When it came down to honoring his wishes, it surprised us all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I’m not one of those people who takes the time on memorial day to go and visit graves. I find it to be very commercialized now. I say that because literally at the graveyards (here in Utah anyway) they have a Pepsi or Coke truck out in the middle of the grounds for you to get a soda or a snack while you are out and about putting on the same mums someone else has on your loved ones grave.
I am all about remembering those who have passed but I would rather do it on another day under other circumstances.

Until this year.

I am not sure if I ever mention it here on the blog that Cody’s (my husband) dad died on the 4th of February this year. He was 57 and had a lot of medical and mental issues but it was still a shock to us when he indeed passed. It was always my fear of what my role would be when that happened. I would think of that consistently when we’d visit him in the ICU when he was on life support a few years ago.

My husband is just a quite person about how he feels that I didn’t know what I would be like if it did happen. So when it did, one of the first things I thought was how do I even talk to Cody?
He’s dad’s passing was so different from all the times I lost my grandparents on my parents side that I learned that life is way more beautiful then I thought. And that celebrating someone's life is more then finding the perfect casket or plot of land that you will bury them at.

My father in law was a character. He would wear Hawaiian shirts and mismatched knee length socks and a different colored shoe on each foot. He had the best dad jokes and was so wise beyond his years. He made the best homemade spaghetti I ever had and listened to the best music.

He also struggled with the same demons that Cody does. The never ending depression. The never feeling like they are and were good enough. That life would be better with out them. The social anxiety. The fear of big crowds. That took up most of Rulan’s life. So when it came down to honoring his wishes it surprised us all.

He chose to donate his body to science. He struggle with so many physical and mental issues that he knew by doing this that one day someone else would benefit from what science could possibly learn from him.

We learned of  his wish the day he died. So as they came to take his body from his home we saw him for the last time there surrounded by those who loved him. We kissed his still semi warm checks, whispered our love for him in his ears and hugged him for the last time, not in a funeral home but in his home.

And as he left to be transported to the University of Utah we stood there silenced not knowing what to expect next. Where would we go from here, how would it work?
That was the most beautiful part because we sat there together in his home surrounded by his things looking at a scrapbook full of the things he loved laughing, loving and crying.

I learned there, that no matter how we go or where we choose to be after we are gone. Our life will be summed up by the people who love us, telling stories about us, remembering how we loved them.
So this memorial weekend I did visit a gravesite not just for my father in law but for all those who chose to donate their bodies to science. I got to be apart of a annual memorial service they hold for the families of those brave love ones where they tell us how grateful they are because of our loved ones. How much they are learning and how much they respect their bodies.

It was beautiful.

So beautiful that when my husband and I pass we will follow in his footsteps. I thank god everyday that I got to be apart of Rulan’s life and death journey. He was truly one of my favorite people and was loved more then he could have ever imagined.

We miss you Rulan Joy Christensen.
Linking up with Mama Kat


  1. Wow what an amazing post! Thank you for sharing it!

  2. What a good thing your father-in-law did and your tribute to him was lovely.

  3. What a remarkable man to have had the pleasure of knowing. I love your tribute to him.