On the way home from the Valley of Fire, we decided we'd stop into the mountains of Brian Head for a little extra family time. Two and a half hours in the exact opposite direction of Home. Because, why not?
We arrived on Saturday night and stayed in a little cabin where we cuddled under blankets and watched the relatively new Cinderella movie. The kids were thrilled to see that there was snow outside and when they went to pick it up they didn't even mind that it was all one giant mass of ice and dirt.
On Sunday morning in the parking lot after church, my phone buzzed with a text from my mother-in-law who had sent a picture of Jess's grave and headstone. She had cleaned it and decorated it with little blue and yellow flowers and had taken a picture to send to me. It's one of my favorite things about Jean.
Something about that picture pulled at me and minutes later we found ourselves driving three more hours in the exact opposite direction of Home just to sit by his headstone.
We were all still dressed in our church clothes, we had no food, no entertainment, and Brian didn't even have his wallet. Yet there we were. And the kids were on board with the only request being that we made sure to stop to gather flowers along our way.
So we pulled over on the side of the road when we got close and gathered our favorites.
When we arrived we were met with the peace that lives there among those headstones.
And especially among the headstones marking the tiniest plots of land for the babies and children.
I found myself feeling very grateful for the caretakers of the land... the grass is always so thick and beautiful, and although that might have very little to do with the eternal nature of our family, it sure makes it pleasant to sit near Jess's resting place and remember.
Timothy traced his fingers through Jess's name as we told him the story of his brother.
We are generally not very spontaneous people. I like to plan ahead and feel a bit stressed when my plans change or get interrupted. But it felt good this time to throw our plans to the wind and take a seven hour detour to 'stop in' and remember how blessed we are to have Jess in our lives.
And when we had done what we'd come to do, we gathered back into the car and drove back down to Brian Head to continue the rest of our vacation.
A little happier.
A little sadder.
A little more rich in love and family.
And a little more splintered as we left him behind.
But, of course, we didn't really leave him behind. I suppose, in a way, you could say that Heavenly Father asked him to leave us behind. To make us better people, and to give us even more of a reason to keep our covenants. To disrupt our vacation plans - and life plans - every so often to give us something better.