I started seriously looking into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at the beginning of 2011. As I said, Spencer really wasn't doing well and we were worried that the possibility of transplant was going to come up rather quickly. I was scared beyond belief of losing him because I saw him decline so fast. I had always been interested in the Mormon church and after talking to my wonderful friend, Christine, who is also a convert and is VERY similar to myself, I decided to take a trip to temple square with her one day while Spence was in the hospital. I had some amazing feelings while we were there.... I knew that I really wanted to look into it much deeper. So Christine so kindly helped me get set up with some missionaries from her ward and I started having a couple of lessons at her house. I was a little sad Spencer couldn't be part of these lessons - I was learning so much and I was so excited about it, but it was hard for him and I to share the same level of excitement and have the same discussions about the lessons because he wasn't there. So we met in Spencer's hospital room a couple of times as well. Spencer and I had some very spiritual moments in his hospital room during the evenings as we would read the scriptures together, listen to hymns. We would stay up until the wee hours of the morning, me just asking him questions. Man he was the BEST person to answer any question I needed. What a great missionary he was. <3
After he was discharged from the hospital I met some missionaries from Spencer's ward in Bountiful - The Mercers. What an absolutely lovely couple with such a strong spiritual connection. Even after we moved to Layton - they came to give me lessons every week and Spencer and I called upon them several times for blessings and questions that we had. They taught me so, so much - never pushing. I am not one to ask many questions, and they respected that, they let me lead, mostly just teaching me. Spencer would chime in so many times, giving his way of helping me to understand. Those moments were so special to me and I cherish them all so deeply.
My favorite memory from the whole day, and I have so many, was the way he looked at me the very first time he saw me. We did our "first look" photos before the ceremony so that we could spread things out so that Spencer wouldn't get sick and feel run down. So we cheated a little and saw each other a bit prematurely. =) I am so glad we did. The moment was so private, just our moment to share. I walked out of the church for the first time and covered up Spencer's eyes. He was so ANXIOUS to turn around and see me... But I will NEVER forget his look. The way he looked at me said it all. His eyes just lit up and you could read every expression on his face. He could not remove the smile... his smile said it all too. I was, and still am so deeply in love with him, even more so than the day I promised to be with him, no matter what. I was the happiest girl in the world on that day.
We chose to write our own vows - I thought it would be easy for me, and difficult for Spencer. BOY WAS I WRONG! Spencer typed his own in 10-15 minutes flat about 5 days before our wedding day. Me, on the other hand, spent HOURS and HOURS trying to write them out. I didn't get them done until 1:00AM the night before our wedding day. Holy cow. I don't believe I've ever shared our wedding vows - so here they are, a great reminder of the promises we made to each others. Words I'm going to cherish forever.
Spencer had a really hard time with his dad's death, though I thought he handled it very well. Spence and his dad had recently started becoming very close ever since Mark found out he had cancer. They would spend long amounts of time on the phone talking and discussing various things. Spencer and I tried to visit Laurel and his dad as much as his health would let him. Spencer also started becoming much closer to Heavenly Father, and Mark was the source of that. He would always call his dad up to ask about scripture references and long discussions about the Lord. Mark's death was so hard on Spencer in that way. Rest in peace, dad. I am so happy that I was able to call you my father. I wish I would have gotten to know you better and to have spent more time with you. The relationship that you and Spencer built made me want you to be a big part in my life. I wanted to look up to you for Spiritual guidance just like Spencer did. Spence looked up to you. You are greatly missed.
I love this above picture of us. The last picture we took together. He was actually happy. He was working SO hard to get better. To get off that vent and to GET HOME. We had long term goals the whole stay. Be home for Halloween, Be home for Thanksgiving... And then to be home for Christmas. Unfortunately that didn't happen. We didn't even get a Christmas together as a newly wed couple.
I learned so much about myself during those 3 months in the hospital. I learned so much about our relationship as well. We were meant to be together. I believe we really were soul mates. We made it through the hardest thing all in one piece. How special our relationship was. It was such an HONOR and a PRIVILEGE to be able to care for Spencer through our relationship. To be his girlfriend, fiance, and wife. To be able to help him. to love him unconditionally and so deeply. Such an honor to be able to care for him in his last days of life. I wouldn't have it ANY other way.
I am in love with the above picture of Spencer. It was one of his last days with us here on Earth. He loved that sock monkey that was made for him. He was barely able to open his eyes up, he was SO weak. But yet when I asked him to smile for a picture - he did. He smiled until the very end. Until the very last moment he was able. What a precious soul.
Breathe Easy, Spencer.... <3
As I said - this year has been crazy.... but despite everything.... I am still alive. I'm here. I'm as happy as I could be under the circumstances I am under. I have a passion for life that I have never had before. I have new aspirations and dreams because of this year. I am thankful for everything that has happened to me... Granted I am deeply saddened and hurt that my best friend is in Heaven now, but what I learned through our relationship together is worth more than anything in this world.