Sunday, October 9, 2016

SLC revisited

JJ, my mom and I returned to Salt Lake City Thursday through Saturday for a few exciting things. Overall it was a good, busy and exhausting visit. JJ did surprisingly well in the car even though he hates riding day to day on the way to babysitters. Obviously one key difference is he had one of us waiting in the back with him, regardless he did really well! It was a good trip but in many ways a tough trip. It was my first time going back to SLC since moving south and there were constant reminders of my old lost life.
JJ bundled up for the cold northern country
The main reason that brought us back to my old home is JJ had his 4 month checkup with some of the specialists he worked with while in the NICU. The results? He passed with flying colors! He met with 5 different specialists and the only thing that they found that may not be completely up to snuff is that he his unusually tight hamstrings! There is always “worst case scenario” with anything but it is probably genetics as neither the Buhanans or Deckers are especially known for their flexibility.
JJ and my incredible aunt Christy who has always been there for all of us kids

Four months ago I was being told that JJ might never walk, be blind, have severe learning disabilities or a host of other “worst cases” but now many of the specialists say they never need to see him again. He is an amazing little guy. JJ is super smiley, quick to give anyone a cute big grin. He is very empathetic with his mirror neurons firing all over the place as he watches his cousins and others. JJ is a great eater, almost 16 pounds and in the 93%. Overall he seems to be a great kid. Of course he is has plenty of grumpy moments and can be incredibly exhausting but all things considered he is doing so so well.
One of Shar's favorite paintings of Jesus, usually seen with just the face. I had forgotten the boy.
After the checkup I had the opportunity to meet with an LDS general authority who I admire and actually received a pretty powerful blessing. It was a very positive meeting and I left feeling inspired and comforted. His love, kindness and compassion had a lasting impact on me. He told me to listen to the good people in my life because that is often how God communicates with us. Two themes that came up throughout our visit were trusting Jesus and one of my greatest weaknesses, patience. Patience with myself, with God and with life.
Our Sandy house that we lived in together for all of two months
Next I finally was able to sign the final paperwork to close on the house that Sharry and I bought just a few short months ago. My realtor is pretty amazing and kind of surprisingly had pretty powerful words of wisdom and comfort for me...not things you typically expect from your house hunter. It was great to see her and to check off one more thing that needed to be done.

After closing we went to visit the wonderful medical staff that assisted the BD3. It was good to see these loving folks again. They were super excited to see how well JJ is progressing. My only regret here is that of course there were many of the nurses/doctors who were not on shift when we just happened to drop by.
Sharry preparing plants for the house and yard
We also were able to spend a few hours with my grandpa and JJ's sole remaining great grandparent in Bountiful. It is always great to see him. I have many fond memories of him growing up and am so grateful JJ is able to "meet" him. My grandpa also lost my grandma not too long ago and he and I are able to have good little chats about loss and hopes for the afterlife.
JJ and his great grandpa
We were able to stay two nights with Sharry’s sister Lisa and her amazing family. I love and miss them so very much. They were definitely the people that Sharry and I would visit the most in my old life and in my new life I see far too little of them. JJ loves seeing his cousins and Lisa and her husband Nate are always amazing kind and generous hosts.

A handful of the fabulous MMS crew
On Friday morning we met up with some great friends from the Sandy area and had a delicious breakfast mixed with some always important life catching up. From there I had arranged to teach a “last lesson with love” to my beautiful 8th grade students who I miss and love so much at Midvale Middle School. It was a powerful and emotional experience being back in the school that I was torn away from this summer when my life came crashing down. I think I received 200+ hugs and JJ got all sorts of love. He only was there for a couple of hour before he left to hang out with some cousins, but needless to say he was a hit. My lesson was on the “BD 3E’s” of Experiences, Elevation (setting high goals for yourself) and Empathy. I recorded it and as soon as I get the recording I think I’ll do a whole post about it so stay tuned. My students are amazing and I hope I didn’t depress them too much but I wanted to let them know that I hadn’t abandoned them but had some big life changes that had happened.

While being at Midvale though I had the wonderful sensation of being back in my old life and it crossed my mind a couple times throughout the day that I couldn’t wait to go home (our sold house) to be with Sharry and hang out with her (I used to get excited every day for this). But then I would have the awful realization that this is impossible.
A belt gifted to me by MMS staff that says "BD, SHARRY, JJ" made from confiscated old english belt buckles (o:
After saying goodbye to my beloved Midvale staff and students I headed out to my sister’s place in Stansbury Park where my mom and JJ were already chilling. It was so good to her and her busy male (3 boys and husband Josh) Kastleman crew. They are so full of life and excitement. She even did a quick mini photo shoot of JJ which I’m sure you’ll be seeing soon. I miss her as well. I see a lot less of her being so far south.
What a wonderful grandma
Overall it was a very positive trip but with many reminders of my stolen life. I am trying to focus on the good but oh man what I wouldn’t do to go back in time if even for an instant to cuddle with Sharry in our old stomping grounds.

PS This week is our fall break in St George and I’m actually doing my first solo road trip in a pilgrimage of sorts to California to revisit some of the BD favorite spots. I anticipate it being an emotional, tough and hopefully rewarding trip. I will try to post picture updates throughout on social media and a blog post summarizing after my trip is through.


  1. This is Jami:). Loved this post so much:). Can i ask which church authority you were able to see? You don't have to share...just curious. :)

  2. Wow, keep going. Thank you for being so open about this heartbreaking journey you have been forced into. Reading your words combined with your lovely wife's previous posts has taugh me a lot. Truly, thank you for sharing. And I'm so glad you got to do one last lesson at your middle school! How neat for you and your students. -Carissa Davis