Death Has No Victory

Last night I stayed at the hospital with my sweetheart. He couldn’t communicate with me but I felt his spirit and rested well. The deep pain and anxiety of Tuesday were gone and I felt peace.

This morning I sat with Amos’s brother Tom in Amos’s hospital room. We were both struggling with understanding God’s will because we both believed Amos would be healed from this affliction. We studied and prayed and discussed. He never attempted to convince me of anything but just loved me and said that he knew all Amos wanted was for his wife to be happy.

After some pondering we came to the conclusion that faith is action. We wanted to show our trust in God and His will for Amos.

Tom received inspiration that our action should be to take Amos off life support and allow for God’s will to be done while allowing room for a miracle of healing or room for Amos to be released from a body that had been taken over by cancer.

He said the answers are usually simple but not always easy.

Grandma picked up the kids from school and brought them to the hospital. The nurses were so kind to prepare refreshments for our kids.

When our faithful children arrived we explained the situation and asked for their council in making this decision. They all agreed with tear filled eyes. We gave them each time alone with dad before turning off life-sustaining machines.







We watched him take his last breaths as he continued to breathe for about 15 minutes on his own. The children burst into tears but are now at home laughing at old home movies of daddy and remembering our great love for the most wonderful man any of us have ever known.

We find constant peace and joy in the knowledge that Jesus Christ paid the price of death so that it has no lasting victory. We will be with Amos again and we feel he can now be with us without the restrictions of his mortal body. Our faith in the Savior has grown today and our family has been strengthened forever.

Sleepless Night

Last night was both incredible and horrific. The home videos they played before  Evelyn’s performance touched me so deeply and carried into my dreams. I was only able to sleep for about an hour last night so I’m surprised I had a dream at all.

After her performance I found a quiet place back stage to tell her that her dad’s organs were failing and that he had been placed on life support. I asked her if she wanted to get home right away or wait until after the results show. Her eyes filled with tears and she seemed confused but she decided to stay.

When we got back to the hotel, the nurse who cared for Amos last night called me to tell me she didn’t believe he would make it through the night. That resulted in uncontrollable anxiety in me that led to a flare up of my own plurasy which makes it  hard for me to breathe. I lay awake most of the night with my heart racing thinking of my sweetheart and all he was going through and the extent of my love for him and the past 20 years we’ve spent together.

I prayed for the dawn to come without another phone call and it finally did.

He was sustained through the night and to me that is a miracle. It helped me to find my hope again that more miracles can come.

His dad told me the life support is holding steady for now but that he was just made aware that a hurricane is heading toward his home in Florida prompting him to get back. Thank you  Dean for everything.

Amos’s mom arrived in the night as did his brother Tom. America’s Got Talent made arrangements to get us home immediately after the live results show tonight rather than tomorrow as planned. We are so thankful to them for their kindness and understanding. Simon isn’t the only one who gets emotional about Evie Clair. Dozens of producers and staff members are going through this challenge with us and we love them for it.

I know I wasn’t the only one who had a sleepless night. My kids at home are struggling and I’m anxious to get back to them.

Today in addition to the life support, they have him on dialysis and are struggling to keep his blood pressure stable.

Hang on best friend.

Fasting for Evie’s Dad

My friend Nicole sent me this message today… “We started this morning with a prayer and a fast for Amos and your family. Frankly we have never sat together and done this as a family. My daughter Lacey 8 year old during sacrament started crying. She was saying I’m so hungry. I told her it was good to try and fast but if she needed to she could eat. With more tears she said then Evie’s dad won’t get better!!! It was the sweetest thing. I talked to her about how Heavenly Father appreciated her effort and it’s really the first time she really fasted and it was up to her if she wanted to eat. I said a silent prayer to comfort her and let her accomplish this task because she was so concerned for Evie’s dad. She made it and fasted. Thank you for being such a good example of faith so I can follow your families example and teach my kiddos! I hope you can have some peace today.”

We are thankful for all the people who fasted for Amos today. I know good will come from it and after today, we are desperate for a little good.

While his white blood cell counts improved today, his billiruben got worse and is back up to 9.4.

The draining procedure for the lungs went well yesterday. I was feeling so good last night as they drained one and a half liters from his chest and his oxygen and heart rate numbers started looking much better. 

Sadly, the improvement didn’t last and his lungs filled back up overnight.

Our entire stake fasted for Amos today and it was wonderful to be in my ward and feel the love of our friends.

After church the kids got to come see daddy. He hasn’t been very responsive today and that was hard on all of us.

The Johnstone cousins came out to be with us at church and the hospital and helped at home. It’s so great to have family around.

Dad and Tracy and her kids have taken good care of us today and I got to meet Caitlyn’s baby. She is adorable!!

Bishop Elwood came to see how he was today but couldn’t see him because he was doing a scan. They scanned his gall bladder and we are still waiting for results on that.

Amos’s Gilbert High friends came for a minute and so did my nephew Spencer and my sister Christy.

Our friends the Rawls were fun visitors. We appreciate them so much. They brought Amos a cool Super Man lanyard like the Captain America one Jef is wearing. It even lights up. I think we’ll try it out tomorrow.

Hope Number

I’m so proud of this girl. She has so much light to share with the world. She loves her family and her Heavenly Father more than anything and I can’t wait to see how she continues to shine.

They took us to the top of a mountain past Beverly Hills this morning. We were doing some filming for the portion they will show this Tuesday just before her performance.

We arrived before the film crew and had a quiet moment together out of the city to pray together. It was a very special and peaceful time for us after news that Amos had had an excruciating night.

Many doctors feel that upping his pain meds in his condition would be very dangerous. His heart rate is up and he is now requiring oxygen. For this reason, I am flying home for a few days to help him get through these hard days. Many thanks to the good people at America’s Got Talent who arranged that and care so much for us.

The doctors said they couldn’t find a place to decompress the liver. It was very difficult to get the information they were looking for without the scan they needed yesterday. They said trying to use the ultrasound was like comparing apples and oranges. They do show many issues with his liver but see nothing they can do about it. They are going to consult with Dr. Lanauze for ideas.

Amos got some TPN nutrition last night and His billiruben numbers went up to 9.8 from 9.1.

With many people giving up on hope for him, I asked him today what his “hope number” was. He asked me what I meant and I told him it was like the pain number that they are constantly asking him except it was a scale of how much hope he has that he will survive this from 1 to 10. Without another thought, he said “10!” No matter how bad it gets, his hope number is what matters to me.

I can’t explain to you how much I love this partner of mine. Yes, life is harder than it has ever been for either of us right now but we will have each other forever and today is just a small moment in eternity.

 

Say Hey I Love You!

Amos is still fighting today. He finally got his bowels moving in the middle of the night and it has made for a better day. He got a lot of rest and it has touched my heart to have everyone here doing things they see around the house to make things easier for us. I’m going to miss our crazy, fun family when they go back to Idaho, Washington and Florida. What a great Saturday! Everyone worked hard and played hard. The boys slaved in the front yard all day replacing the entire drip system so Amos won’t have to worry about any more leaks…well, at least in his yard.  Your family would do anything for you, Amos, including participate in an embarrassing lip sync video! #TeamAmos Enjoy!!!

Upswing

Amos said to me tonight that he is sensing an upswing. We did notice that he had more energy. Getting worse wasn’t an option so the only way was up. It really helps to be able to drain his stomach at home.

He actually wanted to get dressed this afternoon and as he came down the stairs for the first time in a couple days, he realized his brother, Tom, from Washington was sitting on the couch. Tom loves surprises and thought he would come into town early to see his brother. 

It was a good thing he came early because I had to run Evie to Gilbert and Amos needed to start his TPN before I got back. Dean and Tom worked together to figure out all the complicated steps with the help of FaceTime and Nurse Margene.

Evie was a hit tonight as the guest speaker/performer for a young women mutual night in Gilbert.

She told them about her experiences on AGT and answered questions. She made them cry with some really special songs then made them laugh with her Miranda Sings impression.

Thanks Phoebe and Michelle Owens Rigby for setting up such a fun night.

The timing was perfect because NBC aired a special “Road to the Finals” edition of America’s Got Talent Tonight so all the girls got to watch Evie on TV while they were with her.

If you missed this episode, catch it on NBC.com tomorrow. It had lots of footage we hadn’t seen and was really well done.

Dean and Connie were super stars today. Cleaning, cooking, shopping, caring for Amos, spending time with my kids, installing lighting and finding ways to make things more efficient. What a blessing they are.

We all plan to keep the upswing going and get Amos through this rough patch.

The Italian Stallion

I sat in a Sunday school class today and someone’s phone rang out the Rocky theme song. He rushed to capture and silence it as quickly as possible. The teacher was stunned because he had actually prepared to incorporate Rocky into the lesson. He told the man not to worry because it was fate.

The lesson was on trials and the extreme hardship and persecution of the early members of our faith in the 1800’s. He spoke of the extermination order against members of our faith by the government and massacres of men, women and children by mobs. I became interested in how Brother Smith would relate that to Rocky.

He asked why the early saints had to endure such extreme difficulties. He then started taking about Rocky Balboa and wondered how this small-time, working class boxer could go up against the greatest fighter in the world. He explained that although Rocky knew he couldn’t beat Apollo Creed’s superior skill, he knew he could survive the 15 rounds of beating. Rocky seemed to have an unlimited ability to absorb punishment and refused to be knocked out.

Because Amos loves Rocky, the comparison made me think of him and his battle – getting up round after round, wiping the blood from his face and beckoning his opponent to go another round.

Adrian’s face is what I feel sometimes. The rounds are getting difficult to watch but he will keep taking them and getting back up. They will take a toll on his body, but like the Italian Stallion and the early saints, he will endure and the magnitude of his situation will make him stronger in the end.

We came home after church today and rested until it was time for mission prep. It was my friend Rebecca’s birthday and my girls were baking her a birthday treat while she was cooking dinner on her birthday for us! Love that girl and her amazing heart. We also got deliveries from several other families today and kind words and hugs from many more.

We found out that Amos’s parents are on their way here from Idaho. They will be here in the morning and we are excited to see them. It will be a blessing to have them here while Evelyn and I leave for her CVX Live performance in Salt Lake.

We also had a wonderful visit from our friends the Stolp family. They walked in during mission prep which was perfect because the members of the class had a chance to practice their missionary lessons on them.

The Stolps used to be professional investigators having had the missionary lessons almost a hundred times before we moved around the corner from them. I was so privileged to be able to accompany the missionaries there to teach them and our hearts were filled with joy when she and her daughter were baptized by Amos before we moved to Florence. Seeing them again brought back all those feelings of joy and seeing their faith and their family grow in strength since then was thrilling.

Their teenaged daughter Madee is so cute. She started laughing and crying at the same time when she realized that Evie had met and sung for DJ Khaled.

Porter and Kirra visited our old ward in Mesa today, where the Stolp family attends, for the mission homecoming of McKay Holt who was Porter’s Sunday school teacher before we left. We love an miss our good friends from the Thunder Mountain Ward.

Evie Clair Sings at DBacks Game

I’m not sure how much mom’s who have passed away are able to influence the lives of their children from beyond the grave, but I felt like my mom was involved in the things that happened to us today. My mom passed away over 5 years ago from cancer but I remember that at one point in her life she went through a Major League Baseball FANATIC phase. For just a few years, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Luis Gonzalez were everything. It was strange to come home after a few years out of the house and see mom love baseball after of a life of art and music. Amos would love it if I went through a sports phase of any kind. It was a pastime she and my dad shared for once and they were so cute together taking about the players and the games.

It was the year the DBacks won the world series and Luis Gonzalez was a legend in that win. He is now the senior consultant to the CEO of the Diamondbacks as well as a MBL Hall of Fame-er with a retired number.

This American baseball hero was watching America’s Got Talent this season when he fell in love with Evie Clair and her voice and her family, was so excited that she was from Arizona and insisted that the DBacks have her come perform.

They also arranged time for us to watch batting practice, get baseballs signed by Archie and others, meet the players and the team manager and have some real time to talk with them. Amos has always been a sports fanatic and his eyes lit up when he found out Luis Gonzalez was the reason we were there tonight. They showered us with gifts and kindness and we will never forget today. Luis tweeted this out before the game had ended…

Amos had a rough day but he made it and loved every minute of it. He is a major sports fan and I was impressed that though all the sickness, he has been able to keep up so well on DBacks. He knew all the players and was involved in every detail tonight. We had to listen to the rest of the game in the car on the way home because his body gave out, but what an experience while it lasted!

Thanks Sister Stewart, the 97 year old woman in our ward who lent us her wheelchair for tonight. Amos wouldn’t have made it without one.

Sound check!


Interested Bat Boy!

Guests on the field for Batting practice!

Meeting the Players

Under the field with the Morrises

Gifts from the Backs

Meeting Luis Gonzalez


Singing the Anthem

Watching the Game

Press Collection

Today was pretty exciting but Amos is really hurting tonight. He said his liver specifically hurts. I thought he looked so handsome on TV and said such sweet things. I see so much of Evelyn in him. Good Morning Arizona was a great experience and so fun for the kids to “finally be on TV like Evelyn.” The kids didn’t know they were singing before we got there. They aren’t used to performing without Evie, so we resorted to “Horsie, Horsie.”

Life is so unpredictable. We made lots of stops today and it was really crazy for people to recognize Evie in the post office, car wash, grocery store, orthodontist, etc. Don’t forget to watch the show tonight. After tonight, there is only one more 1st round episode left then she could be on again.

I’ve started a press collection for Evie Clair on the Press page of her website and could use some help. If you find an article out there that you don’t see on her website, shoot me the link so I can add it. I remember thinking being in the newspaper when I was eight years old was so cool. I never imagined having difficulty managing all the press for my daughter.

Porter is super excited because he got his driver’s license today. I’m not that excited about it but just pray he will be safe. I think having a son drive might be my worst fear in life so far.

This picture came from Amos’s mission presided who I wrote about yesterday. This is his sweet wife Mary Potter. He sent me this photo along with a fascinating article about colon cancer answers found in the genealogy of Utah pioneers. I wish we had some of that snow from Park City here today! 

Crashing the Internet

If you tried to access this blog earlier today, it was down because the server that hosts it couldn’t manage all the traffic. After paying for a “Grow Big” upgrade, we are back online.

I got some statistics from a producer from America’s Got Talent for Evie’s internet impact. I told him I couldn’t comprehend the huge numbers he was giving me and just to tell me if they were good. He said,

“Hahaha it’s not quite breaking the internet but it’s at the top of what’s happening online.”

I then got the notice from my web host that the blog was down and found out she did break the internet. He said that was the next step.

Evie and I are in California right now headed into Burbank and Amos is recovering well. Yesterday was pure joy and beyond any expectations we had for the show. We were so excited about the nice tweets from Christina Perri and Howie and Tyra.

The outpouring of love from everyone at America’s Got Talent and new fans and so many of our dearest friends and family has been humbling. Our hearts are filled with gratitude.

Amos is recovering better this time than he did from his last Y90 surgery and I know it is because of all the prayers and positive support coming our way.

This past 24 hours has been like nothing we’ve ever experienced.