekend. 

The service was beautiful. 
It brought so much peace to me. 
I will write more later when I have more energy. 
Home is exactly where I needed to be this weekend. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holland Kay.

I am going to try to make it through this without crying.

My dear niece, Holland Kay Cottle, passed away Saturday morning from SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
She was two months old.

My sister, Lexie, happened to be visiting her in laws in Utah when it happened, so I was given the opportunity to be with her this weekend.
I have not cried this hard in a long time.
Death seems to be a constant occurrence in my life currently, huh?
It is in times like these that I am at a loss for words. Words cannot seem to convey the heartache, tears, and emotional distress during these kinds of experiences.
However, it is also in times like these where I am SO grateful for the plan of salvation and that I will be able to see that girl again someday.

That little girl was so special. So special, in fact, that she only needed to come to this earth for two months just to get a body. And the Savior trusted my beautiful, strong sister to fulfill that role.

Holland's delivery, in itself, was a spiritual experience. I felt a special connection and bond because I was in the delivery room with her. I knew there was something special about her the day she was born. My connection with her will continue--I can already feel her around me, guiding me to make better decisions. She will guide each of us, in my family, to be better people so we can make it back to her.
I ache for my sister. I wish, more than anything, that I could take her pain away.
Despite the agony, I am so grateful for the Atonement. How lucky I am to have that knowledge that the Lord knows how my sister is feeling, how my parents and the rest of my family are feeling, and how I am feeling. I am so thankful for the power of this gospel. I ache so much for my sister and for death in general. But I know that this will make me and my family stronger. The Lord knows of my sister's strength. He is aware of everything that is going on.
One of the most wonderful doctrines of Christ is that little infants are received into God’s presence immediately. They become angels to God, comforting us that mourn and will receive their exaltation in due time with us. It amazes me how much we begin to understand life as we begin to experience death.

“Death…evokes pangs of sorrow and shock among those left behind.  The hurt is real.  Only its intensity varies… Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love.  It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.”  (D&C 42:45)…The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.”
Death has a funny way of bringing those you love closer together. It unites families and allows them to strengthen their own relationships.
Death, also, brings out emotions that I never knew existed. My body is existed. I feel like I weigh 500 pounds. One minute I am doing okay and the next, I feel like I am going to fall apart.
Amidst the trial, I am so lucky to have met that perfect little girl and hold her the whole night before.

“I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us. … The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again."

Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and support you have all given to me and my family, particularly Lexie and Nick, during this difficult time. We can definitely feel your strength and prayers. I am so grateful for the knowledge of this gospel and to know that Holland is in such a wonderful place. We love and miss her so much. I am so grateful for the knowledge of eternal families.
Lexie and Nick, I love you so much. You are amazing people.
Holland, look out for us down here, okay? You are our perfect angel. Say hello to Meme, Grandma Kay, Kendall, and Mary Lou for us. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Where Have All the Good Men Gone?

This post might make some of you angry. 
In fact, probably about 50% of the world's population.
But I have a bone to pick with a certain type of person: 
We love 'em. We hate 'em. We hate to love them, we love to hate them. 
I encountered a couple of experiences the otherthat I would like to explain in as minimal amount of detail possible. 
("Quick and Dirty" as the Ainge clan says. Okay well mostly just Lexie and I).
I was in the the computer lab on campus today and I saw a girl walking. She was a little heavyset, not the most attractive female out there (yes, I said it). She accidentally dropped all of her papers onto the sidewalk. I instinctively wanted to get up and help her, but by the time I would have reached her, she would have been done. But a guy, who was pretty good looking, was walking by. There weren't a ton of people around. He glanced up at this girl and then instantly looked down at his phone and continued texting. He stood there; right in the midst of her and just stared at his stupid cellular device. He refused to help her pick up her pieces of paper. She looked up at him, shook her head, and walked away. It made me sick to my stomach.
Moments later, as I was walking out the door a guy refused to open the door for me. I was behind him and he slammed the door right on me. Normally, I wouldn't have been bothered by this minuscule act, but after noticing the particular experience before hand, I was already a little irked.

I don't get it. Really, I do not get it.
I can't even tell you how many dates I have been on that my date does not open the door for me.
I can't even tell you how many instances I have seen a guy treat the girl he is dating with immense disrespect.
It just makes me sad.
These experiences have recently had me intrigued with the thought of "good guys."
I don't know if I have really high expectations (oh wait, that is part of the problem), but it's those little things that determine what kind of person that man is. Chivalry is not dead. 

My personal  idea of "Manliness" is defined very differently. Do not get me wrong, I am all about a man who takes care of himself physically. But I have been deciding what particular aspects truly make a man. 
And some of the main aspects are these: the divine roles of men. (D&C 121) 
They are to:
Preside: So often we think of presiding as being a dictator or the "ruler of the house" but that is not so. To Preside, means to just be a natural leader. To oversee that things are going okay.
Provide:  It is extremely important for a man to be willing to provide financially for his family. It is imperative that this aspect is a must in his every day life. 
Protect: I think this comes naturally to most males. In fact, this one may be a little overkill (no pun intended). Shall we move on?
And lastly, to be a Partner. Relationships (marriage)  is a partnership; the couple are EQUALS. The male is not the only one in control. Nor should he believe he is. My parents did a very good job at this growing up. I never felt as though my father ruled over my mother, or vice versa. I think they did a very good job of making decisions together and being equals. 

And that is all I have to say about this topic. For now.

P.S. "The greatest thing a man can do for his children is love their mother."

Forgive the pessimistic, cynical connotation to this post. Feminist Sierra has decided to kick in. And I may or may not be a little over dramatic with the title. I know there are so many quality guys out there. The severe negative minority tend to outweigh the positive ones. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Til We Meet Again.

This has been an emotional weekend.
My good friend (whom I met in beloved LDC), Ryan Tauiliili, passed away in a car accident early Saturday morning.
My friend, Rachel, writes perfectly some of the wonderful things about him that we all remember. 
He got into a car with a drunk driver. They hit a median. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt. He died on the scene.
When I first heard this information, I sat on my bed in silence for about an hour. 
I didn't react.
I didn't cry. 
I was in shock. It didn't seem real. 
I haven't seen Ryan in quite some time, so it was almost as if the whole thing didn't happen. 
It is amazing to me that in the matter of one day all of the stages of grief were experienced.
Shock, Anger, Guilt, Sadness, Laughter. All of it. 
A couple of hours later, I started to feel angry. I was angry at him for making that decision to get in that car. it is amazing that one decision, one silly decision, affects everyone and everything. It is a testament that there are, in fact, consequences for your actions. 
I was mad at myself for not reaching out to him more and making more of an effort with him. I wish I had been there for him more. 
Some of my dear friends got together eventually to reminisce about Ryan (Love you Lauren, Allie, Rachel, Paul, Adam, and Jenny.) I love my friends. Their strength, example, and amazing hearts have made this entire process for each one of us easier. 
We went from watching movies of him (talent show anyone?) to sitting there laughing at his ridiculous comments. "You little...", IPTA, leg fart.  His crazy quotes will forever live on. One particular video of him and Paul singing "Brothers" had me sitting there sobbing. We would go from constant tears to uncontrollable laughter. Last night was perfect. 
He had such a distinct personality. Half the time I wanted to drop kick the kid. We had such a love/hate relationship. It was hilarious. It is a testament to me that we come to this earth with such special personalities. He was, by no means, perfect. He made a lot of mistakes. But Ryan had a special way to bring people together. 
Ry, I know you are up there eating your little heart out. And playing volleyball. And making sure everyone is sitting there listening to you sing. 
Death is weird.
Sounds like such a childish word to use, but it's the only one I can think of to accurately portray my feelings currently.
It's weird to think that I can't text him at any moment. 
But I am so grateful for my church, and the knowledge that I have that I will see him again. 
That death is not the end of our lives, but it is only the beginning. 

A little text message Ryan sent a few months ago: 
Ryan: Dear Fans, it's been made to me there are contentions and rumors of war in choir amongst children of men. Please prepare for my visit to correct all.
Me: Really? It's been a year, Ryan. GIVE IT UP.
Ryan: Sisi it's been over a year since I met you and you're still a debbie-downer, give it up already ;) love you.

Oh, that kid.  
 "Come home, the Father calls, Come home, my child, to me. Come home, loved voices call. Come home, where you belong." LDC song fits perfectly right now. 

A video of him and his beautiful voice. This video makes me cry.

As Lauren would say: This is EXACTLY what he would want. All of us sitting here, talking about Ryan in all positive terms. This is his dream come true. You're welcome, Ry. Miss you. Til We Meet Again.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pinned Image

Well, I'm a terrible person.
I cry and complain when I lose my luggage.
I don't deal with tangled Christmas lights on a regular basis, so I can't really say anything about that. 
And as for rain: that's a negative, ghost rider. 
All you Utahns (love you guys, don't worry), keep claiming to "absolutely love" the rain.
They clearly were not raised in Oregon.
I love the sunshine.
However, I want you to know that I do love the rain for about a day. It makes me feel cozy and I get to feel a little glimpse of home. And falling asleep to rain is the best sound in the world. (see, I'm being positive).
I just do not like COLD rain. And those silly clouds. And not this early. 
I am so very happy. SO happy. I have nothing else to complain about.
(isn't it funny that so much of humans' lives are dictated by weather? I would venture to say that about 50% of people's Facebook status are about the weather in Utah. Funny, huh? How lucky are we if all we have to complain about is some silly weather?!) 
That is all. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thoughts, Dreams, and Kenya.

I had a dream that I was packing to go back to Kenya.
I woke up this morning ecstatic. 
It made this school year seem a little more bearable. I had something to look forward to.
Then I realized that this, in fact, was just a dream.
And I was already 10 minutes late to class.
Why can't dreams be reality?
I have recently been thinking about all the lessons I learned while in Kenya.
About myself, about other people, about life in general.
Similar situations have been occurring in my life currently and I have been trying to pull the schema learned in that experience (thank you Educational Psychology. See mom, I AM learning something).
I had many wake up calls while while volunteering and teaching there. 
I miss it. I miss the brutal reality that I learned.
I learned how to treat people. 
I realized that there are always going to be people who function, act, and deal with conflict differently than you.
And I learned that they still deserve to be treated well. 
I find myself getting frustrated with people I see on a day to day basis.
And I am trying to open my heart. 
But let me tell you, it is very difficult. 
I want to go do something similar this next summer SO BAD.
 But, I don't thing it is in the cards for me. 
Want to know something silly, perhaps, idealistic?
I want to go somewhere every single year for the rest of my life and do service. 
I want to live with the people. I want to struggle with them.
Because I love places that make my problems seem so insignificant.  
Again, someday.