Set in Stone

This past weekend we headed to Idaho for a couple reasons.
First, Miles' headstone was set.
Finally the ground has thawed enough to have it set.
So we went to the cemetery to see it.
There's a little adjustment that needs to be fixed, but otherwise we are pleased with it. 
Mark's grandmother's headstone has the Angel Moroni symbol on the top of it.
In Hawaii that's how all the LDS headstones are distinguished.
We have always liked that, so we incorporated it.
When Miles passed, Mark's sister and brother-in-law gave us a beautiful painting by Greg Olsen titled, Take My Hand
We were amazed and awe struck when we saw the picture because the little boy looks so much like Miles.
He's also wearing a shirt Miles had at the time, except in grey.
The fact that Jesus and the little boy are out in nature and looking at a squirrel was perfect.
Miles loved being out in nature.
This picture brings us such peace when we look at it.
So we incorporated the picture on the headstone.

I can't say that it was good to have the headstone in place.
It truly was a bittersweet thing.
Of course it's nice to have something beautiful with his name on it at his gravesite.
However, having his name, birth and death date etched in stone for all to see is a hard thing.
It makes our reality that much more real.
The fact that my son is no longer on this Earth is a very difficult thing to deal with, let alone having something to visually look at and tell me and others that it's true is hard. 
It's nice to have the headstone completed and set.
However, it's a difficult and complicated matter for me.

I find being at the cemetery in general is a complicated thing for me.
It's four hours away from us, so we don't get to go there too often.
When there it's beyond difficult for me to stand there, knowing that my sons body, the one thing I want most in this world to hold, is so close yet unreachable.
I ache to hold him again. To kiss him. To snuggle him.
I know one day, if I hold true and prove myself worthy, I will do all those things again with him.
It's just so hard to wait.

We also went to Idaho to visit my grandpa.
He's very ill.
I'm afraid he isn't going to be around in this mortal world much longer.
Seeing him, being with him and talking with him was wonderful.
Vivian is enamored by Papa Great.
She thinks he's so cute, and speaks of him daily.
She even calls him a couple times a week.

I have such a new perspective on death.
But regardless of that new perspective it's hard to let go of him.
I know he aches, for my grandmother, just as I do for Miles.
I'm so happy for him that he will soon be with her again.
It's made me ponder lately. Is it better to know someone is leaving this world soon, being able to spend as much time as you can with them? Making the most of each moment you have. Telling them things you want them to know. But having to watch the slow process of death take your loved one away.
Or is it easier to not know they are leaving you, and be completely overtaken by grief, shock and maybe even in denial?
I've concluded that both are difficult.
You never truly are prepared for either one.
A loss is a loss, and each loss hurts deeply.

While there I had some quiet time alone with my sweet grandpa.
We spoke about Grandma and Miles.
I know they are together, I have felt it.
I told my grandpa a couple things I wanted him to tell Miles for me.
Things I would rather not share with others.
But I also asked him to give Miles a big hug and kiss for me and tell him just how much I love him and miss him.
I know he will pass the messages on.
I also know that grandpa will look over Miles along with grandma.
He told me he would.
I take great comfort in that.

I'm so glad we made the trip.
It was worth every minute.
 We will be returning often in the next little bit.


  1. Truly a beautiful post, and a difficult image to see. We miss Miles and appreciate all that you share. Prayers and love to you all.

  2. The headstone is simply beautiful! I can only imagine the bittersweet feelings you have about it. It is so comforting to know that this life is only a temporary state even though it feels like much longer with our mortal minds.
    My thoughts and love go to you and your sweet family.

  3. The headstone turned out beautifully perfect Andrae!! I love it. How sweet to be able to visit with your grandpa and say all you want to say. What a blessing to be able to give him messages to take to Miles. While I'm sure its hard to say goodbye to your grandpa, he will be able to give Miles those messages soon! Love you guys!!

  4. I am best friends with Marks sister Mandy, and I read your blog often. I just want to express my deepest sympathy for the pain you are feeling, and for the loss of your sweet Miles. You can tell you loved him with all of your heart, and how hard it is to be without him each day. He is such a beautiful little boy, and his headstone turned out beautiful. We pray you will find some peace and comfort each day. The only comfort in a time like this is having the gospel, and the tender mercies the Lord gives us during difficult times.
    Thoughts and prayers
    Ashley and Cody Nielson

  5. You don't know me but I am best friends with Mandy, and I grew up in Evanston with the Kelly family. I have followed your blog since you lost your sweet Miles, and I just want you to know my heart breaks for you as a mother. You can tell you and Mark loved Miles more than anything, and you are such wonderful parents and examples to so many. I'm so sorry for your loss of your handsome little boy, and the pain that you are going through. I pray for some sort of peace and comfort each day, and I pray you will receive small tender mercies to allow you to move forward. His headstone is beautiful, and I love the angel Moroni at the top.