She was the woman I so wanted to be.
She was good at literally everything.
Her and I went to a shotgun shooting class.
I had never seen a gun in real life before that day.
On the way over I shared that with her and she assured me:
We're both going to learn.
We got there and Vanetta opened her trunk and took out two guns.
Her own- that her Dad made for her.
And one for me.
Through our lessons that day we each shot 50 clay pigeons.
I hit 6 that day.
Vanetta hit 48.
The summer I was 25 we went fishing every Saturday.
We just did.
I went with her and Paul and Kent.
Even when Ken was working.
We had taught ourselves to fly fish.
And were so proud to be "purists."
Kent and Paul had waded out to their chests and were casting and casting and casting.
It was so hot.
Especially in waders.
I looked over and saw Vanetta heading towards shallower waters.
I followed her and we set our rods in the boat and then
We sat in the water.
And cooled ourselves.
We looked at the rocks.
And the snails.
And ran our fingers through the water.
And she said:
Isn't it amazing that God made this for us today?
We were Visiting Teaching partners.
Our deal was she would call and set up the appointments and I would give the lesson.
She was such a natural talking to people.
Relating to people.
Once we were supposed to meet with a lady who wasn't active in the church.
When we got there the lady wasn't home so Vanetta asked her husband if we could meet with him!
We stayed for an hour and a half.
Then she had me give my lesson.
After we'd leave each house she would tell me what a natural teacher I was.
She'd tell me how good I was at talking to people.
How I could relate to them in ways she couldn't.
I never saw that in me.
When I found out I had a brain tumor and told Vanetta about it she was dead set on zoning it out of me.
She gave me foot zones three times a week.
She brought oils over.
And gave me gross drinks to drink.
Like Living Thyme. And Kombucha.
She'd rub my feet and speak so optimistically about my future.
She'd tell me how smart she thought I was.
And how strong she thought I was.
She'd tell me what beautiful babies she'd thought I would have one day.
She never believed my tumor would cause infertility.
Like my doctors said it would.
Like I believed it was.
She'd smile and her cheeks would go clear up.
And her eyes would sparkle like a thousand Christmas stars.
And she'd say:
You're gonna be a great Mom some day.
And I got pregnant.
And, I think, Vanetta always kinda' counted Kole as hers a little bit.
She was responsible for that baby getting to me.
She gave me teas for morning sickness.
She brought different oils.
And kept on zoning.
She brought clothes for the baby and slippers and books.
And a few weeks before the baby came... she threw me an outrageous baby shower.
She cleared all the furniture out of her house to accommodate.
I remember she put peas in her chicken salad that day.
That day she always had her hand on my back or around my shoulders.
A few times she held my hand. And patted it.
When the clean up was done and I was still eating cake she said:
We did it.
And something then, and now, made me think she was talking about more than putting chairs away.
And I wish I still had one of those little bottles of oil to smell.
I'd just sit.
And smell it.
When I went to the hospital at 4 in the morning...we called our parents.
And then called Vanetta.
She was the first person to hold him.
I can't believe I don't have a picture of that.
Maybe Kent does.
I'd like one.
Vanetta was gracious and lovely.
She had a naivete that I longed to possess.
She never said anything mean. Ever.
She never even said, "I really shouldn't say this but,"...
She had class.
The old kind.
She thought Kent looked like Nicholas Cage.
She snorted when she laughed.
She sang alto.
I was always her partner in Pinochle.
I never led the round.
I'd tease myself that at least I was a good supporter.
You're good at everything.
I love how she smelled.
Earthy and natural with something... extra. Something spicy.
I loved her hair.
Especially when her gray was coming in.
Because mine is the same way.
I loved all the bright colors she'd wear to church.
And how she'd tuck her shirts in even when she was dressed casually.
I love that she thought I was tall.
And good at things.
She came and saw me the first day we moved to Farmington.
And I just...
thought she'd come see me on our first days back in Idaho Falls.
Vanetta was calm.
She had things figured out.
She helped everyone.
This effect she had on me... making me feel like her own...
Everyone feels this same way about her.
How did she do that?
For nearly a week I've been thinking:
Now there is this void.
And no one can fill it.
No one is like her.
No one is.
And, at first, that made me mad.
And then today I thought:
I can still try to be.
That was my unspoken goal anyhow.
I can still give.
With all my heart.
I think maybe that was her secret.