One that goes before, showing the others the way to follow.
In the state of Utah and in lives of Latter-day Saints across the world, today is an important day. Pioneer Day. We celebrate those who have gone before, and particularly the sacrifices that they made along the way.
For the rest of my life, Pioneer Day will never be the same. It was on this day last year that we laid our daughters to rest. We didn't choose the day because it was Pioneer Day, it just happened to be the day that was going to work best for family members to gather. I've been thinking a lot today about the events on this day one year ago - the private viewing with our family members (which will forever be one of the most sacred of my life's experiences), the memorial service, the graveside service, the time spent with family, the comfort that literally carried us through all the events of that day.
I remember it was a long day. I remember laying in bed that night feeling reassured that we had made the right choices for us that would help us properly grieve.
Today, a year later, while I've reflected on some of the events and experiences from the memorial service for our twins, I've also been thinking about my pioneer heritage. There are some incredible stories in my family about relatives that made unimaginable sacrifices, leaving family and security. I recognize that many of my blessings today are a direct result of the choices made by my ancestors. I plan on meeting them one day, thanking them for their sacrifices, mingling my tears with theirs.
But, today I'm grateful for certain other pioneers in my life that might not seem as obvious on the surface. As we've gone through some crazy months of unpredictable emotions and experiences that have left us confused and numb, we've been blessed by the company of a few who have already walked this path. These are people who have grieved their own losses, who know the twists and turns, who understand our heavy hearts, who have been willing to walk the path with us, showing us the way. I'm convinced that divine intervention has played a role in allowing our paths to cross with some of the most compassionate and empathetic people we have ever known. These are pioneers with whom we've already mingled our tears with theirs.
As my thoughts have turned to these different types of pioneers, I've thought of my girls. They, too, are pioneers. As they've gone before us to a new place, they've inspired us to want to follow their lead, doing whatever is required of us to get to where they are. And, we will do anything to make it there.
I'm relieved we made it through the heaviness that resurfaced last week... I seriously wondered if we would. It's a relief when the calm returns and we remember again what it's like to breathe without the panic. On this Pioneer Day, I feel especially relieved to have people in my life (past, present, and future) who are personal pioneers, trailblazing the path ahead, helping me make progress in my journey to a better world, leaving me with the hope that I can also be a pioneer for those yet to follow.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson