Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Tribute from my Mom in honor of William

My mom wrote the following tribute to William and wanted me to share the message with all of you.

Last January, I was coming up to my one year anniversary of my stroke, and was thinking of all the things that happened since. How thankful  I am, I survived from a stroke and it didn't slow me down. Then, January 14th happened.

On January 14th, I was sitting in my living room watching television while Bill was outside in the backyard working.  A knock came to the door.  I went to answer it and a tall sheriff was standing there. He asked if I was Julie Nielsen and asked if my son’s name is William Nielsen. After I answered yes to both questions, I quickly asked what was going on. He insisted I bring in my husband first. As I walked across my living room, I kept my eyes on him and continued to persuade him to tell me what was going on. He continued to say he'd rather wait until my husband was there. I opened the back door and yelled to Bill to hurry and get into the house.

We walked back into the kitchen and the sheriff informed us that my son was found dead today. As I stood in the kitchen I felt a rush of feelings and emotions. I felt dizzy, I began crying, I started shaking, it felt so untrue and unreal. I kept questioning him about this information, and they probably had the wrong man. I kept telling him No. No. No! This wasn't True, it couldn't be. I had to sit down and asked the sheriff to do the same.

I then realized that I had to call Lori. But how was I supposed to do that. How was I supposed to call my daughter to inform her that her brother was found dead when I didn't believe it myself? I had so many questions and no answers. When I called her, it rang 1 time and I hung up. I knew I couldn't tell her if she was home alone. So then I called the house line and Lori answered. I asked as calmly as I could to talk to Scott.

Later, I found out Lori was in the laundry room when I called her. Scott took her by the waist and led her into their bedroom, sat her on the edge of the bed and handed Lori the phone. I told Lori that William was found dead a few hours ago. I also later learned that she held the phone away from her ear as far as she could while screaming and crying.

Lori was reacting so loudly that Will ran up from the basement and started crying. Lori quickly informed him that it was his Uncle William that had died, not me. He thought it was his Nana. He was very upset and sad that it was William but the way Lori was acting, he thought it was me. Lori reassured him that I was okay.

I spoke with Lori and then Scott on the phone trying to answer their questions but realizing I didn't know much information either.  We hung up and I called the Thompson's, Mann's, Diane Kemp and other family members. Lori kept calling back asking more questions. We both were demanding answers. Scott spoke with the sheriff and asked additional questions. By 5:30 in the evening, my living room was full of friends and family. It was such an overwhelming feeling of love and support. 

The people that were here by my side to support me through this horrific event was DeEtte and George Thompson, Debbie and Preston Mann, Diane Kemp, Nancy Sienicki, Karen Bartlett, Bishop Ruth and Jon and Laura Dunn. I couldn't believe all the people that so quickly came to my aide with support and love. To this day I am still in awe of it. Having such wonderful friends there by my side on the worst day of my life.

I kept crying, and started shaking. People kept handing me blankets to stop me from shivering. I was also so thirsty, and friends would bring me water. I felt sick. I wanted this day to never have happened.

People continued to call to talk with me, to ask questions and console me through this terrible day. Several people said they would call back because it was hard to understand. Talking while sobbing isn't easy to interpret. 

The next morning, the Coroner's office called wondering where the body was to go. I told them to hold William's body there until my daughter came into town. The next morning, early, Lori, Preston and my niece Michele flew into the Santa Barbara airport. 

It was hard to see her at first. We hugged. We cried. I hugged my niece as well and we all cried. I was able to see my darling baby grandson and he brought joy to my heart. The only joy that I had felt for a long time.  We headed to grab a bite to eat and then we headed to the Coroner's office.  After being there for some time trying to finalize everything, filling out paperwork and choosing an urn, we left. 

A couple hours later we headed downtown to Welch-Rice Mortuary.   My heart sunk as we drove in the parking lot. Looking at the building, knowing my sweet boy was inside was heart-breaking.  We all slowly walked across the parking lot, down the sidewalk, and entered the building. My heart began racing and I had butterflies in my stomach.

A sweet elderly woman welcomed us in and told us that William was in a room down the hall. It was like time stood still. We all froze, no one wanting to take the lead and go first. For a moment that felt like minutes, but was probably only several seconds, Lori stood up and started walking towards the room. We all, slowly, followed.

We weren't halfway down the hall when I saw Lori slowly peer into the room, turn away quickly, ran into Bubbles arms and began crying.  I looked in and started screaming. Shouting, “No. No!” Bill quickly came to my side to literally, hold me up. 

We spent the next hour with him. Crying, talking, laughing, and taking pictures. It was a very hard, but incredibly special time with my boy that I’m not going to share anything more of that time. After the hour was up, it was incredible hard to leave him.  

The next couple of days we stayed busy planning his services.  A couple days later, Scott surprised us all by driving the six other boys down from Utah to be with us. He is such a wonderful son in law. My niece flew down from Alaska to support us. Several other family members and friends came from St. George, San Francisco, Lompoc and other places to attend William’s services that following Saturday. It was a beautiful service.  Thank you to everyone that participated and attended that day.

Today marks the one year anniversary of William being gone. I’ve watched countless movies and TV shows where they act out the scene when the cop comes to the door to inform the family of the loss of their child. Now, having experienced it myself, I can attest that is the most horrific experience of my life.  This entire year has been very hard.  I’m always looking for him. Listening for him. Waiting for him to come home.  I miss him so much. I think of him every day. I am thankful for the knowledge that I have that I will see him again one day. 

1 Comment:

Qwendykay said...

Thank you so much for posting this. What a loving tribute. It is so hard to believe that our loved ones are truly gone. It's been two years and when the phone rings I still have those moments where I am sure that my mom will be on the line. Death is bittersweet, but far more bitter. There is a sweetness in knowing the afflictions of this earth are no longer, but such a bitter and dark whole that is left by the lack of their physical presence. May you find peace and know that his memory is very much alive.