Monday, November 22, 2010

Gum Wrappers

Today at church as I was sitting in the chapel waiting for the meeting to begin Tyler Poulson came up and handed me Jesse's scriptures while telling me that he'd found them at Jordon Robles where he is living right now.  I experienced a rush of mixed emotions, surprise,  happiness,  and then I burst into tears as I hugged Jesse's scriptures to me,  the pain of missing him flooding me suddenly.  Those around me comforted me,  Sherri Lambourne sitting in front of me,  Gwen Kaiser on my left gave me a tissue and told Tyler I needed a hug, Taeino, Gwen's daughter and Jesse's friend, slid over and held my hand,  mine were not the only tears.  I'd been talking to Gwen about our Thanksgiving plans and how it was difficult this year.

I looked through Jesse's scriptures,  noticing every little thing, his name inscribed on each book Harold Jesse Allen, a lesson on the Plan of Salvation, folded and between the two books, added pages inserted in special places, a piece of card stock with the simple phrase written by his own young hand -- I must never forget that I am a son on God.  I looked over his underlining while noticing all the places my thoughts took me, the memories associated with Jesse and his scriptures,  his hands -- little when he first received them at the age of 8 when he was baptized , and then large, strong hands as he was growing to manhood. There marking D&C 86 was a cobalt blue metallic gum wrapper.  I thought of the many times I'd passed out gum (after the sacrament) to my family, my boys, -- those sitting there in church with me. They knew who to ask :)  I remembered Jesse's head resting in my lap,  stroking his back and hair during the meeting.  How much I missed that.  How much I missed having him sitting there with us in church.  Maybe that is part of the reason that Sundays and church can be so hard now.  When Dennis came and sat down by me I showed him Jesse's scriptures and we both cried as we looked carefully through everything.

We looked at the papers he had in the pockets of his scripture case,  his temple recommend,  a ticket to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dedication. 3 little pieces of papers with quotes  -
                                                            The True measure
  "You can describe a man in inches, pounds, complexion, or physique.  But you measure a man by character, compassion, integrity, tenderness and principle. Simply stated, the measures of a man are embedded in his heart and soul, not in his physical attributes."  (Bishop Richard C. Edgley,  Behold the Man, New Era, May 2000, 4)

"Essential to your success and happiness is the advice 'Choose your friends with caution'. We tend to become like those whom we admire, and they are usually our friends.  We should associate with those who, like us, are planning not for temporary convenience, shallow goals, or narrow ambition,-- but rather with those who value the things that matter most, even eternal objectives.  Maintain an eternal perspective!"  ( Thomas S. Monson, "'Be Thou an Example," Ensign, May 2005, 112)   My Patriarchal Blessing tells me to keep and Eternal Perspective and it is more vital now than ever before in my life.

President Ezra Taft Benson
"Give me a young man who has kept himself morally clean and has faithfully attended his Church meetings. Give me a young man who has magnified his priesthood and has earned his Duty to God Award. ... Give me a young man who is a seminary graduate and has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me such a man, and I will give you a young man who can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life."

I read through all the scriptures he had underlined and marked through out the 8 years he carried and used those scriptures.  I loved doing that.

So many of the verses in his scriptures that he marked I love and want to share -- here are a few.

In his Triple combination the book mark was between 2 Nephi 4 and 5 -- he had marked in yellow (the only scriptures he had marked in yellow) vs 34 and 35 -- "O Lord, I have trusted in thee and I will trust i thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."  vs 35 "Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice into thee; yea, I will cry unto three, my God, the rick of my righteousness.  Behold, my voice shall forever ascent up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

Other scriptures he had marked are --

2 Nephi 2:25, 27  "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."  vs 27 "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (emphasis added by me :))

Mosiah 2:17 "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn, that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God."  That is the verse we put on the book marks we made with his picture and passed out.  He wrote in the margin -- Serving other serves God

2 Nephi 32:3 "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore I say unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."   (He didn't underline the next vs but I love it -- vs 4 "Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.")
2 Nephi 32:8,9 "And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. for if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray." vs 9 "But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of they soul."

2 Nephi 25:26 "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."

I came home from church and opened a new package of gum,  not really paying attention to what flavor I was opening.  It just happened to be Cobalt -- the same flavor of the wrapper that I found in Jesse's scriptures -- I took the wrapper from the piece I got for myself and flattened it out just like the one in his scriptures and I put it in my scriptures marking the same spot I found it in his - D&C 86.  I know it's a small, silly and sentimental thing to do but it's a little reminder of the many Sundays together in church with Jesse and my family.  I thought of the little things we do, sometimes very significant in their meaning -- such as partaking of the sacrament -- things that remind us of very important things -- of covenants, sacrifice, the atonement, resurrection, love, and family.  I took a piece of Cobalt gum to Dennis my husband, and he too placed his wrapper in his scriptures marking D&C 86.

Gum wrappers -- memories and symbols of family and love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Poem from Sharlen Potter --

Loneliness, separation, deep within... a black hole that sucks me in.
I use all within my breach that bottomless cavern in my soul.

People, food, shopping, hobbies...all distractions designed to make me "forget".
Anything...even temporary, feels like relief...and then once again, I am filled with regret.

Oh, the joy of our circle, like those in the garden of Eden...suddenly we were cast out!
The purposes can be reasoned, in a place outside my heart...but what I FEEL brings doubt. 

Then holidays, his heaven day, a birthday, or family celebration comes,
and the ache grows 'til the scab is ripped away...and the bleeding begins again.

I think of our future without him here, see his nephews...both have his name.

I search for a glimpse; a tiny piece of proof he's there...and my dreams become the same.

Goodbyes are agony, homecomings are mountains to scale, word of missionaries
bring happiness and sadness combined.  Music, sports, laughter...are pain and joy intertwined.

His sisters look at me with gut-wrenching tears.  Each new broken heart and adjacent loss, threatens
to push us over the edge...past the point of no return...if we give in to fears. 

Where do we go?  Where do we lay this down?  Is there anywhere to rest?  Every hour a memory, a song, 

a flash of conversation runs through the mind.  He is everywhere.  All roads lead to him...literally...coming and going is a test.

My mind!  Compromised could it possibly not be?  I converse with him internally, always
 trying to shut out the loud, demanding world that keeps me from hearing what I need.

Gone, but never gone...not for a moment.  The weight presses down and hangs a shadow over all our
days and hope for joy coming to stay.

I writhe, I cry, and I let go....sinking.  Then, I feel something...a whisper.  Is it him?  Is it the Father's love?  

Or an echo of days yet to come? 

I look up, and turn my face toward The Son, and toward my son.  I pull myself in the directon he is...and I
choose faith, again. 

I resolve to reach through the window he created to Him...and accept the gift that allows me to believe.

I feel his love for me, his sisters, his father and friends ...our circle he left early to preserve...for eternity.

His love for us, his covenants to keep, those eternal connections are all I seek.  
I refuse to give up and give in, and make his sacrifice for us, be all for nothing.

I climb up, from off my knees with a power not my own, and face this day, while 

breathing the prayer that never leaves...for strength I'll need when I will have to choose...AGAIN. 

Thank you Sharlen -- 
What an amazing heartfelt poem.  Thank you so much for sharing it with us.  


Grief SOS --

My husband sent me a link that has some very helpful information about brain chemistry and grief.  There are things that can be done to help with the grief process - to help brain chemistry in relation to the grief process.  

The site is done by K Paul Stoller MD whose son Galen died suddenly and unexpectedly when he was hit by a train.  Dr Stoller had worked with brain injured children and children with other brain difficulties like cerebral palsy and autism.  Here are a couple of paragraphs from his site to give you an idea of what he has to share.  I think you will find it helpful. 

I am a board certified pediatrician and board certified in hyperbaric medicine. I have been helping brain injured children, such as those with cerebral palsy, autism, traumatic brain injury, and fetal alcohol syndrome, regain significant brain function. In my years of providing assistance, using hyperbaric oxygen, I have observed how the chemistry of the brain affects mood, behavior, and coping skills.
It took me a full month to realize that I had knowledge of something that could be used to, and that I know does, provide assistance to the grieving brain. I have been using the hormone oxytocin, via nasal spray, to help children with brain injury - especially autistic children - cope and feel comfortable during the process of healing. I tried it on myself just as soon as I had this epiphany and found that it provided a sense of emotional equanimity. It allowed my mind and body a level of relief that permitted my emotional and mental processes to flow without the constant obsessive chatter, anxiety, and even panic that accompanies intense acute grieving. The panic and vicious circle of distressful thoughts no longer could stick and fester in my conscious mind (unless I wanted them to be there) – I was given a new sense of emotional freedom.

 Dr. Stoller also talks about how helpful flower essences were to his healing and helping him through the grief process.  He said they probably saved his life.  Two more paragraphs from his site -- 

In the weeks before I discovered the effects of oxytocin on grief, I was fortunate to have been provided with several flower essences that probably saved my life:
Contact (931- 593-2300) and ask for a combination of three flowers to be sent to you as soon as possible: Healing Heart, Heart Mend, and Flor del Oso. The FlorAlive website has full instructions on how to take these subtle but powerful remedies and I support the method used by FlorAlive;
I also found another flower, sold by the Flower Essence Society (, Love-Lies-Bleeding (Amaranthus), to be very helpful.

Blessings to all of us who are working our way through the grief process -- may we find healing in the many modalities that are out there, through the spirit and through each other. 


Saturday, November 13, 2010


Yesterday I went to the funeral of Rose Bigney the mother of a dear friend,  and a dear friend to me.  Having gone through the experience of planning a "farewell" (funeral, we found out that people got) for my son I learned a lot about the whole process.

I have come to believe even stronger now, that a funeral is most often the final departing message of the one who is leaving.  I spoke as Jesse's farewell/funeral and I didn't have anything written out, no notes,  just a quote from Marianne Williamson -- Our Greatest Fear that was printed on the program.   Nelson Mandella is often credited for Marianne's quote.  I felt impressed that Marianne's quote was supposed to be part of my remarks.  The message I gave flowed effortless, I had the general idea of what I wanted to say,  the message that I felt Jesse wanted shared.  That was what felt important to me.  We all spoke at Jesse's funeral,  our whole family,  all his siblings, and parents.  We have it recorded and maybe one of these days I'll transcribe my remarks here.  I will post Marianne Williamson's quote here now.

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Often said to have been quoted in a speech by Nelson Mandela. The source is Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, Harper Collins, 1992. —Peter McLaughlin]

That was how Jesse lived his life -- without fear -- he embodied the super hero.  He carried that air of invincibility and loved to be himself.  He enjoyed his life and who he was and that invited those around him to do the same.  He lived without the fear of what his heart disease would or could do.  I don't know how much or how often he had what he called "episodes".  I only found out about his pain after he died.  He didn't let it stop him from carrying his friends and his sister on his back in play and in enjoying the manliness and strength of his physical body.  I wrote that Jesse didn't let his heart disease stop him from living until it stopped his life.

Back to the nuts and bolts of grieving.  I cried yesterday,  cried at the pain of losing another friend to graduation from Earth School as some call it.  I cried to see my dear friends also left behind feeling the pain of being left behind.  I cried when I found out that yet another loved one has graduated - just yesterday.  Doug Banks.  He underwent 9 hours of heart surgery the day before.  There are times when life feels so unstable that I lose my bearing a bit --- or a lot.  It gets hard to function - to think of what to wear or eat.  The very basics seem too hard to do at times.  There are times the pain is so acute it seems too hard to breathe anymore.  It have given new meaning to the scriptures that talk about God granting our every breath.  Yes I have a new appreciation for what that means.  That reminds me of one of the more recent poems I wrote called "Can't Breathe".

Can't Breathe

Catching a glimpse of you -- 
your smile,
Now, only a photo

Remembering the feelings
of having you here - near

Just as quickly,
the realization

It will never be again --
you here.

It hit's hard,
taking my breath away,
I can't breathe 

A part of me 
will never
be used to you
not being here.

I fight for breath
gasping for air
seized by pain
that grips my heart and lungs.

I'm sorry I'm so sad ~
I don't know how
to not miss you,
to not hurt.

So ~ I cry
I fight for breath
as waves of pain and grief
wash over, around and through me ~

Until I can breathe
Once again 

-- Elizabeth M Allen

A friend of mine who lost her son 3 1/2 years ago now talked to me yesterday at Rose's funeral.  I was present at the passing of her son.  I happened to be a First Responder at the time and I bagged him in his room and then all the way to the hospital in the ambulance.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced.  I prayed for him ... prayed that his life be spared ..... God's ways are not our ways and we often don't know his greater plan.  I comfort myself ... or try to, at times ... with that thought.  When answers come that don't fit in our plan it can hurt and feel like we've been abandoned or that we are unfavored or even unloved.  I hold on with all my faith that all those beliefs are false.  

Back to my friend Nancy at the funeral.  She has been so thoughtful and kind like so many have.  She has come over to talk to me.  She told me that 6 months is the low ... a warning of sorts ... letting me know that when things don't get easier don't feel like it's just me ... it's actually the norm.  She said when it happened to her after one of her babies was still born she got out the papers she'd been given on grief and read them to find out that sure enough,  it is normal to continue downhill after the loss of a child or significant other.

So here I am 4 months in and I can relate, to those times when it feels like time is the enemy taking me further away from my boy ... further away from the memories,  further away from when I was with him.  We cried together Nancy and I.  She shared some of the miracles that have happened since the death of her boy, Jared.  His appearance to one of his dear friends in an amazing dream. Jesse too has visited many by way of dreams.  Those who seem so far from us yet are so near have their ways ... their ways of letting us know they are near.  I think it would be nice to write a book just on that one topic.  Stories of how those who have graduated communicate to those of us who are still here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

4 months ago --

It was 4 months ago today -- that Jesse died -- I think of him all the time and some days are just a little harder.
I shared the videos that Vania, Jace and Glenna made of Jesse, I love to share in that way.  I'll put links to them here ... when I figure that out.

I'm here in California with the Salem Hills HS debate team. Jesse was on the debate team last year.  I think part of the reason I'm here is because Jesse was on the debate team.  I find that when those monthly anniversary's come around it is hard not to think about what was happening -- 4 months ago.  Why do we do that to ourselves?  Is it doing our best to stay connected somehow?  I love watching the videos of Jesse.  In fact Collette that I shared the videos with said that her husband said that our memories are roses in December.  Our memories are what we still have with us, of our loved one who is no longer here in the flesh.  We share and we cry together.  It is just part of the whole grieving process.  It is part of life -- a part of life we do our best to avoid.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ifs ...

What if ...
If only ....

All the ifs in life.
What if I'd known you were having trouble?

What if I'd worked on you?
Taken better care of you?

If only I had ...
worked on you ..
taken better care of you.

Even though I know
You'd be here if it was meant to be ...

I regret that I never worked on you.
That you never told me of your pain.

Did you know?  Did your fear or suspect?
Is that why you lived with such abandon and with out fear?

What if I'd known about your pain?
What if I'd said - "No you can't go ... "

If I'd been there ... 
with you ... 
could I have kept you here?

I would have held you in my arms -- 
My baby, my son, my boy ... 

Would you still be here? Maybe?

Thanks for whispering to me --
that it needed to be the way it is,
for letting it be a little easier.

Thanks for helping to ease the pain of regret,
for answering the ifs.

Is there an easier way?
To say good bye?
To let go?

It's OK  ~

Go ~

Do ~

Be ~

Where He would have you Go,
to Do what He would have you Do,
to Be what He would have you Be ...

Elizabeth Allen - Aug 11, 2010

Some history

Jesse was/is the youngest of 8.  He had 3 older brothers and 4 older sisters.  He was a delight,  always happy and making people laugh.  So many of his teachers told me that same thing.  He had a gift for bring joy and happiness to those around him.  He loved life and made it fun.  He loved who he was.  He was able to carry off the embodiment of a super hero.  He even made himself a superhero costume .... that he gleefully wore and ran around in at school.  He had a superhero name he made up,  Mastoonpa!  I'll add his post from facebook about how he came up with that name.

the genesis of MASTOONPA!

by Jesse Allen on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 12:39am

so in mastoonpas brain he was trying to think of a name worthy to behold this EPIC fellow and first mastadon came to mind but mastoonpa recognized that was a bands name so no, then he though mufasa like lion king but mastoonpa could not steal someones name it har to be origonal so with his wizardly cunning he tricked mastadon into running that way and mufassah into running that way and then THEY COLLIDED! *GA_BOOSHFBAVSBKGUD* and as the dust began to settle in the midst of it arose a hero MASTOONPA!!!

    • Jesse Allen mastoonpa = ME!!!
      October 6, 2009 at 12:48am · 
    • Jesse Allen mastoonpa = WIZARD! and he is a class of wizard to rival the greats! such as merlin and dumbldore!
      October 6, 2009 at 12:49am · 
    • Aaron Jolly Okay...this is kinda random...
      October 6, 2009 at 3:45pm · 
    • Jesse Allen hahaha yup it is
      October 6, 2009 at 7:26pm · 
    • Shannon Glines Next thing you know he'll be changing in a telephone booth.
      October 7, 2009 at 3:37pm · 
    • Jesse Allen hahahaha the esteemed mastoonpa need not hide his identity from the world. hahaha if some misguided fool makes an attempt to get a pic of me... his brain will implode... the great mastoonpa need hide from no man, creature or entity... he decimates all BUAHAHAHAHAHA
      October 7, 2009 at 3:40pm · 
    • Shannon Glines Wow..Thats deep. I'm scare now...baha
    • Shannon Glines BTW...Decimation is overrated :p
      October 7, 2009 at 4:27pm · 
    • Jesse Allen hahaha i never said i do it a lot... only those who oppose me, or try to take my picture
      October 7, 2009 at 4:28pm · 
    • Aaron Jolly Haha...
      October 7, 2009 at 8:33pm · 

We knew that Jesse had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  A disease that enlarges the heart and  scrambles the heart muscles so that the heart ends up beating irregularly and ineffectively.  Our daughter Glenna was the first one in our family to show symptoms of the disease and when she was finally diagnosed in her senior year of High School we were told that we should have everyone in our family screened for the disease.

We went and took our children who were still living at home to have echo cardiograms done.  We found out that  Dennis, Jesse's father,  Jesse and his older brother Stefen also had the disease.  Jesse was in Jr High, 7th grade when he was first diagnosed.  His cardiologist was more concerned about Jesse because his blood pressure would drop during the stress test part of the testing.  We had just gone in Nov of 2009 for check ups and Stefen and Jesse had halter tests done as well as the other testing.  I wonder now what that test showed ... wonder why an ICD wasn't recommended.  It was hard to hear that such a device could have saved Jesse's life,  a device that Dennis and Stefen now have as a result of Jesse's death.  Does it really need to take a death?

There are so many If's when someone dies.  That was one of the poems I wrote -- Ifs.  All the what ifs and If Only's.

Coming to find peace in this situation has been quite the journey.  I believe that we don't die before our time,  and know that it was the perfect time for Jesse to go .... down to the second of his death,  and still ... it can be so hard in so many ways.  The knowing of the mind doesn't always relieve the suffering of the heart.  We will never not miss Jesse.  He was and continues to be such a bright light in our lives.

Jesse never once complained about not feeling well.  Even when he was having sever trouble.  Maybe he was so convinced of his invincibility .... as so many youth are.  Maybe he was afraid I'd say no .... you can't ... Just a few days before his death he was having trouble that was obvious to some of his siblings,  but I never knew about that until after his death.  More of those what if's ... useless what if's.


Listening ~
Oh so carefully,
to whispers, 
from silenced lips --
silenced by death. 

Ahhh, but -- 

Just a trick,
for there is no death. 

Beyond this sphere,
through the veil
you have gone.

Listening carefully
I still hear your laugh,
music to my ears. 

Only my spiritual eyes and ears 
see and hear you now ... 

Still a prankster, 
smirking and playing tricks,
Making yourself and your wishes known.

Bringing peace and comfort 
to those left behind. 
How you are loved!

You brought so many smiles, 
so much laughter and fun. 

Though your body 
lies in the ground, 
also left behind, ...

We know you soar ~ 
High and Far -- 
Spreading your wings of love
over all. 

My angel son,
How you blessed us,
in life,
and now in your New Birth - 
into Life Beyond. 

I love you Jesse,

I love you forever ~~ 

Love Mom <3 <3