Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tattoos are permanent

I got a tattoo yesterday and I love it more than I thought I would. I went to “Alpha & Omega” tattoo parlor in St George. Ben was the artist and he did a terrific job. Let me explain why I wanted to do this and the symbolism of it all.

Sharry and I had talked about getting tattoos on and off for a few years but didn’t ever commit because they are just too dang permanent and we were saving for a house, baby and all of our other awesome future plans. After losing Sharry this summer I definitely found something that I want permanently and I no longer really have any big future plans.

I know many of my readers do not look favorably on tattoos but let me try to explain the why and the symbolism here. To begin with the hand specifically represents Ahimsa, which essentially means nonviolence or compassion to all living beings. This has its route in Jainism and other eastern philosophies and was espoused by Gandhi in his search for justice and the divine. It is the overarching Buhanan-Decker guiding life philosophy. Sharry cherished Ahimsa and I think lived it better than the vast majority of human beings. She became a vegetarian, fought for justice and loved deeply because of the type of person she was who sought Ahimsa.

At the top of the hand is the sun piercing through a cloudy/stormy background. This was totally Ben’s idea and artistic touch but it works perfectly for my situation. As I have written in past posts Sharry was and is the sun of my life. Without her my life feels incredibly dark and empty yet still at times her love pierces through my pain and suffering to bring rays of peace and light.

The center X and P are actually the Greek letters Chi and Rho which together form a symbol designating Christ or Christian. Sharry and I fell in love with this symbol when we backpacked through Europe and saw it all over Rome as we learned about early martyrs and discovered it inscribed in ancient Christian catacombs. I have always loved and appreciated Jesus. His teachings have made our world a better place. One cannot live the words of Jesus found in the gospels of the New Testament and not be a force for love and peace. Throughout this horrible traumatic process Jesus has become a source for comfort and hope as a possible route back to my lost beloved and the kingdom of heaven. My relationship with him is dynamic but permanent.

The three dots can represent both the holy trinity and BD3. Plus three is my favorite number.

The olive branches represent victory and peace. In this situation I love both. Right now in my life I need peace more than anything else. Peace and hope that everything is going to be more or less OK again, knowing that one way or another Shar is at peace, that the hole in my heart won’t always throb with pain and loss but will scab over and leave a Sharry shaped scar that I can always remember and cherish. Victory that our deep love can overcome death in this life and hopefully the next.

And of course at the bottom is Sharry’s signature. I originally wanted her signature placed on the ring finger but that would not fit unless it was done incredibly small. I love where it’s located as it is the foundation and base of the whole piece. Sharry is and always will be the rock that I build my life on through the influence she had on me for twelve years and all the amazing gifts, words, songs, stories and memories that she leaves behind for her family and friends.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Shar's birthday obituary from bubby

A month and half later I tried to follow in Sharry’s footsteps as I often did and wrote her obituary for her 29th birthday. I never would have imagined that would be the last birthday she had on Earth. Thoughts like that break my heart all over again. My letter is much longer and much less polished but I do want to share it because it does echo much of my love and appreciation for my lost best friend. Also I would be remiss to not once again share the beautiful words that Sharry's brother and mom published in her actual obituary.
FYI It is written as if we are in the twilight of our lives after many kids and grandkids were brought into our lives. My additional annotations are in red.


Pregnancy pics from 27 weeks, wasn't she beautiful with that baby bump?!
Sharry Buhanan-Decker,  an incredible friend, a fierce and loving mom,the largest heart any of us ever had the opportunity to ever meet and my soul mate is presumed lost at sea. A typical case of wanderlust struck her so off she went an 88 year old woman full of courage adventure and love. She leaves behind Jared her loving husband of 68 years. Only 59 years longer than what actually happened. What the hell am I supposed to with these 59 years?? Three children Sharroll Ruth, Francis Mark, and Joni Ann. Four enamored cats and ten adoring grandchildren.

Sharry Buhanan was born August 11, 1986 into a loving and full house where she was the seventh of seven children. Her childhood was carefree full of play, learning and fun where family and friends played a critical role in her development. From her mother Sharroll she was taught love of reading and the importance of kindness and faith. Karl her Father taught her to embrace who you are with authenticity and to find your niche in the world where you can be content and thrive. Her six older siblings, five brothers and one sister adored their little passionate ragamuffin of a sister and all had their own individual impressions that they left on her upbringing. Sharry is the glue that kept bringing them back together time after time. She set up stores, shows, organized games, jammed at concerts, inspired trips, rolled through reunions, and setup general get togethers. She was the rock that the family could depend on through the hardest times and the best times. When the family went through the crisis of losing Mark too early in life Sharry was there for him and for them all. Shar was AMAZING throughout the horrible process of losing Mark. She was the rock for him and the family. Now I hope that she is reunited with him. Later after Sharroll and Karl passed on Sharry became the new family matriarch who kept the Buhanan clan ties strong. No parents should have to bury their children and they have done it twice! Why can life be so hard for a family so good?

As a child Sharry was a true friend who all could rely on. Whether meeting half way with the “girl down the hill” a lot of inside info in my obit for her, her best childhood friend Becky lived right down the hill or planning California trips with others she was someone that all could rely on. Always sticking to the B side of life Sharry was a great listener who befriended others with authenticity and having a small group of friends that she cherished fiercely. She was an easy friend who was beautiful, fun, loyal and cool.

I met Sharry at the dawn of the century in the Spring of 2004. She was bewitchingly beautiful with long brown hair, plump lips, a supermodel body and a smile that pulled you right in. The very rare beautiful black Irish. She often had people ask her if she was a mix of different diverse races and she would always respond nope just European And she was incredibly likable. She was quick with a joke, had incredible taste and seemed to be incredibly fun. As I have mentioned in past blogs Shar was very hard on herself but one area that she was confident she was good at was her taste, life, music, trips, adventures, movies, books... She was so interesting, an anachronism. A hippie peace, rock n roll babe who was born into a conservative LDS culture 30 years too late. And this was the first impression! Unfortunately she was only 17 and I was 21, she was still in high school. So I had to pump the brakes and hold off for a few months.

Sharry entered her first semester of college at Dixie and the rebels everywhere rejoiced. She was sought after left and right and somehow she gave this nerd a shot. Our courtship was a whirlwind of romance, dates, kisses, gifts and blossoming friendship and love. Vinyl records, DI shopping, dancing in the dark, attending random churches, rocking at concerts, playing at the beach, hiking in the mountains and making out in every corner under the beautiful red rocks were our daily and weekly experience. All the while Sharry blew through an immense amount of credits dabbing in German, art, literature and more. She was so bright and ambitious her first two semesters at Dixie she took 21 credits not because she was in a hurry to graduate or anything but because she was excited for college. And she carried pretty much straight A’s!

Two and a half years after meeting we became each other's forever on December 28, 2006. The first few years of marriage were excitement and bliss. Our worlds were one and the same. She was my sun and I was her Earth. These statements are completely true Sharry continued her education and adventure towing me along for the ride. We backpacked in Europe where we became connoisseurs of local, cheese, breads and sleeping surfaces. After graduating college Korea called our names where we spent time eating bip n bop and bogogee, riding the transit as celebrities and teaching little tykes. After a courageous escape we returned to Salt Lake City to continue our studies. I will write a whole post about some of our experiences and adventures in detail...we packed a lot into 12 years!

In the Wasatch valley Sharry became a master with a degree from University of Utah in public administration. She used that degree to make a difference working with animals women and children in diverse positions and eventually having leadership roles for a couple of different non profits. We also slept in the infamous pioneer park where we were a part of the occupy movement which shifted national dialogue to the tremendous inequality occurring throughout the country. As always she was the brave one that actually wanted to camp there

In Salt Lake we put down roots. We found a house which Sharry made into a beautiful home with an amazing view (critical to any good house) and started our family. We were so damn close!! We got a house with a view (for 3 months) and a baby that never slept in the nursery that Sharry prepared As a mom Sharry’s adventuring ways didn’t slow as every year we would go on memorable trips, hikes, camping trips, sailing/kayaking excursions and international adventures forming memories and experiences that really brought our family together. I’m really going to try my best to make sure this becomes a reality

Sharry was in her heart a Franciscan, a protector of the small and beautiful creatures of the Earth. She found the divine in nature and beauty all around her and inspired those closest to her to do the same as her children and grandchildren show with their love of all things natural. Nothing would uplift her like a beautiful vista  after a long hike and nothing could bring her down like seeing an innocent animal in pain. Our planet has been protected and beautified thanks to Sharry’s direct and indirect influence where her ripples of creation care can be felt all around in this room. I myself owe my passion for the environment and this planet entirely to my beautiful Chere’.

She always had fun/hot pose ideas haha
Our beloved was an artist full of talent and creativity. I encourage all of you to admire her art and writing if you haven’t already. She would become one with color, charcoal, pencils, music and the written word where a piece of her soul would seem to shine from many of her works. She had a way of looking at things that I could never understand but only look on in admiration and envy. I know that many of you kids and grandkids carry on as artists and creators and you can thank your Grandma for that. Again I hope to make this a real legacy for JJ

Speaking of Grandma...wasn’t she a great one? I really can’t even read this without breaking down As a mom, grandmother and even cat mom I know that each and everyone of you never questioned that you were loved and cherished. Sharry had such immense love and caring for her family. From the moment Sharroll Ruth came into the world and Sharry held her close I have not witnessed a greater love. Sharry loved “cuties, babies and kitties” more than anything in this life and they knew it. She would always set high expectations for her family but it was because she cared and sincerely knew they could achieve and they usually did. She was their greatest cheerleader (even for activities that weren’t her cup of tea) and the ultimate comforter for the bumps, bruises and heart breaks that life can bring. She was the rock and soul of our family. We all turned to her for love, approval and inspiration and she rarely disappointed. I am so heartbroken that JJ will not experience this directly

Sharry had a love affair with reading that we all followed minus one or two of us (looking at you Joni haha). Stupid joke haha, but Sharry did inspire me to be a greater reader and writer. Plus thanks to many many generous people (many of you) JJ has an amazing library built from Sharry’s wishlist She taught us from the great fables of ages past. We learned creation tales, tricksters and moral stories about love and loss. She had a passion for children’s literature and passed the torch to many of you as soon as you could appreciate the colors, words and mom’s warmth. I think our unofficial family mascot is the Lorax. I speak for the trees From Sharry’s lips and Madame Bovary’s pages we learned that “Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.” And oh did we try to melt the stars! Under Sharry’s guidance Tolstoy taught us lessons heart breaking and profound, “Ivan Ilych’s life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.” Compassion and love for the living must triumph over petty materialism.

We all loved Sharry’s own writing. On the rare occasion when she would share from her treasured journal we would hold close her words and memories of ink. There were many an occasion when she would write those closest thoughtful prose that could turn a cloudy day bright or a great day heavenward. Her published works that are cherished by many continue today as a momento to this star from above. I love sharing her words now and she had big goals to be a published writer someday...

Sharry was insightful, passionate, hilarious, sincere, private, thoughtful, empathetic and caring. She was an angel on the earth who made others soar. I guess angels can’t stay for too long I hope and I pray with all my heart and all my soul that she is in the presence of Sharroll and Mark, Karl and Lola. So agonizing to think that only one of those might be with her now That her heavenly Father and Mother are welcoming her home and that she is preparing a place for each of us where she will welcome us with a loving tear filled embrace where we will marry for the millionth time. She always wanted to “get married twice” I don’t know if there are tiny homes or sailboats in heaven but I sure hope to find out. This sadly is pretty much the main thing I want out of life (or death) right now, to know if she still does exist and if we do somehow get to be united someday. So dear reader please if you are of the praying type pray for me, that if at all possible, I might find answers to these questions or at the very least find a measure of peace, hope and faith.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

jared's faux obituary, because i love him (annotated)

Last year for my half birthday (Shar would always celebrate my half with me at my request instead of my full cuz it’s right by Christmas) Sharry wrote me an early obituary which is incredibly thoughtful and overly positive. It was an exaggerated viewpoint for my birthday! She even titled it "jared's faux obituary2015...because i love him". I miss her so so much! I returned the favor and wrote her one on her b-day which I will share next post.


Jared Buhanan-Decker, a loving and passionate school counselor, (talented sailor), we had just used a groupon for a sailing lesson and talked about getting a sailboat if the baby thing didn’t pan out comfortable dresser, environmental activist, and easy going husband, (father), son, uncle, and friend, mysteriously passed away last Saturday, leaving only a succinct note, “apple got me.” A student gave me a dozen apples for Christmas once and I almost choked to death on one and was actually in the process of sending Shar a text “Love you forever, apple got me” when I was able to cough it up
26 Weeks, our baby announcement pics for our family
Jared married the love of his life, on a cool day in December while a Mormon bishop blathered about compromise and work boots. Somehow the southern Utah sun had already melted their stories together like brown sugar and cream caramelizing on the stove, because before their first official date, Sharry said she could taste his sweetness. She is such a beautiful writer! Their marriage was a union of love and lives, blood and bones, flesh and souls. And throughout their lives together, he blessed her, and everyone close to him, with many valuable lessons.

He taught us to always play with kids on the ground, give nieces and nephews lots of love and kisses, “hug it out” when they get bumps or bruises, and always help them jump like a kangaroo across the living room until your back is sore. Dress comfortably, she obviously loved how comfortably I dress haha wear the same pants over and over until they fail to pass the “smell test,” and only own light colored t-shirt incase it gets hot. Live simply, start breathing deeply, and strive to live in the moment- because this life is your chance to become a bodhisattva (wikipedia), so don’t waste it. never turn down a piece of blueberry pie, start every morning with a cup of hot water, and end each day with a family meditation in corpse pose. Give money to charity, and forgive immediately when someone apologizes. And most importantly, if you drink out of styrofoam cups, stop- you are ruining the earth. Totally agree here haha

Out of all the things he shared, the thing he taught us most was love. He taught us that love is more than colored hearts or delicate confections. Love means sleeping on park benches, under bike racks, and on little blue mats. Shar adventures It means scooping kitty litter, holding hands at all times, kissing three times after every prayer, and snagging an extra piece of cake from the statewide counseling conference to take home and share with your spouse. This is simply the golden rule!

Jared’s lessons in love extended to his schools, where he fought teenagers in water fights, raced them in obstacle courses, let them throw pies in his face, and embraced them when they cried. He started leadership groups, planned civil rights assemblies, and honestly believed in the next generation. He believed in the inherent goodness of human beings. He believed in others’ dreams.

He had a life-long love affair with life, and always considered the current chapter in life to be his favorite. He often referred to his job as his dream job, his wife as his dream girl, and their dented red toyota echo as his dream car. True story every year we were together was my best year ever..until now

Everyone who knew Jared was drawn into his easy smile. But it was his giant heart that saved a special space for those close to him to climb inside and build a home. I don’t have nor want a home without Sharry I don’t know how we got so lucky to have spent our lives with him, but we are honored to be his eternal companions into the unknown. In the end, we all die in an unfinished work of art, and every piece is beautiful in it’s own way. But Jared’s was a masterpiece of warm, rich hues and underlying philosophical truths. I don’t know what the next world will hold, but I know wherever we go, our murals will grow together. Because we love you Jared. And anywhere you go, you never go alone. I love this writing. The imagery is so powerful and the words so kind. I sincerely hope that we are “eternal companions into the unknown” and that wherever we go our “murals will grow together”! And I have often read this just to read her words “anywhere you go, you never go alone.”

And to their beautiful (future) children, Sharry hopes that they too will find their other half, as poetically imperfect as Jared was to her. YES with all my heart YES

In lieu of flowers, please write your senators, congresswomen, or local representatives and ask them to increase the carbon tax, repeal citizens united, and cap term limits. Haha of course this implies that by the time I die a carbon tax is already implemented.

Sharry is so amazing isn’t she!? Who writes this heart melting stuff for someone’s 32 ½ birthday? Sharry, that’s who! I will share mine that I wrote for her next, but just heads up I shared the best first haha.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What I miss about you

I wrote this in a personal journal but as many things on this blog I want to show the world how amazing Sharry was and is. This is not at all a comprehensive list but having said that it is a bit lengthy. Oh also I wanted to share a few of my favorite pics of my Shar and tried to not use too many with couple pics. I apologize for the weird format/structure, Sharry would have had this totally looking perfect. Oh and speaking of social media skills lacking I decided to take on Shar's instagram so feel free to follow @lovesharred

Baby girl I wanted to write and tell you some of the big and little things I miss about you:
  • talking to you about everything. When something funny happens during the day or something tough or something insightful I long to tell you about it. For 12 years you were my absolute confidant who I told everything!! My fears, stresses, weaknesses, failures, joys and successes.
  • Your incredibly infectious smile
  • Your big plans for the future. Without you what big plans/trips/goals am I going to make!?
  • Summer Adventures
  • Your love for the ocean AND the mountains! Remember early in our relationship you told me that I can only ever be your 2nd love because the ocean/beach will always be your first? (o:
  • Tiny houses
  • Your beautiful, crazy and sometimes stinky feet. I would always tease you that your toes were the only thing physically about you that didn’t get an A++ and I miss them so much! And guess what Shar, JJ has your fingers and toes! (o:

  • Your amazing beauty. You were the most gorgeous woman I ever met from the first time I lay eyes on you. I know you thought you peeked in your early 20’s but Shar as you rubbed your tummy with JJ and waddled around on his due date. I legitimately was never more attracted to you.
  • Your voice. Singing, talking, laughing, yelling, crying, baby talk, whispering, praying, giggling.
  • Your tears. What I wouldn’t give to wipe your tears or even to cause your tears one more time
  • Gossipping with you
  • Your social media prowess (I mean this blog quality, for example, has really taken a hit in my hands!)
  • Your forgiving nature
  • Holding hands. Your long Buhanan fingers make the perfect hand holding hands.
  • Our arguments/debates. Isn't it funny that even though we agreed on 99% of things we would disagree on the minutia and turn those into policy/philosophical discussions.
  • Texting you. I tried digging through our history of texts and it like totally froze my phone! I loved getting texts from you throughout the work day where we could share the good, the bad and the ugly of how our days were. Who the hell am I going to text about my new job!?
  • My best friend

  • Your writing in all its beautiful forms!! I adore your journals Shar. Honestly now they are ALL I want to read and they make me so happy and so depressed. In fact my new rule is that I cannot read them after midnight or I never quite recover for the night.
  • Your passion for nature and the environment. If it was up to you we would be camping and hiking 10x more than we did. You adored nature in all its forms and also passionately fought to protect the beauty of creation and our home
  • Your love for long hair on guys (and girls) and your hatred of cargo shorts haha
  • Watching tv with you
  • Your incredible and consistent love for the animal kingdom especially cats
  • Your presence, just being with you in a room/vehicle/anywhere. I miss that deeply and hope your presence is still with JJ, Lola and me.

  • Sleeping with you and what that means in all its forms!! Platonically speaking, cuddling and reaching out to you in the middle of the night and finding you not there I doubt I’ll ever get used to
  • Your beautiful brown eyes! I could get lost in those for hours on end as you held me in your eyes
  • Reading/meditating/praying together almost nightly before bed
  • Your temper! You were such a passionate person in every way which I adore. You taught me that there are things in this world that are worth being angry about, having said that I would love to be the one toq piss you off one more time!
  • Your enthusiasm and zest for life
  • How amazing you were at Mario Kart and Zelda
  • Your lists! I love how you would make lists for EVERYTHING. Trips, big life decision pro/con, resolutions, goals, best bands, memories, everything! Those are so precious to rediscover now baby girl.

  • Family cuddles with you, me and Lola. These were always my “happy thought” if I was in neverland a good family cuddle would make me fly every day. This is what heaven is to me and I fantasize often of getting in some kind of accident so that I can cuddle with you again.
  • All the awesome and silly little things we’d make into parties for just the two of us. Solstices, half birthdays, Bachelor Nation, girl parties, boy parties, three day weekends, snow days, rainy days, power outages, holidays, working late, sneaking into pools, going to the animal shelter, visiting family, October (aka Rocktober) and so much more!
  • How you never wanted to be first place in anything but also never wanted to be last.
  • Camping
  • A dreamer you always were looking for things to escape the mundane where most people (myself included) are totally resigned to the status quo

  • How you wanted to always “get married twice,” we should NOT have waited to do vow renewals on our 10 year.
  • How you were extremely progressive/liberal for other humans and the world (due to your huge compassionate heart) but incredibly conservative in your own personal life both fiscally and socially
  • wanderlust
  • My favorite feminist who inspired me to own that title as well
  • Your eclectic and bohemian style and design
  • What a great aunt, sister, daughter you were to family
  • I can’t believe I’m saying this but taking pictures with you. I want so badly to take more family photos with you!
  • Road trips, remember how we would sleep in the car at LEAST one night on every trip to save some money…

  • How cheap and thrifty you were! Following your lead we paid off two master’s degrees student loans in less than two years!!
  • National Parks
  • Hikes, hikes, hikes
  • Your absolute passion to make a difference and leave a mark on the world. I hope that I can continue this with JJ
  • Your lips, oh how I love and miss your lips.  We quite easily literally had hundreds of thousands of little kisses! But no more and that breaks my heart into tiny pieces. I love how chapped your lips would get, how you were addicted to chapstick and loved picking the little dried bits of skin.
  • Playing music together and how patient and kind you were with me in my absolute lack of talent. What I wouldn’t give to play Hallelujah or Home with you one more time. Maybe if there is a  heaven people are no longer tone deaf and I can actually keep up with you.

  • Going to concerts. From the little venues like Kilby Court, to the big festival like Hardly Strictly and Coachella we experienced a lot of great music
  • Your total inability to walk in any kind of heels
  • Your mismatched thumbs that I hope our grandkids have through JJ because you always said that trait skips a generation
  • Our shared search for the divine. Shar you and I evolved together. You were my partner, my companion as we attended all sorts of churches and belief systems, prayed, fasted, read, searched meditated, questioned, doubted, believed and comforted. We are ahimsa living, buddhist thinking, peacenik seeking mormons. Who am I ever going to find in a similar place to help me and JJ on this soul searching now!?
  • Your nicknames for me and hearing them come from your mouth: bubby, sweet sweets, baby boy, Jar...
  • Teasing you and you teasing me! Sometimes I regret teasing you so much cuz I would often go too far, but then I think if you were still here with me I would still tease the hell out of you (o;
  • Your passion and idealism to make a difference in the world that changed me forever to give a shit and to want to make a difference in such a heart breaking and difficult world

  • Your love for all the little and broken things of the world, every time I see a little animal dead on the side of the road I get emotional for the animal and for you remembering how that would bring you to tears and I would always hope you didn’t see
  • Our DI treasure hunting
  • Your amazing body that I still fantasize about. Remember that one time in Cedar City when you “caught me” checking out a super hot girl but she was actually you and I still got in trouble haha
  • Watching you create art/music and being totally jealous and mesmerized by your skills
  • Your totally misplaced insecurities and self criticisms about every aspect of YOU. I want so much to hold you in my arms as I did countless times and tell you that the ONLY thing I would change about you is how you see yourself. If you still exist this is my number one wish for you still that you know how amazing, beautiful, wonderful, good, kind, lovable, loved, talented and creative you are. That the world is a better place for having had you in it and a much darker place for losing you

Shar, this was an incredibly difficult post to do. Because quite literally I miss absolutely everything about you and that will never ever be summed up in any kind of writing or picture. I love and miss you so much sweet sweets. Similarly my heart is broken into innumerable tiny pieces that I doubt will ever be made completely whole until either we meet again or my soul ceases to exist.