I'm just going to start writing about Rheese. I don't know where it will take me or what stories I will end up telling but I hope that you will be able to know a little bit more about our one in million boy. I will probably jump around quite a bit. I hope that you will come back to see what's new because I will continue to add more stories. And trust me, with Rheese, there are a lot of stories. I am so proud to be his mom. I was given the opportunity to raise this choice spirit of our Heavenly Father for 11 years. I don't know what I did in the pre-existence to deserve him, but I'm glad that I did.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Our Rheesey Balloon

On February 15, 2011, the day after Valentine's Day, Chad took Rheese up to Fry's with him.  When they got home, Rheese had this great, big heart balloon that said, "Happy Valentine's Day" on it.  They just gave it to him because Valentine's Day was over.  It had a clip on the bottom and he clipped it to something in the game area so it wouldn't fly to the ceiling.  It was there until last summer when it was accidently let go and it floated to the ceiling where it stayed.  We couldn't get it down because of how tall our ceilings are but we liked seeing it there, watching over us.  The balloon just stayed in it's own little corner of the living room only moving a few feet.  We started wondering how long it would stay up there and Seth said that he wondered if it would come down on March 11th, the day Rheese left for his eternal home.  I remember kind of laughing and thinking, "Ya, right, what are the odds of it coming down on that day and balloons don't stay up that long", but saying, "Wouldn't that be kind of weird if that happened."  As the months passed we all started wondering if it would indeed stay up until then.  We also began to think of the balloon as a reminder that Rheese was there, watching out for us.  On February 15, 2012, a year after Rheese brought it home, this is where the balloon was, right where it had been all along and where it stayed until March 4th.

March 4th was the Sunday before the 11th.  It was Fast Sunday and both George and I bore our testimonies.  It was a church service filled with the Spirit and wonderful lessons from our teachers.  When we came home from church I went right upstairs.  When I came around the corner at the top of the stairs I almost ran into the balloon.  The balloon had never gone in the hallway before.  Tears came to my eyes and I felt Rheese was telling me that it was ok, he was there and he was ok.  I took the balloon and pushed it back into the living room.  Later on that evening it was back in the hallway and I again pushed it back to the living room.  We really started wondering if it would come down on March 11th.  

On Mon., March 5th, I came out of my room and the balloon was right next to Chad's door.

As I was standing there the balloon started to go down.  It then went under the doorway and into Chad's room, then rose back to the ceiling.  I think my eyes got as big as saucers because I had never seen a balloon do something like that.

We put it back into the living room but it continued to hang around the stairs.

On the evening of March 6th, the balloon came down.

George decided to take the string off of it and it went back up, right to where it had been during the week. 

Since the balloon was just hovering in the living room, I always felt that Rheese was saying that he had been there watching over us for the past year but it was time for him to move on and take care of other things he needed to do because we were ok.  Not that he wouldn't ever be with us again, but maybe not as much.  George even said to me, "Is he telling us he's leaving?"

Over the next couple of days we would find the balloon in various places.  At one point I came downstairs and couldn't find it.  My heart sank and I asked where it was.  One of the boys went to find it and it was down the hallway by Seth's bedroom.  They brought it back to the living room.  Once, I came out of my bedroom and it was poking thru one of the arches of the hallway.  It was kind of at an angle and looked like someone peeking around a corner.  I could see the great, big smile on Rheese's face and him saying, "Hi Mom!"  Then hear his little giggle.

On the night of Sat., March 10th, Lane came into our room telling us that the balloon was following him.  He said it was kind of scaring him.  We told him that it was nothing to be afraid of and to just think of it as Rheese being with him.  That seemed to satisfy him and he went into his room.  George and I were in our room with the door open and the balloon came in.  Lane said he watched it as it floated down the hall, it bumped into the picture of Rheese that is at the end of the hallway right next to our room, then it turned and came into our room.  

It floated to our bed and came right up to George.

We were in complete amazement as we were watching what was happening.
The balloon hovered in front of George for probably 30 seconds then floated back up to the ceiling.

It floated back to the doorway and stayed there until the next morning. 

I texted pictures of this and told my sister what it was doing.  She said, "There's no way Rheese isn't pulling the string of that balloon and laughing that we are so amazed at what it is doing."  I have to agree with her :).

In the morning, George had to move the balloon so he could shut the door.  It hovered in the middle of our room for a while as we got ready for church.  Once the door was opened, it went down the hallway.  When we got home from church we found the balloon in Troy's room, sitting on his rocking chair.  I was really bummed that I didn't have my camera because when I went to get it the balloon moved and this is where it was when I got back.

 The bottom of the balloon was touching the ground and it never went back up.

Our Rheesey balloon watched over us for an entire year.  Balloons don't stay up for that long and they definitely don't do the things this one did.  I don't believe in coincidence.  Everything happens for a reason.  I plan on framing the balloon and putting it on the wall way up high where it floated for a year, that way it will always be there as a reminder that Rheese is watching over us.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Whole Year Without Rheese- March 11, 2012

I can't believe that a whole year has passed without Rheese.  A year ago I wondered how we would be able to do it, but we did.  I still can't imagine how we will get thru possibly another 40 years.  It just seems like so long to not see him.  It's more than the number of years I've been alive and it seems impossible, but I guess we'll get thru it the same as this last year which was one day at a time.  We all miss Rheese like crazy and there isn't a day that goes by that we don't talk about him.
I wanted to take something to Rheese's grave that would be happy and last longer than flowers.  I saw these pinwheels and knew they were the perfect thing.  What a great way to celebrate Spring.  Pinwheels are so happy and I always want people to be happy when they go see Rheese.  Unfortunately, they were missing when we went a few weeks later.  I really hope that something happened to them accidentally and that no one took them.  There were many other pinwheels around the cemetery that no one touched so hopefully their disappearance was accidental.  I just hope Rheese enjoyed them while they were there.  

George didn't feel good but went with me and layed down next to Rheese.  He had his hand like this and I asked him what he was doing.  He said he was holding hands with Rheese.  I'm sure he was :).

Friday, January 6, 2012

School Ornaments

When we were decorating the Christmas tree I found this ornament that Rheese had made back in 2nd grade. It was one that I had obviously seen before and thought was very cute but it had a whole new meaning this year. There is a poem attached to it that is mostly typed but he filled in the blanks with an item that is placed inside the ornament. Here's what it said: I've put together this gift for you,
a present that's neither old nor new.
In this ornament you will find,
a gift that's truely one of a kind.

A bear for you to hug if ever I'm away.
A mirror to show you the one I love on any given day.
A bell so you can ring for me, no matter where you are.
A string to bind us together, whether near or far.
An angel to watch over us until we both grow old.
A warm fuzzy to let you know that I love you heart and soul.
An eraser to fix mistakes from things we maybe shouldn't say.
A band aid to cover the hurt feelings we may have along the way.
A snowflake to tell you how unique you are to me.
A knot to remember that my loves a guarantee.
A clothespin to remind you to always hold me tight.
And a puzzle piece to tell you that you complete my life.
A carmoa (caramel) to let you know just how much I think you're sweet.
And having you as my parents makes my life complete.

And last, but not least,
A heart to remind you
that even though the years will pass
through our fingers like sand,
you'll always have a piece of my heart
to hold inside your hand.


I know his teacher never knew how much this simple art project would mean to us one day. I am so thankful for it and will treasure it always.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Last Friday, November 11, 2011, I went to the Hallmark Store to find a Christmas ornament for someone. While I was there I found this ornament:

I fell in love with it immediately because Goofy is playing the saxophone. I also found it on the 8th month anniversary of Rheese's return to Heavenly Father. I knew it was Rheese telling me to smile and think happy thoughts. I wanted it but it was a $30 ornament. I took a picture and sent it to a few people and my sister in Idaho and my parents wanted to help me get it, so it came home with me : ). When I was checking out I told the cashier about the significance of Goofy playing the sax and Rheese and about how he passed away and that it was the 8th month anniversary. We talked for a bit and she told me that she'd keep me in her prayers. She seemed genuinely touched and really seemed to care. She then told me that I needed a special magic cord for the ornament to work but they were out so she took my name and number so they could call when it came in. I got the call yesterday that it was in and went in today to pick it up. I was so surprised when I gave them my name and they gave me a gift bag with the magic cord and card in return. She told me it was from the cashier from the other day. Here is what the card said:

Dear Niki,

When I rang up your ornament when you were last here in Hallmark, and you shared with me about your son, Rheese, my heart went out to you. I've lost many family members- but your heartache is larger than I can imagine. Things happen in life that we cannot understand, yet we are left here to "keep going". I admire you so very much- for "keeping going" for your other children. We go through life never expecting something like what you are going through. I do not belive in closure, your Rheese will always be fresh in your mind- close in your heart- always your beautiful son. I know for sure he reaches out to you from above. Know that you will continue to be in my prayers.

This small gift of the "magic cord" from me to you is to let you know I care- and I'm sure everyone who knows you does also.

Hugs to you, Niki. Many wishes for blessings to come to you and your family.

-Carol at Hallmark

Wow! I could not believe that this person that I met only for a moment could care enough to do this for me. I also do not believe that it was a coincidence that I met her on that day. I know I was guided there at the right moment. I needed to hear the words that she wrote to me. Even though I already knew what she said was true, it helped so much to hear the words from someone else. I'm thankful for the Lord's tender mercies and for my guardian angel.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chief of the Medical Staff

Rheese's heart surgeon, Dr. Michael Teodori, had this painting hanging in his office. When I saw it I felt a great sense of peace to know that the surgeon working on my son relied on Christ and knew that He was guiding him in his work. I had felt this way on the day of Rheese's 2nd surgery too. The plan for that surgery was to go in and make a wall between the 2 ventricles and also to switch them around because they were transposed. We waited in pre-op for over an hour past surgery time when Dr. Teodori finally came in to talk to us. He told us that the plan had changed because of new information from the heart catheterization they had done. They were now doing the Fontan. He told us that he had not felt good about the other plan but it was what made sense to do. He said that he finally felt good about the path they were taking Rheese on and it was the right thing to do. I knew that he was being led by the Spirit. I knew that our little boy was being watched over and protected by our Heavenly Father and that he would be ok.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Beautiful Memorial

Rheese's headstone was placed on July 5, 2011. I am so happy with it. It is perfect. Everything about it says Rheese from the color of the granite to the pictures and the fonts. I smile whenever I see it : ).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How was Rheese really feeling?

I am reading a book called, "Before My Heart Stops", by Paul Cardall. He was born with a congenital heart defect that was opposite of Rheese. Paul had double-inlet left ventricle and Rheese had double-outlet right ventricle along with other things, but they both had the same repair, a Fontan. The book is his story as an adult waiting for a heart transplant. A lot of it is from the blog he wrote while he was waiting but there are other parts that explain what happened to him as a child growing up with a CHD. As I read it I think back to moments with Rheese. One that I just read had me in tears. He said that before his Fontan he would get so exhausted just walking up the stairs and getting around school that it made him nauseous. For the last few months of Rheese's life he threw up quite a bit and we couldn't find a reason why. Many times it happened at school and he'd have to come home. It just makes me wonder how bad he really felt but didn't tell us. I knew he wasn't feeling good and was trying to find out why but I know I didn't get how bad it really was. A little boy in his class told his dad who then told us that a couple days before he died he told him that his chest felt funny. The boy told him to tell the teacher but he said something to the affect that it does it all the time and will go away. I had NO idea this ever happened because he never told me. I wish I could ask him how long it had been going on. Maybe he had lived with it his whole life, I don't know. He also used to get really grumpy, I mean REALLY grumpy. I now think it was because he didn't feel good and that's how he reacted to it. I used to just think he was being a stinker. Oh, there are so many questions I wish I could ask him. I'll just have to wait. One day I'll have the answers.July 2008 after getting his pacemaker.