Sunday, August 14, 2011


It's kind of surreal to be sitting here in Flagstaff on this beautiful Sunday morning. It's peaceful and quiet except for the occasional thunder of a train rolling by. Memories of Alpine Days scroll through my mind. The weekends when I was able to break away from my duties at the Washington County Fair and hang out with the Puriri Clan. 

Just behind Grandpa and Grandma's house there's a waterfall. The rocks are slick and the pond is deep. This Alpine Slide holds a place in our hearts. It's where the kids cool off. It's where they dive into the water with the bike. (Somewhere on youtube there is video of this) It's where we build memories.

When I wasn't able to attend Alpine Days I was at the Washington County Fair working a booth or holding down the gate as we filled the Demolition Derby stands with crowds and crowds of people. While I was there Ra was on the road assisting my Red Rock Rotary club with parking duties. Hamilton remembers riding the rides and eating hot dogs and going where only the "workers" get to go. (Yes fair board members and their families get preferential treatment.) 

But everything was different this year. The second weekend of August 2011 will hold different memories for us. This is where we realize that nothing in the world is more important than family. The Washington County Fair, Alpine Days - if you can't be there with your family then why would you want to be there at all. 

Flagstaff - weekend #3. We arrived late Thursday night and found Ammon and Hamilton at home in the Sanctuary House. Ammon had been discharge from the hospital on Wednesday, much to his delight. He was home on a portable wound vac but at least he was home. 

The wound vac continues to work miracles on Ammon's wounds. The dressing is changed every other day. This is a painful experience. The change requires constant contact to his wounds. Ammon understands what is happening and is stalwart in his effort to endure the pain. I sit at his side and wish for a way to transfuse the pain from Ammon. Once again I am reminded of my Father in Heaven and the pain He must experience as he watches his children suffer the pains of this life. I commit to being a better child simply because I understand how it feels to sit at the side of my son knowing that he suffers and there is nothing I can do to take the pain away.

Back at the house we enjoy the company of each other. Ammon finds joy in the smallest of things including meals prepared by his mother. Hospital food was not contributing to Ammon's weight gain so that will be my job over the next few months. Not that it hasn't been my job for nearly nineteen years but now the light shines differently on every little thing. 

Ammon speaks more detail of his accident. The helicopter couldn't find them on the lake. They waited and waited and kept contact by cell phone. Jim finally decided to shoot off a flare. Ammon lay on the deck of the boat and Jim was in his view, "Jim get out of the way. Move so I can see." We laugh at this. Ammon is near death but he wants to see the flare go off. Apparently he'd never seen the excitement of a flare going off in a distressed situation and he realized now was the chance.

We decide to see what's going on in town. There's a movie in the square and there are lots and lots of people. We walk over to the candy store for a treat. A few weeks ago Ra and the boys went into the candy store and asked the owner where they could get a good smoothy. They explained Ammon in the hospital. The owner was saddened by the story and gave them a bag of candy for Ammon. On this Friday night the candy store is crowded with people but the owner recognizes Ra instantly and then sees Ammon. She leaves her post behind the counter and comes out to talk to us. We realize that this accident has an impact on so many people. The candy store, the medical professionals, friends back home, family all over the world - we feel the love of God and see by the light of Christ. These qualities exist in all of us and seem to be enhanced when even one of us suffers. 

We all come from the same place and we all feel the pain of each other. I'm not sure we completely comprehend this eternal concept. I have experienced it in this circumstance and feel humbled and enlightened because of it. 

Saturday on the Sanctuary compound. The boys from next door came over. We shared our lunch and played some basketball. Later in evening dinner and more basketball. 

Sitting outside under the apple tree typing this post.  The life flight helicopter flies over. I think I will never look at that helicopter the way I used to. When I see it I realize that my son went for his first helicopter ride on a stretcher

We had planned to be apart this weekend - some of us in Alpine, some of us at the fair. But here we are instead. Summer 2011 at The Sanctuary House in Flagstaff, Arizona. It wasn't in the plans but it is happening. We chose to use our energy focused on the positives and looking towards a future that will be different than we expected. Life is full of unknowns. It is best to take it as it comes and make the best of the ride.

Helping dad install the dryer at The Sanctuary House

Using Ammon's crutches to get around on the long board.

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