Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dear Brother Angel Moroni

Dear Brother Angel Moroni:

Can we talk?

We haven’t connected for a while.  You have been so popular and so busy that I wanted to give you some space and time to transition into your new role as the welcoming symbol of the fully-operational Kansas City Missouri Temple.

You and I have had a good run. 

I believe I am one of the first Missourians (which, technically I am really an Alaskan living in Missouri) to welcome you to your new home.

We have spent a lot of time together alone these last 14 months in rain, sun, heat, clouds, snow, evening, early morning and fog.  And neither of us has been blown away by a tornado.  Yet.  J

We have met a lot of folks who see you from the freeway and can’t help but come and ask who you are.  They are drawn to you and the glow of the building.

 We have seen over 90,000 guests come through your doors,  eating 118,000 snicker doodle cookies during their visit. Sorry, I would have given one to you but you don’t have a fully operational mouth.

Enjoyed your second temple Fun Run.

You have even spent time with a prophet of God.

See, what I mean…you have been busy.

Which brings me to my point today.

We both know that you have “outgrown” me.

 And it’s ok.  It’s right.  Like the time a teenager moves out for the first time… is time.

It has been my privilege to keep you company this last year when you really didn’t have anyone else.

We have had some precious moments together, you and me.

Like when Tom died in June and I came to find peace that night.

And when my mother, who is not LDS,  got to tour the temple even before I did (insert jealous Val here).

I brought some people I really love to see you during the open house which included my wise mentor, my favorite Baptists I make homeless lunches with, and an eskimo boy, far from his Alaskan village home.

Some of our best friends being sealed a few weeks ago.  And other best friends gathered together to attend.

And I loved it when my non-member father said “What’s up with that Angel Macaroni?”   Good times, my friend, good times.
As expected, the time has come for the nature of our relationship to change.

I am moving on to other projects and will not be coming to see you in my housecoat and camera as much.  Which I am sure all those early morning commuters are glad to hear.

But, in some ways, I may be seeing your more than I was.  But only for a passing moment when I go inside and out of the temple.

But I don’t think you will miss me that much.

So many people are visiting you on a daily basis and keeping you company.  Like the mom and her girls who came to eat their Sonic milkshakes last night just to see you.  Or the new temple workers from down south who are going to be sleeping in our guest room while they are in town serving in the temple so they can save some money for their mission in two years.  And just to be clear, they are “ranchers” with farmer tans.  :)

All said, Brother Angel Moroni, I am so happy that our relationship has changed.  There has not been a moment since the temple opened that I have been over there that there isn’t just wonderful, smiling faces standing below you, both inside the temple and out.

I was thinking that sometimes friends dedicate songs to each other.  I would like to dedicate one to you.

I love that you and I are not going to be like that popular song  “Now You’re Just Somebody I Used To Know.” 

I think we are more like “Families Can Be Together Forever.”    Even if we aren’t eating snicker doodle cookies while we are doing it.  J

See you soon, Brother
Sister Val

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Difference a Year Makes

Dear Beloved BFF to the 11th power: 
Tom Allison,

It was a exactly one year ago, yesterday, as I was leaving to go home that I leaned over you sitting so quietly in your "man chair" and kissed your pokey-haired top of your head and said I loved you.  You were lucid and clearly replied "I love you, too." 

Those are the last words we spoke to each other in this life.  Doesn't get better than that. How many friends are lucky enough to get to say that?

It will be a year on Wednesday that I raced to your house, only to have you pass away when I was parking the car in your driveway.  At first I was mad at you.  How could you die without me?  Couldn't you have waited that extra 30 seconds?  I deserved to be there.  I had earned it.

But, a year later, I have gone back to that moment of you in the man chair several times, and have decided that THAT was the perfect ending to this chapter of our friendship. 

Ahhh, the difference a year makes.

Yesterday, June 2nd, I found a Tom mix cd you had burned for our family in August 2004.  It was full our your favorite songs, some of which I had never heard before meeting you.  I remember the conversation when we talked about all those songs.  We were in Northtowne at the Wendy's.  You were driving Mr. Fun and I around in the big blue truck, looking for a car to buy.  Ours had been totaled in an accident that almost killed The Boy and set off a chain of crazy events that summer. I will never forget that year and believe me, sometimes wish I could.

So, as I am speeding along yesterday in the sunny yellow car, listening to the Tom Was Here mix, your man Enrique Iglesis came on.  And I smiled.

It was awesome, Tom.  I smiled for happiness.  And I had peace.  It was one, if not the first genuine time, that when something reminded me of you, I didn't wince on the inside.  I was joyful.  I was thinking of you and not thinking "I can't believe he is dead" or "How much we all miss him."  It was plain and sweet "Tom loved this guy." 

How liberating.

Ahhh, the difference a year makes.

I know that everyone is not living in the "wince-free" zone.  I know.

Because you progressed in your eternal journey, for lack of a better phrase it "freed me up" to go on to different things.  Things we might not have fully invested in if you had still been here. 

I like to think of this as the "Silver Lining" that you moved on.

We went to Alaska.  For a long time.

I went to Utah for a day.

The Girl lived out her bucket list and we went to Mil-i-wau-kee.
Thanks Wayne's World.

We made new friends.

We volunteered more.

The baby goats started trooping.

We took more field trips for fun.
And I stopped feeling guilty you
were too sick to come along.

I spent more time alone,
which has been healthy for me.

I witnessed a miracle at the Cultural Celebration
with my own eyes.

We dedicated the temple.

 I got to help write a book.

and the Temple Chasers got to be together IN the temple,
not just lurk around outside.

Beloved Tom,  I wanted you to know that you are missed every day.  That we think of you at all sorts of great and sad times.  I know for myself that your spirit continues to live.  For moments to sacred to share in public, this I know.

It will be my honor to share your life on Thursday in front of 300 folks who work for hospice.  I hope you can join us.  That is 300 folks who were not blessed to know you in this life.  I know they will feel like they missed out.  I know I would have.

We are happy and we are loving you.  You know we can't help it.  You are just so "Hoover Dam" cool that way.

Ahh, the difference a year makes.  :)