Sunday, June 5, 2011


I watched Nie Nie's Glenn Beck interview a couple days ago. It inspired me to be better and have more faith and also to use the experiences I have had to help others. I don't know if anything I have felt or dealt with could be of any help to anyone, but I want to try. I want people to know that hope is so important in our lives.

If you don't know me or my past, here's my story.

The year I was born was the same year my oldest brother, Ethan, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He had been falling a lot and was slower than the other kids his age, even kids much younger than he was. As he grew, my sister and brother and I watched his disease progress from bad to worse until finally he was in a wheelchair full time at age 12 or 13. Soon after his legs could no longer walk, his arms could no longer be lifted and his back could no longer pull him out of a bent position. He got weaker and weaker. It was difficult to watch.

When I was 15 and a sophomore in high school, my second brother, Ben, went on a 2-year LDS mission for our church. He was called to serve in Argentina and he loved it there. On December 2, 2005, my dad picked my sister and me up early from school with tears running down his cheeks. My first thoughts turned to my sick eldest brother and my stomach sank. But then my dad said "we lost Ben." I couldn't believe it was Ben. Ben was the only healthy brother (by this time I had two younger brothers, both of whom were diagnosed with the same ugly disease as our oldest brother), how could he be the one taken away so soon? I had prepared at least a little bit for Ethan to go, but not Ben. His death threw me into a spiral of confusion and hurt and distrust. His funeral was hard, so hard. Ethan took it so hard. Ben had been a Marine and missionary, everything Ethan had always dreamed of being, and now this beloved brother was gone from him.

Life went on and my three remaining brothers continued to deteriorate. Finally, on January 17th 2009, my dad walked into my work, again with tears in his eyes, and he told me softly that Ethan was gone. I was comforted in the first few moments knowing he was better off where he now was, but then the horror and the hurt choked me. I wrenched and sobbed as another brother left me here alone. I left work and went to his empty, skinny body, lying on his bed. That image is in my mind so often. I miss him so much.

Cade and Colby, the youngest two and twins, are now completing steps that I watched Ethan go through. They drive wheelchairs instead of run, they play stationary games instead of baseball and I can't help but cry often for them. I have seen the rest of their lives, and it is a sad life. They know how their story ends, and so do I. It ends with loss of all function until death is welcome and anticipated. It comes, always too soon but never soon enough and, at last, they are gone from me, just like their brothers. I will miss their sweet little bodies, their laughter and their faces. Their sweet spirits.

Whenever this pain and hurt seems too much to bear and I want this ride to be over, I remember my Savior. Sometimes the hurt goes on for hours, even days at a time but always, every time, the Savior brings me out by the hand into His light. My life is good, my life is wonderful, even with all the pain I feel. I know there is hope for me. And I know there is hope for every one of you. Everyone hurts sometimes, but the Savior is there every time to lead you by the hand and save you from your own grief. He offers relief to the daily pain of life, for me and for all people. I will see my Ben and my Ethan, my Cade and my Colby again. I will get them forever. I know this is hope. And it is the Savior who offers it. Take it, and He will heal you.


The Milliron Family said...

Emily, I freaking love you. Seriously. Your story is a rare one but your courage and faith in the Lord are also rare. I don't meet a lot of people like YOU. You know my story as well. It's been a hard one also. But it's amazing how having faith in our Heavenly Father makes it easier to stand on our feet. It doesn't make it easier to bare these challenges and sad times, but it certainly make it easier to look forward to the days when we have our loved ones with us - and we never lose them again.

I sure do love you friend !

Alison Olsen said...

Love you Emily ... I know your story and still I have tears running down my cheeks ... you and your family do so much good through "being good" as you endure hard things. You are a great example!

Jenna Baker said...

Emily, your story has always touched me, and reading it now- it touches me more than it ever has before. You are an amazing person and the Lord blessed me by having us meet. I was inspired by your faith and your determination. I have always been touched by you and I couldn't be more grateful for the example you set. You are truly a phenomenal person Emily. I love you so much, even though I don't know you as well as I wish I did. I know you'll be blessed for the sacrifices you have had to make. God bless you.

Britney Jean said...

Emily, you're amazing. you truly are. i remember the day that ben died and i remember going to his funeral. the whole time i just kept thinking how amazing you and your family truly are. you've been dealt a difficult life, but you have been strengthened by it. You guys are such great examples of hope, faith and relying upon the Savior and the knowledge we are blessed to have. i'm so glad that i know you. i love you girl!

Jillene said...

Emily, Thank you for sharing this! Britney has told me some of this in the past and what a great example and strength you have been to her. I KNOW you have had an impact on her life. The first time I spent some time with you in my home, I knew you were a very strong and special girl. I know your sweet spirit influences many. I am sure that your trials have come with blessings also and you use that to strengthen others. I was very good friends with your mom in HS, especially our sophomore year and my heart also goes out to her but she is a wonderful lady who has done a tremendous job in raising an amazing family. Wow. Give her a hug for me! And you girl, keep doing what you are doing! You radiate Christ in your life and you are a total "sweetheart"!!


{Jillene Petersen & Britney's momma}

PS. We taped that GB show and Kirt & I just watched it today. You have that same gift that "NieNie" has... Thanks for sharing it with others! :):)

Jen said...

I couldn't be more happy to have you in my family and i feel so blessed to have gotten to know your family these past few years.
I Love you so much!

Cami said...

Your children are with Ethan and Ben now as they await to come to earth. They are enjoying this time together and learning together. Your children will bring Love from heaven to your sweet family.

Kelsey Jackson said...

Em I love you! I am so grateful for my friendship with you at a young age. I have been able to watch a small piece of your trial, and I could not be more amazed. You have strengthened my testimony by your example and testimony. Thank you for all you have taught me over the years! I love you!