Marshall's music, t-cells, t-shirts and more

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Red Sun

Tonight there was a sunset that made the sky red. Then there was a moon that looked orangish-yellow and was shaped like a banana. My sweet Kez took notice of both. He says when he sees his dad he is red and white. He sent the banana moon to make him laugh. I didn't get a picture of either, just gazed on quietly noticing the beauty tonight.  I just kept thinking, 'that reminds me of Marshall.' Kez also kept seeing shooting stars. There will be a big meteor shower soon. Events like this really make me miss Marshall. We spent many a night on top of a car looking at the sky. This is my first August without him in 6 years.

Lately I have been having a very difficult time coming to terms with the fact that Kezman won't have the most amazing dad he would have for the rest of his life. Marshall was definitely the better parent and I truly feel terribly for my young son. How in the world will I give him the attention and time he deserves while taking care of everything else too?

I told Kez I was missing Marshall through some tears today and he responded, "Mommy you need to listen. I see daddy's spirit mouth talking and you need to listen." I said "Kez, I can't hear anything". He said, "close your eyes and concentrate mom". This was so out of character for my jabber box son to suggest that I decided to try it. And I could hear him! The tones of his voice so melodic and familiar echoed in my ears for one sweet moment. It had been so long since I've heard it while he was alive now that I MISS IT SO! He always called me the sweetest things and I could hear that too. I really feel like Kez will be missing out on getting to know Marshall and having an incredible dad. It literally breaks my heart in two all over again every day. My dad and I are close and I have no idea how I would have grown up without him around. I devoured 2 books on the airplane trips this past week and they are books I would recommend to anyone who's lost a loved one. The Message by Lance Richardson and i knew their hearts by Jeff Olsen. One sentence really resonated with me, "I knew I had experienced something beyond death, but it didn't quench the pain of missing them". Although Kez seems to have more of these experiences than I do- it still doesn't help the intense pain of missing our Marshall.

I've read from some experienced widows that the second year is harder than the first. I am starting to see exactly why that could be true. Sometimes I wonder where my friends and family have gone now. Am I too independent? Am I acting like I'm fine too often? It's not fake; I really am trying to be strong and make the best of this life we have been dealt. I guess I am better at putting on a good face than I thought. Or maybe I am too much of a Debbie Downer in my grief and people don't know what to say or do. It's probably just that people are so busy in their own families and lives and seeing/hearing Kez and I brings back memories they don't want to recall. They may bring up emotions none of us want to deal with.

How could God take away the very most amazing thing he ever gave me and expect me to live on without it? I don't understand. I don't know what it is, but I feel somewhat like the Savior when he was so alone in the garden. Bearing moments of complete anguish, despair, sadness to the point of physical pain. That's the one place I can relate to in my mind. My friend Julie put it nicely when I told her how I felt one day. She said, "I have a theory about friends. That theory is that you are in the garden of Gethsemane, suffering untold agony that only you can understand. Your friends are outside the wall. They care. They want to help. But they don't understand and they can't stay awake. You are forsaken by people who don't know how to help and to avoid the discomfort, they fall asleep. It's a very lonely place for you. A normal conversation would be wonderful. Having friends engage without feeling sorry for you would be wonderful. But it won't happen. They don't know how. If they could think of what to say, they'd try, but they don't know what to say anymore. They will eventually return." Thank you for putting it so elegantly Julie.

When the Savior comes again he will be wearing robes of red. Kezman and I were able to go through a special tour of the new Philadelphia temple with some very special people. The trip was a bit healing and hard too. It was more healing than I thought it would be. Less hard than I thought it would be. (We were also able to tour the laboratory where the t-cells were made and stored. I'll talk about that in another post). The spirit was strong and the first thing I noticed was a picture of Christ in red robes. I really hope Kez is right when he talks about his 'red and white' dad and I pray that what Marshall can do for his son from that side of the veil can help him grow into the amazing man he is meant to be just like his amazing father.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Numerical and Lyrical Love

Ours was a numerical and lyrical love. I'm often reminded of Marshall when I see certain numbers and hear certain songs. I know it's super nerdy, but he let me continue to be my mathematical, quizzical, left-brained, logical self and numbers girl through our relationship.  It started on the very day we met, November 13th- or 11/13. My favorite number was 111 and his was 3 long before we ever met that day. So naturally, we got married on that same day 1 year later. He liked to tell people 'we got married the day we met' with no explanation which would definitely get some bug eyes and I was left to explain. I miss his punny jokes.

Here is an email he sent once just to give you an idea of our number nerdiness:

I love you sweetheart, and there is the math to prove it :)

Perfect totient number

In number theory, a perfect totient number is an integer that is equal to the sum of its iterated totients. That is, we apply the totient function to a number n, apply it again to the resulting totient, and so on, until the number 1 is reached, and add together the resulting sequence of numbers; if the sum equals n, then n is a perfect totient number. Or to put it algebraically, if

n = \sum_{i = 1}^{c + 1} \varphi^i(n),
\varphi^i(n)=\left\{\begin{matrix}\varphi(n)&\mbox{ if } i=1\\ \varphi(\varphi^{i-1}(n))&\mbox{ otherwise}\end{matrix}\right.
is the iterated totient function and c is the integer such that
then n is a perfect totient number.
The first few perfect totient numbers are
3915273981, and 111
For example, start with 327. φ(327) = 216, φ(216) = 72, φ(72) = 24, φ(24) = 8, φ(8) = 4, φ(4) = 2, φ(2) = 1, and 216 + 72 + 24 + 8 + 4 + 2 + 1 = 327.

Multiples and powers of three

It can be observed that many perfect totient numbers are multiples of 3; in fact, 4375 is the smallest perfect totient number that is not divisible by 3. All powers of 3 are perfect totient numbers, as may be seen by induction using the fact that
\displaystyle\varphi(3^k) = \varphi(2\times 3^k) = 2\times 3^{k-1}.
And there you have it!
- Marshall 
PS.  Thank you wikipedia

Speaking of numbers, today is the 23rd. Marshall invented this other idea that we each had a day of the month that was our very own and it was the day of the month we were born. So every 11th was Kezman's day, every 23rd was mine, and finally every 30th was Marshall's. I just realized his funeral was on his day of the month, the 30th. On "our day" every month we got to do something special we wanted, have our favorite treat or whatever it was we chose. Those monthly celebrations got a bit more difficult as Marshall was often hospitalized the past 4 years, but they also became something different to look forward to in the dreary hospital walls no matter how small the thing was we chose. It just made each one of us feel special every month. So since today is MY day, I'm going to indulge a bit here since I don't have my man.

Speaking of feeling special, I TOTALLY miss him making me feel special. He often told me he thought the world and beyond of me and I just miss hearing those words. He was a talker and a verbal processor and I often thought, "man he talks a lot". Now I would give anything to just spend hours listening to him like I used to. His son is a lot like this though and rarely stops talking. I'm worried about him starting kindergarten this year and getting in trouble for talking.

The song Marshall proposed with has a verse that goes, "If I wrote you poetry and music, tried my best to sing. If I lived my life to serve and please you, bought a diamond ring. If I owned the world and all it's riches, I'd gladly give it up. But it wouldn't be enough. No it wouldn't be enough to say I love you because the words could not express what it's like to look into those lovely eyes and feel such tenderness. It wouldn't be enough to hold you closely at the end of every day and tell you that my day was long without you. I hope that you're ok. It wouldn't be enough- Amanda baby, but I'd do it anyway". He told me later that that was the first time he'd put a girl's actual name in a song he'd written. He wrote that only a month after he met me as a Christmas gift. I'd pick a song he wrote for me over a material gift any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  I objected because the song, "AJ" he wrote a week or two after he met me had my nickname in it. His lyrics often pierced my soul. I appreciate the meaning and depth behind his lyrics which are so different than some of the shallow and repetitive songs that are on the radio sometimes. He gave me his CD that was produced in Minnesota that first November 13th we met and I stayed up until early in the morning listening to every song and even texted him my favorite song numbers which ended up being 11 and 3 if I recall correctly. His lyrics still often pierce my soul. Like the part, "my day was long without you. I hope that you're ok". I want to tell him that nightly now.
You can purchase this CD or whichever song you choose including, "It Wouldn't Be Enough" mentioned earlier by clicking here on Marshall's ITUNES songs.
All proceeds go to Kezman's mission fund as Marshall had written down.

When I designed our wedding announcements, the border was with alphas and omegas since the symbols for them look like 'as' and 'ms' (we flipped the omega symbol on the border to look like an m). The 'beginnings' and the 'ends'. Why did his symbol have to stand for the ends anyway? Now that I think about that, maybe there was something more to that. I prefer sunrises and he preferred sunsets. I thought breakfast was the most important meal of the day while his "tummy just wasn't awake enough yet". If we were road tripping, I'd rather stay one more night and wake up early to drive home while he preferred driving home that night no matter how late it was.

Another part of the song says, "if I wrote you love notes every afternoon with lots of mushy stuff, no it wouldn't be enough". He really DID write me tons of love notes. I have boxes and journals full of them. The last love note he gave me was on 11/13, 5 days before he died and exactly 7 (full, complete) years after that first 11/13. That note was so sweet and he talked about paradisaical glory. Did he know? I don't know. But even more meaningful has been some poems I have found now that he's died that he never even told me about. Speaking of lovely eyes from the previous lyrics, I found this poem entitled, "Her Eyes":

"Her Eyes" was a poem he wrote and I have no idea when or why because the first time I'd seen it was after he died. Those eyes he wrote about bawled like a baby while reading the words. I mostly feel like these eyes are still in the middle of the rainstorm, just like the sky after he died in Pennsylvania on the 18th literally POURED rain like I've never seen before just as my eyes have poured more buckets of tears than I ever thought possible. I often was Marshall's editor and I had obviously never seen this poem because of the way he'd spelled chameleon and I love that there's a pond in the lyrics because of our son's middle name being Pond.

Like the sky after a rainstorm,
misty hues of sage and sea. 
Tell stories of an unknown rolling landscape, 
strangely familiar like a mysterious dream. 

Her chameleon eyes absorb the beauty of
her surroundings and reflects it ten fold, 
the mirror of a verdant mountain pond in spring. 
Clear and rippling from it's core to borders. 
Trimmed in lashes like arching pines bent backwards.

Revealing her glistening emerald surface, 
delicate like the wings of an exotic butterfly. 
Her stare reaches unknown depths, 
Neptune from the Sun.
I'm immersed. 
Descending a submarine surface
caught in her gaze 
like swirling clouds of an unknown planet

We loved to hike together and Marshall's favorite hike was White Pine Lake.

Speaking of swirling clouds, Marshall would often watch the sun set and the sun rise, but especially the set. I feel like there have been a few sunsets he sent just for me lately since I told him often he was my sunshine. One of them was on the 18th, the day of the month he died:
Sunset on the 18th. Photo Credit: Alan Kearsley
Please keep trying to glue my broken pieces back together with your golden sunsets Marshall.