THE SHORT FAMILY
Here we stood, the entire original Short Family, happily wrapping up a fun playful weekend altogether. Smiling, but having no idea what this picture would soon mean to each of us!
This photo was taken the end of July 2012 and is the last photo we have together. It was taken on my iPhone because i could not find my camera and our baby brother Nate was trying to leave for his long drive back to St. George, Utah where he had been attending Dixie State. He told me he didn't have time for pictures because his ride was already here and that we would take a family photo next weekend at our Short reunion in Midway. I felt an overwhelming need for a picture because in my mind I knew he would not show up for the cabin. My family, the Richards family, lives in Texas and we had to leave after the reunion to have the kids back in time for school to start, so I followed him in the house after he had said goodbye to everyone and said, "Nate, PLEASE.........give me five minutes?". He did, he gave us just five minutes, but from that five minutes he gave us a picture that will help through this lifetime!!!
(The last picture I took of just the two of us! He was such a tease. I thought we had agreed on a serious face and he totally cheesed it. At first I was bothered that I didn't smile, but now it makes me laugh because that was so Nate. He was always smiling or making someone laugh!!!)
Nate never did show up for the cabin. Our hearts were broken and minds disappointed, but I had to let him know that he was missed so I text him....(our conversation is posted above). My Texas family did not have plans to visit Utah this Christmas, but my baby brother usually got what he wanted. He MADE it happen "Sooner than that", I found myself on a plane headed into Las Vegas one month and one week later, just in enough time to see him, to tell him I how much I loved him, and to tell him goodbye!!!
It had been a weird few weeks since our return to Texas from our annual summer vacay to Utah. School started up again and I had to put my two baby girls on the bus this year (sad mommy emotions). Then I saw that an old acquaintance had lost her 2 year old baby girl, and then my husbands Grandma passed away. I was feeling a whirl of emotion the night we found out sweet Great Grandma Ruby Mae was on her way out of this life and I expressed concern of us traveling back for the funeral so soon to my husband and to some of our close friends. I was not meaning to be insincere but she was old and had been praying for years to return to her husband in heaven. More than that though, I had something telling me not to go and not even to let my husband go. I asked my girlfriends at dinner that night if I was being insensitive and cheap? I had mixed reviews but I told them my gut feelings, bluntly. I said, "I feel like we might need to save that money, those potential plane tickets for more of an emergency. I honestly feel like someone is going to die and I think it might be my husbands brother Stevie. I do not want him to spend all that money and have him miss work just in case we needed to leave on a whim sooner than later!" Even as I said this it felt wrong, he was the only person that we knew could potentially pass away suddenly since he has been sick for years. Plus, it was all I could do to rationalize and explain my weird thoughts. I told my husband after that dinner with my friends that these feelings I felt were strong and I did not want even him not to go. His parents were insistent that he go and so they decided to purchase a flight for him.
He did attend his grandmothers funeral on his parents dime. When he returned home we had a small conversation with our kids about death and where Great Grandma was now. We even showed our young children pictures of her casket. They had a few questions, said they were sad a couple of times, but then our lives returned to normal (almost). I was having bad dreams, dreams about death and forgetfulness, and my children being injured or killed. I again had nothing to go on except we had just lost a loved one and I thought a lot about that 2 year old baby girl and just chopped it up to that. These dreams were terrible and I would wake up in a panic. One night I woke me up and it woke up my husband. We had an long conversation that night about how we would cope if we lost a child. In my mind things were to good for us....to easy and so we discussed that we would inevitably have to have challenges and trials in our lives. It panicked me again, but he calmed me with details from The Plan of Redemption and The Plan of Salvation. I slept well for a couple of nights after that.
Then Sunday morning, September 9th, I awoke again to a nightmare. I laid in bed wondering what was wrong with me, what trials we could face. At 6:30 am our 13 month woke up too (which is unusual) I went up and sat in the rocking chair with baby boy and played on my phone. I took random pictures snuggled up to my little man. For some reason, I just couldn't put him down, and needed to document that moment........(one pictured above). I then noticed my baby brother Nate had posted something on Facebook that I did not agree with. I had chastised him before publicly on FB and my husband asked me to be more private. I then decided to text him but quickly realized that with our time difference it was only 6:50 am Utah time and he would still be asleep, so I decided I would text him later. The rest of the family woke up shortly after this and my husband had church meetings so it was a normal busy Sunday getting all four of our children and myself ready for church. I, however, felt off! I was clumsy and kind of emotional. When my husband arrived to load up the kids in the car I told him I wasn't going because even my hair would not work right today and I was just feeling a little off. He hugged me, used his charm, convinced me I looked great and we were off to church.
Half way through Sacrament meeting, around 2:15 pm, my hubby leaned over and said, "Your sister has called my phone 4 times in the last few minutes!" My heart sank, something WAS wrong. "Go call her back!!!", I said. He quickly grabbed the baby and went into the hall. Her returned a few minutes later and said she didn't answer so it must not be that important. Sacrament ended and I took my anxious 3 year old to his Nursery class. I sat down with him on my lap and was having a nice conversation with a friend when my husband, Christian, opened the door and told me to come out in the hall. He had THE look on his face. I had seen this look 3 years before, the day our son was born and we almost lost him. The look that told me that things might not be ok. I looked at him and actually shook my head no. He looked at me again and I knew. I didn't know who, or what, or how bad......but I KNEW!
He began to tell me in the hallway of our church that Nate had been in a terrible car accident outside of Las Vegas. I grabbed his phone and called my sister Adri. She was hysterical and said a whole bunch of words I did not want to believe so I asked her to hand the phone to my mom. She started screaming into the phone, "Mandy, he's going to die....he's going to die!!!!" I ran outside saying no over and over again. My mom then faded off the phone and my dad got on. He was more upset then I had ever heard him. He had an anxious tone of desperation that punctured my ear. He told me the police had shown up at their door this morning and said that the Hyundai car they owned had been in an accident and that they have two John Doe in a hospital in Las Vegas, and that they believed one might be their son. He went on to tell me my oldest sister Jen, who also lives in St. George, was almost to Las Vegas (she had jumped in her car the moment she got the call). She was able to identify and confirm it was indeed our Nate-Nate who was labeled as a John Doe by some recent burn marks he had on his forearm. I was then informed that the Trauma doctor taking care of Nate had then spoke with my parents by phone and told them she would try to keep him alive until they got there.
I could not say anything except that I was on my way!!!!
My parents and siblings were already at the Salt Lake Airport about to catch a flight to Las Vegas by the time i received the news, so I knew I had needed to get on a plane right then too. We ran back into the church and I received a priesthood blessing from our good Bishop and Christian. He told us to just go pack and he would bring our kids home shortly. I frantically ran home, packed a suitcase for the baby and myself, booked a flight, briefly explained to our children what was happening, loaded everyone in the car, and my 13 month old and I hysterically jumped on the 6:15 pm flight from Houston to Las Vegas!!!