Monday, January 6, 2014

grief (part 1)

i have started and deleted this post a dozen times. i have felt that i need to say something but words still fall short.

it was almost one year ago that i sat in bed next to mike as he sipped blue gatorade. he'd had the flu for a few days but was starting to feel better. we joked about me giving him a sponge bath because he felt too dizzy to take a shower. i was tired; we hadn't slept all week. we didn't want me to get the flu for the babies, so he had slept downstairs a couple nights but that night i offered to sleep downstairs so he could sleep better in the bed. i put socks on his cold feet. i took a sleeping pill. i told him i loved him and would just be downstairs if he needed me.

when i woke up the next morning, i knew instantly that every dream and every plan--the life we had built together--was gone. the one person i love most and was dependent on for everything had been taken and there wasn't a thing i could do. i felt (and still do sometimes) numb and in shock for a while. then the grief set in.

at its worst, grief leaves me debilitated, depressed and despairing. it's isolating and consuming and numbing. it's exhausting and requires constant vigilence to control every thought, because if left to run free, grief has made me want to die.

but at its best, there is something holy about grief. grief refines me. grief teaches me that God chastens those he loves. it has refocused my priorities and directs every choice i make. it leaves me softer, more receptive, more raw and vulnerable. grief increases my capacity to feel.

the Savior said "blessed are those who mourn." i mourn. i grieve. and i am blessed. His grace has been my supply. i am overwhelmed at having tasted even the smallest portion of His mercy and goodness. He continues to create peace through the heartache and hope through the despair.

people often say that their spouse is their better half. if that were true, losing that half would be a clean cut, simply a missing piece. losing mike has been neither of those things. he wasn't my better half; he is what made me whole. he made me who i am through his life and now his death. because of him i know what it means to love and be loved. i know what happiness is. i know what heaven will feel like and i know i want it.

i haven't been cut or severed from him; he is still close and will always be part of our life. but our life, which is now simply "my" life, has been broken and destroyed. someone once described it to me as a glass shattering in a million tiny pieces that can't be put together in the same way again. instead, you have to create a new glass through which to view life.

so i'm trying to create that new glass, relying on God and mike and our huck and fin. these babies make the view pretty sweet.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

my life is now before and after. two distinctly different lives. it goes without saying which was better. i'm watching everyone around me carry on with life unaffected while i sit here in shock and thankfully still a little numb. i can't believe that all that's left of my husband are pictures and memories. and soon our miracle babies. i have a lot to say but no way to say it. there are things i want to share and things i'm praying to forget. all in due time, i suppose.

one thing i need to say is THANK YOU. i'm still overwhelmed at how many people have generously reached out to us through donations, phone calls, cards, emails, stopping by with baby gifts, stopping by to share memories of mike...the list goes on and on. thank you to all who have offered prayers and love and support. it hasn't gone unnoticed and i know i've been given strength beyond my own to get through this last month. thank you, thank you.

as someone once wrote, my heart will never be the same but i'm telling myself i'll be ok.


the most recent photo of us, taken at my cousin's baby blessing at the end of december
HEBER--Michael Hjorth Kropf, “Goldberg,” returned to his Heavenly Father on Jan. 12, 2013 after unexpectedly passing away from a pulmonary embolism. He was born Oct. 13, 1982 in Logan, UT to Steven and Diane Kropf. He graduated from Mt. Crest High School.

Mike was an Eagle Scout and faithfully served a Spanish-speaking LDS mission in Arcadia, CA. Mike attended Utah State University where he received a degree in Human Resource Mgmt. Mike married Carly Allen in the Logan temple on Oct. 18, 2006. He was the best husband a girl could ask for and leaves behind an adoring wife who is expecting their first children—a boy and girl—due in May. He could hardly wait to be a dad.

He spent his life serving and loving others. He was our quiet giant and lived his life with compassion for everyone. He touched the hearts of all who knew him through his pure, Christ-like personality. He is an active member of the LDS church and served in multple Elder’s Quorom presidencies. He enjoyed hunting birds, playing golf, and all things sports related. He’s an avid USU fan and showed up for games hours early. He loved training and spending time with his dog Coco.

Mike was employed at Delta Stone in Heber City. He previously worked for the Driver’s License Division and Chase Bank in Logan.

Mike is survived by his wife, Carly, his parents, Steven and Diane, brother Jared (Sharon), brother Tim (Carrie), sister Beth (Jeff), and sister Amanda (Quintin). He is also survived by in-laws Gary and Susan Allen of Pleasant View, brother-in-law Drew (Leslie) and sisters-in law Kennedy and Paige.

“Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.”

Thursday, December 20, 2012


today marks 19 weeks of being pregnant, which means we are at least halfway through this pregnancy. for memory's sake, here's one of those cliche pregnancy questionnaires. i'm treating this like it will be our only pregnancy, so i'm trying to savor and remember every bit of it!

surprise or planned pregnancy?
planned, but we were still very surprised. i had really come to terms with having dogs as children and putting all my energy and focus on my husband and my job. a frozen embryo transfer has about a 60% success rate, so we weren't expecting much, let alone expecting TWO. that was a wonderful surprise.

boy or girl? did you have a preference?
one of each! that was/is our preference.

pregnancy symptoms?
food aversions, nausea, heartburn, headaches, forgetfulness (when i told mike this is a symptom of pregnancy, he said, "you are DEFINITELY pregnant.") and generally feeling really lethargic and lazy the first trimester.

your weight gain?
i probably will never answer this question again, but i lost 15 pounds in the first trimester. i've gained most of that back, but i'm still down a few pounds from when we first got pregnant.

your cravings?
i wouldn't say i've had cravings--just the thought of food was enough to make me throw up until recently--but a few things didn't make me throw up: bananas, bagels, bread, and apples. and one food that i don't really like but didn't cause me to dry heave when thinking of eating it: mashed potatoes. we've taken a few too many trips to KFC for mashed potatoes.

best moment of this pregnancy?
hard to pick just was awesome finding out that there are two, "graduating" from our fertility clinic (which we LOVED), hearing their heartbeats, watching them box each other during the ultrasounds, and telling our families.

have you felt the baby move?
no! i am really looking forward to this part. one of my placentas is in front of the babies so the doctor said i probably wouldn't feel anything before 20 weeks, maybe longer.

have you gone shopping yet?
yes, and shopping for a girl and boy is bad news. it's too much fun to shop on both sides of carters!

what are you looking forward to most?
i'm excited to feel them move. i'm excited for labor and delivery, excited to lather them with yummy smelling baby magic, excited for mike to give them a name and a blessing, and looking forward to just holding them in our arms.

for those of you who get lots of the "are you pregnant yet" questions that are more prominent during the holidays, i thought this post was funny!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


we got to have thanksgiving dinner with kennedy this year. we were very excited to have her in utah. we celebrated wednesday night because that was the only night she was allowed to be with us. after stuffing our faces, we got everyone together for a group picture/video...
then mike got so excited/nervous that he pushed the pause button on the camera. but what he said was "on the count of three, everybody say cheese. 1...2....carly's pregnant!"
and here are the reactions we got:
then he realized he pushed pause and started recording again...
 and in case you can't hear, he said "oh, and there's more's two."
so yes...we have more than ever to be thankful for this year! i am 17 weeks and due may 11, but will likely deliver in april, just a couple of weeks before we finish building our house. life is about to get really awesome around here.
while i am so excited i can hardly stand it, my heart hurts because i know some of you are praying for the same miracle. i'm praying for you too. i'm so sorry if this announcement brings pain or sadness. i've been there, and i don't think i'll soon forget what infertility feels like. you are not alone, and i know God will answer your prayer in His own time and His own way just as he has ours.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

6 years

six years ago today, mike and i sat at pizza plus in hyrum eating greasy pizza and the most amazing cheese bread. (probably not the most figure friendly meal to eat when i had to fit in a wedding dress the next day. don't judge.) i had to go to logan to pick up my wedding dress which meant we were in the same town with an hour to spare before i had to help set up for the reception and before he had to set up for the luncheon.

it was kind of surreal sitting there. it felt like we shouldn't have time to be so relaxed--just the two of us enjoying a quiet dinner the night before our wedding. i had a similar surreal feeling the next morning as we sat together in the temple: can this be real? and i've had the same feeling so many times since that day six years ago. how did i get so lucky? how is it that this is my life?

in those moments, i say a prayer of thanks to God and tell my husband how wonderful he is. without getting too sentimental, cheesy, or cliche, i just have to say that i never imagined being married would be this great.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

ordinary, every day world

i loved molly's blog post. i don't always express gratitude for how beautiful the ordinary really is, and i'm not great at documenting it. so here are some things i love that have become our ordinary world right now:

~our neighbors. across the street, we have two revival churches of sorts. they sing and preach in spanish so i never know what they are saying, but i tell you they have some exciting worship meetings. i love tuesday and friday evenings when their tuba shakes our walls. our neighbors on both sides of our house are two of the sweetest ladies you'll ever meet. they are the best of friends. joann picks ella up 2 or 3 times a week just to get her out of the house. they go to mcdonald's for a coke, arby's for a milkshake, and KFC for the tuesday $2.99 special. they go to the dollar store, wal-mart, and are both quite fond of chuck-a-rama. it's great coming home at the same time they do and listening to their adventures from the day.

~our long grass. sure it looks like a jungle and coco gets lost in it, but it's nice not really stressing about yard work.

~the grocery store. it's a different experience shopping in our little town. no one is in a hurry. customer service is seriously lacking. the shelves are picked over if you go after 11 am, and we have the lamest wal-mart known to mankind. but for some odd reason, i've become fond of this quirky place.

~fall. it's the best season. the colors this year are incredible. i'm feeling like cooking again. and we are loving fall TV: parenthood and new girl (and of course lots of football.)

~coco messing up the rug and sliding across the floor when she hears mike's car pull in. she just can't contain her excitement!

our days are as ordinary as they come. wake up, go to work, come home, cook dinner, clean up, watch tv, repeat. i feel blessed to have this routine. it means we have jobs and income. it means we have food to eat and a bed to sleep in. more importantly, it means we have someone to come home to, and that's something i don't take for granted.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

in a nutshell, august was pretty great. it seemed to be the fullest month of the summer for us.

we explored the natural history museum of utah. maybe this is weird but my favorite part was the view. and checking out the pervious pavement/amazing concrete work.

friends visited from out of town. we may have spent most of our lunch in tears as we talked about what we've all been through this summer. i think this lunch was needed for all of us; i definitely had a perspective shift after talking. 

we toured the parade of homes in salt lake. i convinced mike that we're going to have white kitchen cabinets in our next house. i also convinced him that we need a barn door somewhere in the house.

we took a final summer trip to the cabin. it was a quick weekend trip, but we caught up on season 7 of 24, dined at the grizzly bar, and spent a day in big sky.

i'm pretty glad that this summer is over and more than happy to welcome a new season--yay for football, long drives, cool air and cooking up deliciousness in the kitchen.