That We Might Have Joy: Marion's Story
On August 21, 1986, a beautiful little girl was born to me and my husband Rick. She was our 2nd child, and her pregnancy was unexpected. My older daughter Cynthia was only 4 months old, when I realized I was pregnant again. We were students at BYU, and I had actually dropped out for the semester to stay home with Cynthia. After the semester ended, my husband decided that having 2 children so close together was going to be difficult to let him stay in school full time and provide for our small family, so he went into the Army Reserves to have help in paying for school. I was scared. I didn't want him to leave us because of having a new baby and expecting another. When he enlisted, I learned that he would be gone to boot camp for 7 weeks and then would go off to train in officer school because of his education, which would take an additional 6 weeks. But at that point, he seemed determined to do this, so I said a tearful goodbye, and our contact was a weekly phone call.
I was extremely worried about this pregnancy because our first child had been born 10 weeks early. I was told at that time I had an incompetent cervix. The pregnancy seemed to progress normally. At first, I will admit I was so stressed and worried about our financial and living situation that I found myself almost wishing that I would miscarry. Then I would feel extremely guilty for having such selfish thoughts. When I got to about 16 weeks along, I realized that this was really going to happen. I know a lot of my anxiety came with just being alone in our little studio apartment with pretty much no friends to confide in. In fact, our next door neighbors were Hugh and Phyllis Nibley. Hugh was, of course, a big time lecturer at BYU and used to be historian for the LDS church. And Phyllis was a very accomplished cellist. They were definitely not people I wanted to hang out with or confide in.
Our small apartment was actually an old house that was converted into a four-plex. After a couple months of being alone, a cute couple moved into the apartment above ours, and we became great friends. We actually met, because our mail would get mixed up all the time. Their last name was Huntington, and ours was Hunting. I was quite naive about prenatal care, and having no money, I didn't go in to see a doctor until I was about 5 months along. I remember going in to see Dr. Jeff Adams. He did a pelvic exam and all of the sudden his eyes went big and wide. I asked him what was wrong. He said, "I'll be honest with you. You are dilated to a 5. But you haven't effaced yet. I'm amazed you have made it this far into the pregnancy without having this baby yet." I was ordered to go on strict bedrest, he prescribed some medication, and gave me a monitor belt to wear that would alert his office if I started contracting. He honestly thought he would be delivering a preemie. Well, I didn't tell him I had a 7 month old baby at home and that we were it. There was no one to care for me or my daughter, so the bedrest thing went out the window. But I did take the medication, and I wore the monitor belt.
I went for 3 more months thinking every morning I would wake up and deliver this baby early. But time went by, my husband made it home from his training in the Army, and before I knew it, I made it to 37 weeks. Dr. Adams kept telling me every visit that I was a walking miracle. At 37 weeks, he took me off of the medication to help stop contractions and the monitor belt was given back to him. I laughingly told him that I would probably be in the hospital the next day having my baby. He said, "I don't think it will start that soon, you still haven't effaced much yet." 2 days went by and then I started contracting and knew we would be having our second little girl soon.
On August 21st, a perfect little girl was born. The nurses raved about her, telling me she was the top of her APGAR score. Our pediatrician came in and told me how delighted he was in this perfect baby. Everyone kept using that word, "perfect". On the day of discharge, Dr. Clayton, our pediatrician, came in for one final look before we left and again called her a perfect angel. I said, "Oh, I'm sure you say that to all the parents." He was really a very kind, gentle man. He said, "You know, I'm always complimentary to parents about their babies. But really, your daughter is physically as perfect as they come." Then he proceeded to explain the APGAR score and told me more why she was rated a "perfect" baby. I was, of course, proud that I had given birth to this beautiful girl.
We still hadn't decided on a name yet for this baby. My husband and I couldn't come to an agreement. We finally decided on Rachel Hope Hunting. Since I was 13 years old, I used to watch a soap opera called "Days of Our Lives," and there was an actress whose name was Hope on the show. I fell in love with that name. I wanted our daughter's first name to be Hope, but Rick was so against it. We decided on Rachel, and he said he didn't mind if her middle name was Hope. So I started life with 2 babies, one 13 month old and a newborn. My husband went back to school at BYU and life, even though a little hectic, began for me as a busy mom. Well time went by, and we still were struggling financially. Rick's education was paid for, but we still had bills to pay and a family to feed. I was only able to nurse my infant for about 6 weeks when my milk suddenly stopped. I have no idea why. So it was decided that my husband would do early morning janitor work at BYU from 4:30 -7:30, he took out a student loan to help us with some bills, and I went to work on a swing shift at a nursing home as an aide. My husband was done with his classes by early afternoon so we would have about 1 1/2 hours together until I went to work. My shift ended at 11:30 at night and I would go home and just collapse. We did this for several months.
I noticed, however, that my husband started getting really moody. I asked him what was wrong. He said it was too hard to take care of the girls and get his studying done. This man was a perfectionist and would not settle for any grade less than an A. His engineering class was quite competitive and I knew he was feeling that pressure as well. I encouraged him that we would have to do this for a year and a half more until he had finished his degree, that this trial would be a short time in comparison to the rest of our lives. He would be okay for a day or two and then the moodiness and would come back. I also noticed that Rachel wouldn't take a bottle from him anymore and that he was a little rough with her at times.
One night, I was at work, and I got a phone call from him. He said that he was worried about Rachel, that he had been watching a football game, and that he had jumped up from the chair in a reaction to a play and landed on her arm. He wanted to bring her to me at work and have the nurse I worked with look at her. The nurse I worked with was a really sharp little gal. She was my age and was working on her RN degree. She was an LPN. Her father was also a pediatrician, and she said she got to work in his office as a teenager, so she knew a little more about medicine than most nurses. When Rick brought her in, Rachel's right arm was swollen at the shoulder, and she wouldn't move it. The nurse said the joint was okay but was probably almost dislocated. She told my husband to be more careful around our girls when watching his sports and told me to bring her into the doctor if her arm didn't improve in a couple days. After the next day, she started moving around as normal, crawling and swinging along like normal so I didn't think much more about what had happened.
Then on April 3rd, 1987, I went to work like I normally did. I had a quiet shift. When my relief came in at 11:30, I stayed to talk with the night aide whose name was Rose. We talked for about 30 minutes, which was something I never did. Once Rose came on, I usually took right off. I was always anxious to get home, check on my babies, and go to bed. But that night, I stayed. That decision to stay and talk I have regretted the rest of my life.
I got home shortly after midnight and found all the lights on in our house, and my husband holding a lifeless infant. I asked him what had happened. He said he was feeding her, when she threw up, and he thought she had aspirated. I didn't pay much attention to him, and I could tell by the way she was breathing that this was an emergency. So we called our upstairs neighbor who thank heavens was still up. I asked them to keep a watch on Cynthia and explained quickly that we had to take Rachel to the hospital. We fortunately only lived about 5 blocks from the hospital, so we got there quickly, and for the next several hours, the staff worked on our little baby trying to revive her. I told them what my husband had said, that he was feeding her, and she aspirated. She went off to CT scans and other tests. For about 3 hours, I knew nothing that was going on. We waited and waited in the ER. I was starting to feel like I was going to go crazy, because no one would tell us what was going on.
Finally, the nurse who was initially assigned to take care of her told us we needed to leave the room. He looked at us with a strange indifference and almost angry attitude. I asked him what was wrong, and why would no one tell us what was happening. He said the doctor would be in to see us soon, and then he turned around and said, "If you had told us the truth, your baby probably wouldn't be in this condition." I looked at him and wondered what in the heck he meant by that. Then, the pediatrician on-call came in and asked us both a couple questions, and when he learned that my husband was alone with Rachel when this happened, he took him in a separate room and started to question him. They were gone for over an hour. I was agonizing over Rachel. I had no idea where she was, and I was worried about Cynthia being with my neighbors, I knew they would be needing to go to work soon. So I asked at the nurses station where my husband and doctor were. I walked in on them having a very serious conversation. I told the doctor that I needed to know what was going on too. He told me where Rachel was, that they had admitted her to the intensive care unit on Pediatrics. He said he needed a few more minutes with my husband and then he would take us up to where Rachel was. He also seemed detached and aloof. At first I blamed it on him being up all night, but later realized there was a reason why he was treating us so cooly. Finally, they came out of the room. Rick looked pale and very sad.
We went up the the intensive care unit and there my 7 month old was laying unresponsive in a crib. She had a ventilator hooked up to her to do her breathing. Her head was also very swollen. She didn't look like her normal self. I asked the doctor to explain what was going on, and he very candidly told me. As I heard him speak, I remember feeling almost detached from my body. He said that Rachel had been shaken severely and that she had a severe head trauma. He said, at that point, they didn't know if she had brain damage or not. He said, at that point, they didn't know if she was going to live or die. I disagreed and told him, "No, that's not what happened." The doctor looked at Rick and said he had some phone calls to make and that he needed to tell me what really happened. I felt like a stranger was talking to me.
My husband told me that he had an exam that he was trying to study for. He said that Rachel kept crying. He said he would try to feed her, and she wouldn't eat. He said he tried a bottle, and she wouldn't take that. He checked her diaper, it was dry. He said she continued to cry, and he couldn't take it anymore, so he shook her. He said after he shook her that she went limp and wouldn't respond. To this day, I still remember the horror and utter shock and grief I felt at that moment, as I pictured my tiny daughter being treated this way by her own father. I remember the few times I caught him being rough with her in the past couple months and warning him that he needed to be more gentle. I also knew he wasn't a cruel person, that his anxiety over school had taken such a top priority that he was feeling helpless that he couldn't study the way he wanted to. Everything crashed down on me.
I went home feeling so helpless, so very confused, so empty. I picked up Cynthia, explained briefly about Rachel's condition to my neighbors, and they patted me on the back and wished us well. I went back to the hospital later that day after sleeping a little. Rachel's pediatrician, Dr. Clayton, came in to see her. He was so sad. His countenance was fallen. He said, at that point, there was no change. It was a "wait and see" time. I went home and took care of Cynthia, feeling so lethargic. I went in again in the morning. By this time, we had alerted our families where Rachel was, but we were both reluctant to say why she was in the hospital. I think I told my parents that she was dropped or something. I was in such a fog that I honestly don't remember what I told them.
By day 2, she improved some, and Dr. Clayton was hopeful. He said her brain activity was better, she was responding to tests they were doing, and he said, "I think this little girl may pull out of what happened." I went home finally feeling some hope, a lot of relief, and just thought of the day we could bring her home. Rick went to his classes. We went for a short visit as a family to see Rachel. We stayed only for about 30 minutes. She was still improving. We went to bed, the first time we had gone to bed at a normal time. Then a few short hours later, around 3 in the morning, someone was banging on our door. Rick got up, and it was a nurse who was going off her shift. She said that the hospital had been trying to call us, that our baby had taken a sudden turn for the worse and that we needed to get there right away.
Again, we woke our neighbors asking them to watch Cynthia as we hurried to the hospital. I couldn't believe what was happening. I kept saying to Rick, "Why didn't our phone ring?" He admitted to me that he had turned off our ringer so that we could rest. Family and friends had been calling almost non-stop when they heard about Rachel. He had forgotten to turn it back on before we went to bed. He later admitted to me, way down the road that he had also turned off the ringer, because he was afraid that the police would try to call him and ask him questions. He wasn't ready to answer the questions. The guilt of what he had done was eating at him intensely. We got to the hospital, and they said that Rachel had probably stroked and that the crisis was over, but that she wasn't responding at all now. The swelling in her head was getting bigger. The doctors were still deciding what to do. We stayed a few hours and then went back home. I was in shock again. I went back later in the morning and a nurse was very candid with me. She said she had never seen a baby regain a normal life after this type of accident happened. I asked what she meant.
Back then, shaken baby syndrome didn't really have a name. The nurse said that most likely Rachel would die, she just didn't know when. Rick came in at the end part of this discussion. Then a different nurse called in a psychiatrist to talk with us. A very well meaning Dr. Altamarino had a lot of compassion for Rick and put him on Ativan. It knocked him out. He had to sleep it off in the nurses lounge for almost 6 hours. He woke up, saw that things hadn't changed with Rachel, and asked for another dose of Ativan. The physician okayed it, he took it, and again was asleep for a very long time. In fact, I left him there, because we still had another little girl dependent on us. When I came back to the hospital late in the evening, Rick had woken up. He was still in a stupor and demanded another dose of Ativan. I told the doctor no more. Rick got really angry at me and said he needed this to help deal with what was happening. I told him that sleeping through it all wasn't going to help anything and that I needed a husband to help me through this and to quit trying to run from what he had done.
He never took another dose of Ativan after that. Dr. Clayton said the would play it day-by-day. Finally after Rachel was in the hospital for 5 days, the medical team decided that they would run some final tests on Rachel's brain. If she continued to be unresponsive in any way, they needed to consider turning off her ventilator and let her go. It was the worse news I have ever received in my life. I walked home so angry and bitter towards my Heavenly Father. I mean I was ANGRY. I went home, luckily Cynthia was with a lady in our ward who had a daughter her age. There was no one home. The anger took over in such a violent way. I trashed my house. I tipped over furniture, I swore, I yelled at Heavenly Father, I screamed, I cried and cried. How could he take away my daughter like this? And then the memories of when I was first pregnant with her came rushing back. I was being punished for wishing I would miscarry. I was certain of it. The anger continued. And then after about 45 minutes of carrying on this horrible tantrum, I changed my tactics. I prayed and prayed to Heavenly Father. I told Him how sorry I was for my behavior. I made a deal with him. Please save my baby and I would raise her up to be the best person. I would always take her to church and make sure she was a "perfect" girl. It was weird how the perfect word came up again.
I pleaded and I begged for her life to be made right. I went back to the hospital feeling much hope and thought that everything would change, that people would be seeing a miracle because of my prayer. When I arrived at the hospital I was informed that the next day the medical team would perform one last series of tests. If Rachel remained unresponsive, then the machines would all be turned off. I knew that she would prove these people all wrong, I still had faith that this ugly nightmare would turn into a miracle story. Our bishop came. What a wonderful man he was. He was young, only 30 years old. He was so compassionate. He came with his 1st counselor, and they administered a blessing to Rachel. Our Bishop said she would become a mother in Israel and that she would soon be free from this pain. I took the blessing as to mean that she would escape from this unscathed and that things would be alright. It wasn't until almost 10 years later while reflecting on this whole incident that I realized that our Bishop was actually giving a blessing of release.
We went home ready to face whatever was going to happen the next day. We came early in the morning. It was April 11th, my grandma's birthday. Rachel's tests were done. It took the team about an hour. I was later told that they were being very thorough because they wanted to make certain there was no brain activity whatsoever. Rachel had no reaction at all. The doctor over the ICU said that they were going to turn off the machines, and as soon as she quit breathing, they would let us back in to be with her. I didn't know at that time that I could insist on staying in with her or I would have. By that time, my parents had come from Idaho. It only took about 15 minutes. A respiratory therapist came out and looked me in the eyes with tears in his eyes. He put his hand on my shoulder in a comforting way, shook his head, and moved on. I have never forgotten this kind gesture. He is still a respiratory therapist in the Utah Valley Hospital to this day, and I still see him from time to time. I don't know if he's ever recognized me. He is old and gray now but still a very kind man.
Rick and I walked into the room. Our little daughter lay lifeless in her bassinet. My parents came in and sat down in chairs that were provided for us. A nurse handed her over to me and I couldn't cry at that time. I just looked at her face. I couldn't believe this had happened, that she was actually gone. She didn't feel the same to me. I handed her to my husband. As he took her, he started to sob. This was the first time I really saw any true emotion from him since this had all started. A social worker was in the room with us and she looked at me and said, "How do you feel?" How do I feel????? I looked at her like, what kind of question is this? My dad shook his head like he couldn't believe she would say this. I said, "How do you think I feel? Why would you ask such an obtuse question? You need to leave!" She said she couldn't, that she wasn't allowed to since Rachel's death was now going to be turned into an investigation. It all seemed surreal. I didn't even think about the consequences this would bring to Rick and our family. But I pushed that all aside. I had my mother hold Rachel for a few minutes. She gave her back to me and said she couldn't bear to hold her anymore, knowing she was dead. So I held her again for several minutes and then put her back in the bassinet. I took one last look at my perfect girl.
Then Dr. Clayton came in. He was so good to us all. He talked with us about what would happen next. He said since Rachel died under traumatic circumstances that she would be taken to a morgue and an autopsy would have to be performed. This just devastated me even more. I couldn't bear the thought of her being cut up. But he was kind and gentle, explained again why, and then he handed me a book. It was called "Angel Children." He said that unfortunately in his line of work that not everything was happy and good, and that if he had patients die, he liked to hand this book out to the parents. He said it was about a woman who had her baby son die and her experience with finding out what had become of him after he died. I thanked him for the gift. We all went home stunned and in so much grief. I hung onto my Cynthia who almost 2 now at this time, I didn't want to let her go. I cried and cried and cried. People from our ward came over to give their condolences. Meals were brought over. Our bishop came over, and we planned a small funeral. The mortuary called a couple days later and said that Rachel's body had been released to them. They asked us to come pick out her casket and bring clothes in for her to be buried in. They told me that I could dress her.
This was all new to me of course. I told my family what they told me. My mother took me shopping, and we bought a white blanket to wrap her in and some new shoes and socks. The director at the mortuary also suggested we get a rattle or small toy to put in her coffin. He said it "looked" better if the baby was holding on to something. A lot of this is now a blur to me, I only remember bits and pieces. But what I do remember is going in and choosing her casket. That part wasn't hard. They only had 2 to choose from for infants. Then they took me in a room, and there she was laying on a table with a white onesie on. Rachel was actually blessed late in her life. Most babies are blessed when they are newborns, or just a few weeks old. We had one thing after another happen while she was alive, and she was 6 months old before she was finally blessed. I found it strange that she died only 3 weeks after she was blessed. But because of her being blessed so late, her blessing dress still fit her, so we dressed her in her white blessing dress. There is a woman in my home ward who was a fabulous sewer. Her name was LaRue Phillips. She made Rachel's blessing dress. It was beautiful and white and fluffy and silky. It had pearls and bows sewn on. It was the perfect dress to bury her in.
As we dressed her, I was saddened to see staples all over her body from where they had cut open her abdomen to examine her. She had a huge incision across the back of her head that was also stapled. It made my mother cry. I was too numb to cry, but I cry now whenever I think of her perfect body scarred like that. We got her dressed and ready. The next day was her funeral. It was just my family, my husband's family, a few friends that I worked with, my visiting teachers, and our home teachers. The service was short. I had decided to have Rachel buried in my hometown where I had been raised. We had a small community cemetery there in Terreton. My dad had purchased a lot for Rachel. The next day after the funeral, we drove to Terreton and had a viewing at the chapel in Terreton. Most of my friends in high school came, our neighbors, and people from our ward and community came. My high school basketball coach came in and just hugged me so tight and cried with me. It was so hard to go through that.
Then we went to the cemetery and buried her there. I left that day feeling like I would never get through the pain of losing my Rachel. But as I watched her little casket being lifted into the ground, it came to me so suddenly. I kept hearing Dr. Clayton tell me how perfect Rachel was when she was born, and I realized why she was so perfect then. It was because she was a perfect being. My little girl was perfect. She wouldn't have to go through this earthly life at this time. She was a valiant spirit who didn't need to be tested. Now this knowledge didn't take away my hurt, but it gave me a great sense of peace. I also knew that Rachel loved me and her father, and I could almost feel her sorrow for her father for what he was about to face. But I also knew she was at peace and that she had other work to do. At times throughout my other daughter Cynthia's life while growing up, I would watch her play alone whenever I would take her to a playground. I would always get a lump in my throat and felt bad that Cynthia had no companion, no sibling to go through life. I would feel cheated and felt she was cheated. It was hard not to feel angry again. But I knew that Rachel was watching over her sister, and I knew in my heart that one day there would be a glorious reunion when my two girls would be together again. I knew, at this point, it was up to us to be faithful and valiant as well, so that we could earn our glory to be with her, our perfect daughter and sister.
The next few months were hard times. Because Rachel had died, my husband was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Cynthia was taken from our home. This was even more difficult to bear. I had just lost my baby and the state took my other child away. They did allow her to stay with Aunt Lareine who lived with her family in Salt Lake City. They had a daughter just a year older than Cynthia, so Cynthia at least wasn't in a foster home. She was gone for 3 months before the courts determined that she would be safe with us. Rick went through 3 trials before they decided what to do with him. They decided to keep him under psychiatric observation for 3 months. Normally this took place at the state mental institution, but that facility was going through a major rehaul and several of their buildings were down, so Rick was taken to the state juvenile center at Point of the Mountain.
Cynthia and I were allowed to visit him weekly which we did. Our bishop sometimes came with us to visit him as well. He was such a faithful bishop to us. He made sure I was taken care of with food and rent. I truly learned the blessing of fast offerings and determined I would be generous with mine when we were back on our feet. After 3 months of the psychiatric observation, Rick went back to court. It was determined that no more observation was needed, that he would serve 2 years or parole and that he could come home. That was such good news to me. However, I didn't think what would happen next. The church held a church court. Rick was disfellowshipped. Because of this, BYU said he couldn't attend school there until the church court reconvened in a year. Rick was devastated. School was again to be put on hold. Then we were delivered another blow. Because we had no insurance when Rachel was in the hospital, we applied for Medicaid. Her hospital bill was over $12,000 for the 6 days she was in the hospital. The state decided that we needed to pay restitution, and we were given 2 years to pay back the $12,000 bill. I know now days, $12,000 is cheap for a hospital stay, but in the late 80's it seemed like a fortune. The state wouldn't rely on us paying on our own, so they garnished 3/4 of Rick's wages until the bill was paid in full.
Rick never complained about this part. He later told me that he decided, in a small way, it was his duty to pay this, to pay the debt for taking Rachel's life. That made our lives very hard, but interestingly enough, we got through it without fighting, without hurting one another. A year went by, and we continued to go to church. I felt like I was starting to feel like having another baby. Rick didn't want to while we were paying back the restitution, and I honored his wish. After the first year went by, Rick went back to the church court. He was reinstated with his Melchizedek priesthood. He was eligible to reapply to BYU again. As glad as he was to be fellowshipped again into the church, for some reason he never forgave BYU and decided not to go back there to finish his engineering degree. He had an associate degree in business and math and went to work for Orem City. We thought that life was starting to finally get back to normal. We tried again to have a baby. I had friends who were so stalwart through our ordeal that they helped me get through each day.
One of these friends, whose name is Linda, asked me one day, "How are you getting through this? You always seem happy and positive." I told her for the most part I felt I had been blessed with a positive attitude towards life. I told her I really had no choice but to get through life. I said, "I have another child who needs me, I have to keep going." I did confide that sometimes the darkness and despair seemed to engulf me at times, mostly at night when I would think about what happened to Rachel, or when I was alone. But I would close my eyes and picture her and ask for peace and it would come. Not once was I left alone spiritually through this. I felt Rachel through the Holy Ghost.
Sadly, 3 years after Rachel died, my husband went through a deep depression. Even though he had a fairly good paying job and on the outside seeming to go have pulled through, his experience of court trials, both state and church, and going through having a record now started to make him unravel. He withdrew completely. I was still quite young and didn't understand this. I felt like we were ok, we had survived an awful experience. But Rick didn't recover, and I realized I really had no idea what he went through. He would never talk about it. I couldn't deal with this person he became. I decided I wanted a divorce. He didn't even fight me on it. A week later, he said he found a job in Boise. He packed up his things, moved to Boise, and then brought back our car. And that was it. We worked out an agreement of when he could see Cynthia, I assured him as long as he had someone reliable to watch her that I would never fight him on his visitation rights. We worked out a child support payment. I had a few friends who wanted me to sue him for more money to hurt him. But strangely, even though I felt like I didn't love him anymore, I had great compassion for him and didn't want to make our sad ending worse.
I continued to feel great strength inside and realized later that this was the Holy Ghost with me. I knew that Rick had gone through a fire I couldn't imagine, that the burden he would carry the rest of his life, knowing he had been the cause of an infant's death, would stay with him forever. To this day, I don't know if he has come to terms with that. How do you come to terms with that? He eventually left the church, and in his bitterness that seemed to grow, he took our oldest daughter with him in that direction. To this day, I pray for both of them to come back. My daughter loves her father fiercely and I hope that someday, someone will touch their hearts. But as much sorrow I feel for the loss of them and of Rachel, I still know that everything will be okay. I see my oldest daughter weekly when I go to work in Provo. We eat lunch and discuss life. She still doesn't want to have anything to do with the church but she still is involved with my family, and they make her feel very loved. I asked her one time if she ever felt anger towards me for divorcing her father. She said she was always sad as a kid but when she started to live on her own and later married that she realized more of what we went through, and she understood how and why things ended with us. She also mentioned that I seemed to be at peace with what had happened and that gave her hope. I truly hope she finds her testimony someday and that her sister Rachel will be a guiding force in her life.
I'm so thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who loves me. There are times I really feel alone, and then there are times that I can feel Him overwhelmingly. I'm grateful for a forgiving spirit. To this day I hold no animosity towards Rick. I still grieve from time to time, but I'm not angry at him. And I feel that feeling of compassion comes from our Savior. What a grand example He is to us. What a completely amazing person He is to me. He saved me, there is no doubt. I could have given up so many times, but I didn't, and I know it's because I leaned on Him. Sometimes I look back and can't believe I got through that ordeal without being so very bitter. I am blessed to be a Latter-Day Saint and am so grateful for the knowledge that I will see my daughter again. That alone gives me peace. I know it, and I believe it.
Posted by Shantelle