Sunday, January 16, 2011


This post has been about 7 months in progress. It just has been far too painful to think about much less write about. I just couldn't do it. It was too fresh, too open, too raw, too hurtful.


In the middle of September 2000, Eric just graduated from Chiropractic School in San Jose, California where we lived for 4 years. We drove our Uhaul filled with everything we owned to our brand new home in Taylorsville, Utah. Easton was 6 years old and Brandon was only 1 month old. As we pulled into the driveway, a red headed 7 year old boy with a sparkle in his eye ran from his home directly across the street with delight that a boy his age was moving in right next door! He came right up to Easton, introduced himself, and they both started helping unload the Uhaul.  The next 10 years they were inseparable best friends as they grew up playing in the ditch, sledding in the snow, digging in the dirt, riding bikes to the park, playing video games, playing and fixing computers, tinkering with musical instruments and playing amazing duets on the piano. Little did we know that as time went on, Brandon's best friend would be Sol's sister Caroline and Jane's best friend would be Sol's sister her same age, Sophie.
Easton & Solomon at Easton's 10th Birthday Party
Easton's 11th Birthday

Solomon, his brother Seth, and Easton on Easton's 16th Birthday 3/28/2010
Fast forward to last summer on June 21, 2010, Easton's best friend Solomon, passed away in a tragic ATV accident. {obituary}

I'll never forget Eric's entrance to the house that afternoon. The life sucked out of the house and I could tell something completely horrible must have happened when he asked me to join him in the other room privately away from the kids. My heart pounded away in fear anticipating what he was about to tell me. Never in my life have I heard such painful words. "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" Is all I could muster as I fell to the ground in unbelievable crying. My heart sunk as I yelled "LISA!" (his mom) then "DAVID!" (his dad) and then "EASTON!!!!!" "No! No! No! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" I shouted in the deepest most fearful pain I've ever experienced, with the realization that my son's entire childhood, innocence and memories were gone with his best friend in one moment. I was in complete disbelief as my brain literally considered if it was possible to rewind and change whatever happened. I remember pleading with the Lord that I would give every single monetary thing I had in life - everything - to change it. It was so sudden, so final. I JUST saw him! I even owed him $16 for working 2 hours at the BabySteals warehouse with Easton 3 days before! How is this possible? How on earth were we going to deliver such horrific news to a 16-year old about his very best friend?

I shifted into survival mode trying to figure out how we could get to Easton before someone else would text him the news - he was at the movies. We HAD to get to him before someone else did with their phone. Eric immediately left to race to the mall to get Easton and bring him home so we could tell him in person. I ran to the front door to look out the window at Solomon's house. Anger, sadness and confusion filled my heart with agonizing pain.

I sat on the floor crying with my face in my hands shaking and just trying to breathe - astonished at how life can change forever so suddenly. The thought of Easton without Solomon was like a piano without keys. The thought of Lisa and David having to tell Solomon's 7 other siblings. The thought never again saying "What's up, Sol?" as the front door opens and that tall, red-headed boy with a mischievous smile and sparkle in his eye runs downstairs to hang with Easton. The thought of never hearing those two boys spend hours perfecting their favorite songs on various instruments or tinker on the piano playing duets from the Mario Brothers theme songs to Viva la Vida by Coldplay as I made dinner.  The thought of never hearing Easton say, "Mom, I'm going to Sol's"..........

The doorbell rang and it was Jay and Brad - Easton's leaders in Young Men's. They didn't know Easton wasn't home but came straight to our house the moment they heard the devastating news. It warmed my heart to think about how much they cared for and knew my son that they would stop what they were doing and rush to my home in an effort to help deliver the news. Since Eric had just left, they comforted me and left to go help others.

When Eric and Easton came home, every word we said to him was a blur. No parent should ever have to deliver such terrifying news and break their kid's heart like that. It was by far the hardest moment of my life - and I've had some HARD moments. I've had my Grandpa, my beloved Uncle, and 4 cousins all succumb to suicide or die suddenly within 3 years of each other. So I had very recently dealt with a loved one's death from many different circumstances. But this was nothing I could have ever imagined. The next hour or two was a complete blur of tears and emotion. Easton of course was in devastation and shock. But as usual, he was a complete champion.

That night, our Bishop thankfully had all the young men and young women to the church for a devotional about Solomon. I am positive this tremendously helped Easton get through these horrible moments with other friends and kids his age. I was told that Easton gave the most sweet and caring tribute to Solomon to the young men and women that night. He shared thoughts with them that I didn't even know. That they planned on living by each other and raising their kids in the same ward. That he plans on naming his first son Solomon. I can't imagine how painful for him speaking to others must have been, yet healing at the same time.

The strength of Solomon's family was astonishing to me. His mother is an incredible pillar of light and faith. Without her composure, I'm not sure I'd have had any. I'll never forget her knock on my door the next morning. Tears ensued as she explained more about what happened to Solomon. She said that Solomon had been inspiring her through every move in planning his funeral. I know this to be true. She said that Solomon wanted Easton to play the Organ at his funeral. The Organ is not an easy instrument. You must practice each song with vigor before playing in public. At this time there were only 5 church Hymns that Easton knew on the Organ, and I didn't even know what they were, much less Lisa. She was inspired on a particular Hymn "Sweet Hour of Prayer". That was one of the 5 that Easton already knew. No coincidence there; that was inspiration from above.

The days leading up to the viewing and funeral were a blur as I cried almost non-stop yet tried to be strong in front of Easton. Crying not only for the loss of Solomon - but crying for his mother. For his father and sisters and brothers. But mostly, crying at the loss for my son. That every good childhood memory he thinks back on will quickly turn into sadness. I spent hours pouring over 10 years of home videos and photos to try and find every one I had of Solomon for the viewing and as a gift for the family.

The viewing was by far the 2nd hardest moment of my life. Standing in line trying to keep composure for what felt like hours as we watched videos of him and photos posted in the hall. Watching my son stand at his best friend's casket, saying goodbye for the last time. Holding his hand, and leaving with him sheet music from "Mario Brothers" they spent so many hours perfecting together with a hand written note on it. Seeing Solomon's dad hold Easton and tell him "you are like my son" was one of the most touching moments of my life. 

I wish I remember more about this moment of saying eyes were so full of tears that it took all the composure I had to just stand up. It felt entirely selfish to stand before his parents and be more of a wreck than they were.

Easton played the Organ amazing at the funeral. To say there were tears is an understatement. Somehow he went from a boy to a man as he walked in his tuxedo and sat down to the Organ and play "Sweet Hour of Prayer" at his best friend's funeral. He said that he doesn't even remember playing and that it wasn't even him - that it was Solomon who helped him through and played every note. Their last duet. His feet and hands were numb when he finished. I was so proud my heart ached.

Easton with Solomon's parents and two brothers at his burial
We did everything we could all summer to keep Easton entertained and from being lonely. Solomon's family helped in that tremendously as did so many other kids in our neighborhood that knew Easton was probably having a terrible time. Somehow, Easton is a champion.

These thoughts although 7 months ago, still hurt as deeply as if it were then. I still break into tears when I see a red-headed teenage boy. When Easton sits down to the piano and starts playing one of the songs they used to play together. When I stumble across a photo or home video with him in it. When Easton looks down at his phone, ready to text him, realizing he's not really there. When Easton doesn't have anyone to hang with at night. When I hear a sad song about loss. When I see an ATV. When I look across the street at his house. When the doorbell rings and it's not him.

This is one of the reasons why you'll never, ever hear me mutter the words "my teenager is driving me crazy." Because if he/she is, that's a blessing beyond recognition. At least they're there with you.

Solomon's 18th Birthday is this Wednesday. We'll be celebrating memories of him. I'll leave you with a duet I found of them practicing one of their favorite songs Viva La Vida by Coldplay on the piano. They eventually perfected this and could each play it by themselves amazingly by memory.................