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MY UNEXPECTED GOODBYE TO AARONLisa King is our new TOFW.com guest blogger. Check in every Tuesday to follow this Austrailian mom's story of strength and courage!

Lisa King

June 19, 2012

Our house is full of excitement today as we pack for our holiday tomorrow. We’ve been waiting for more than seven months to go on this family holiday, a getaway we’d planned after Noah passed away, so that the boys had something to look forward to. Harri excitedly reminds us that it’s only one more sleep until we get to go on the plane, but Jalen is quietly sitting on the couch. He’s excited too, but I can tell he feels so sad that Aaron won’t be coming with us. I know exactly how he feels.

Our last holiday with Aaron was something I wish we could forget. On the drive there, all of us were singing along to a CD that was blaring out of the car stereo. Aaron had put together a mix of the latest songs, and I had to smile at our loud and off-key voices. If one of us stopped singing, Kobe would yell, “Everyone sing!” and we would all start singing again just to make him happy. We’d known it was going to be a hard holiday for us, since this was our first holiday since Noah had passed away only three and a half months ago, but as we sang, I knew that Noah would love that we were having some fun together.

Aaron turned down the music for a minute and looked over at me as I drove. “I’m going to tell you something and I want you to just listen,” he said. He knew so well that despite all the jokes I made about the mushy things he said, deep down I loved hearing how much he loved me. I could tell he was serious, so I listened and smiled even more broadly as he told me how much he loved me, how I was his best friend, and how everything he was today was because of me. He told me things like this all the time, and usually I would joke with him about it, but not today. Today it was especially nice to hear him say such beautiful things, and I smiled and said, “Thanks, babe; I love you, too.”
When we arrived at the shack at the beach, the light-hearted smiles ebbed as the weight of the sadness returned. This was where we had gone every year for the past five years with our four boys. This was where we had made so many happy family memories—swimming at the beach, fishing off the jetty, jumping in the waves, and playing on the sand dunes. But we knew that this year would be different, because we’d be spending it without Noah.

Because of the stress weighing on me since Noah passed away, I was feeling run down and tired. I had been fighting off a sore throat for a few days and mentioned to Aaron that maybe I needed to have a priesthood blessing. He didn’t have any consecrated oil on him, so I rang my brother to make sure that he brought some with them the next day.

There was a lot of excitement when my family arrived. It was going to be our first holiday together as an extended family, and everyone was happy to see each other. Even though the weather wasn’t great, none of us could wait to go to the beach. So as everyone got ready, I asked Aaron and my brother if they could give me that blessing before we left. In the blessing, Aaron said that I would feel better very soon and that I would be able to enjoy my holiday.  He blessed me with the strength to get through the next few days. I felt a deep sense of peace, and thanked Aaron and the Lord for the beautiful blessing.

We headed to the beach and had a lovely time watching the kids play together in the sand. Aaron and my brothers and brother-in-law headed straight into the water and started throwing a ball around. It was fun watching them and I thought about what a great week it was going to end up being. The weather was turning bad, and the waves were getting very big, which was exactly how Aaron loved them. I watched him as he jumped in the huge waves with the other guys and, seeing how much fun they were having, decided to brave the cold and ran out to join him. I could see how happy he was that I was jumping in the waves with them, and as I put my arms around him, he said, “My heart is being healed by having your family here with us.” He had been so heartbroken since Noah passed away, so it was nice to see him smiling again.

It soon got too cold to stay on the beach any longer, so we packed the kids up and yelled at Aaron and my brother-in-law to get out of the water so we could leave. I actually hated the thought of leaving, since it was so nice to see Aaron having such a great time. But he finally got out of the water and explained, “You can’t waste days like this one.”
After dinner that night, the guys decided to go out fishing on my brother’s boat, and the girls and I stayed back at the shack and got the younger kids to bed. When the guys returned, Aaron ran back inside and told us that the boat was stuck because the tide had gone out. We all laughed. I knew straight away that it was just another one of his jokes. He sat down behind us as we played cards on the floor in front of him, and the next thing I can remember is my sister asking, “Is Aaron alright?” I looked at him and jumped up in horror. He had stopped breathing. I was terrified. Was he having a seizure? Was this a heart attack?

For the next forty-five minutes, I watched what was happening in a state of shock. Harri screamed, “Is Daddy dying?!” and I yelled at my sister-in-law to take Jalen and Harri out of the room. I told them that Daddy wasn’t dying, and that everything was going to be okay but as the minutes went by, things got worse. As the paramedics tried to resuscitate Aaron, I literally screamed at Heavenly Father, “What is happening?!  Make him breathe! What is going on?!”

I kept thinking he was going to be okay. Why would he not be okay? Noah had just passed away three and a half months before, so there was no way that Heavenly Father would let Aaron die too. I watched as they continued to try to resuscitate him and thought that if I told him how much I need him he would hear me and it would make him come back. It would make him breathe and his heart would start beating again.

But he didn’t breathe and his heart didn’t start beating and the ambulance officer turned off the machines and knelt down next to me and said those words that you think are just in the movies: “We’re so sorry. There’s nothing else we can do.”

I looked at him in shock, and all I could think to say to him was, “My son died three months ago.”

Instead of having a beautiful week with my family at the beach, I came home the next morning and met with my stake president, bishop, and relief society president to plan another funeral. I couldn’t help but think constantly about the things that Aaron told me as we were driving, the blessing he gave me to have strength to get through the next few days, and the words he said as he jumped in the waves: “You can’t waste a day.”

It’s been four months now since Aaron passed and it’s hard to be packing for a family holiday with a third of the family missing. It seems strange to feel excited and heavyhearted at the same time, but I hope and pray that for the next ten days my boys and I can have some fun together despite our sorrow. That’s what Aaron and Noah would want us to do. 

Lisa King is a woman of faith with a zest for life who loves photography, chocolate, helping children with special needs and being a mum. TOFW first met Lisa at the Sydney, AU event in July 2011. We have been amazed at her ability to SEEK THE GOOD thru the trials that have come her way, including unexpectedly losing her son and husband within 4 months of each other. Lisa was born and raised, and continues to live in the beautiful area of Tasmania, AU and looks forward to the day when she can introduce her boys to Rexburg, Idaho, USA, where she has incredible memories of a year at college before returning to Australia where she met and married her sweetheart, the late Aaron King.

Photo by Alana Aston Photography