Hello Everyone,

It has been a little while since I have posted anything.  We have been busy getting back to life and trying to build a "new normal".  The concept of a "new normal" is something our family has become very accustomed to over the past few years.  We had to do it when Amber was diagnosed with cancer, during her original rounds of treatment, when she was off aggressive treatment for six months, when the cancer started to rear its ugly head again, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, when she went back on aggressive chemotherapy, each time she had to try a new chemotherapy because the old one wasn't working, when she went on hospice care, when she began to decline so much she could not leave the house, and finally with a tremendous hole where Amber used to be.  Building a "new normal" usually involves gaining a full understanding of how the change effects each aspect of our lives, feeling a little out of control, wondering how in the world we are going to do it, realizing there is no way "in the world" we can, refocusing our faith in Jesus to encompass the new challenge in front of us, and finally exercising our faith by moving forward with His help. 

We have found that an important key to effectively refocusing your faith lies in the bible reference where Jesus is walking to his apostles on the water and Jesus wants to walk out on the water to him.  Jesus told him to come unto Him.  Full of focused faith, Peter climbed over the side of the boat and with his faith fixed on the Savior he began walking on the water to Him.  As long as Peter had his eyes fixed on the Savior he walked safely toward Jesus.  But as he walked the winds began to whip around him, the waves began to get more unruly, and these new challenges began to distract Peter's faith and made him avert his eyes from the source of his faith, and help.  As soon as he looked away he began to sink in the water and his faith began to waiver.  Now terrified that he may drown he cried out to Jesus, "save me"!  A little saddened, but understanding, Jesus reached out and caught his beloved apostle and saved him.  At least some wind and waves were probably there when Peter first exited the boat and was walking safely toward the Savior but he paid them no mind and kept his focus on Jesus.  When Peter lost his focus and looked away from the Savior was when he had problems.  We are the same as Peter. When we come unto Him, which is His constant invitation, and don't let the distractions or problems of this life shake our faith and trust in Him, his power and strength is upon us, and we can do endure anything put in front of us well.  This is the key no matter what you or I are facing in this life. 

I am not sure where we are in the process of building a new normal but I know three things.  First, our eyes are locked on the Savior and we are trying the best we know how to continue together coming to Him.  Second, I still don't think we fully understand all of the challeges associated with Amber not being here so we have a ways to go in building our new normal.  Third, I know we are probably not going to get a sabbatical from life's trial and challenges just because we think we have had our share.  For this reason and many others I am going to do everything I can to help me and my family fix our faith and focus on Jesus and his sustaining, and saving grace. 

On Sunday night we had Amber's viewing and the mortuary was very busy.  The mortuary did a wonderful job preparing Amber and she looked as good as someone can without their spirit in their body.  She truly looked much like herself and looked peaceful like she was asleep.  The viewing was to be from 6:00-8:00PM.  We decided to have family members come early so they would have the first opportunity to be there.  By 5:15PM our friends that were more experienced viewing goers started showing up to see if they could get in.  They were very respectful in making sure the family was done before approaching.  I kind of planned on this happening because I knew how many people loved Amber and continue to love her family.  The last visitor left the viewing at around 9:00PM.  In between I experienced the most amazing out pouring of love and caring I could ever have imagined as hundreds of people filed past Amber's casket to pay their respects and show their love.  I am truly amazed but I am not ungrateful.  Thank you for love and support and for braving the long lines at the mortuary!.

The funeral on Monday was an absolute spiritual feast for our family.  The tributes paid by Amber's mother and siblings truly touched our hearts and helped us remember again and again what made Amber so wonderful.  My children took a couple of minutes to share somethings they will always remember about their mother and then testify and declare their own sweet, simple, faith in God's plan, the Savior's grace, and in being able to be with their mother again.  The best part of each tribute by my children is that the words, feelings, sentiments, and faith was their own.  I was so proud of them!  I was able to share Amber's own words about faith and hope from her blog posts in the fall of 2008.  Another thing I shared was my gratitude to Amber for patiently teaching me how to enjoy my children "the Amber way".  I was grateful that I did not just get up and blubber.  The funeral services were ended by two of our beloved local church leaders President Reeder and President Tams sharing thoughts about making sense of the things that happen in life, exercising our faith in Christ, and assuring our children that Amber would be able to "parent through the veil", or from heaven.  What sweet and comforting words they shared and how grateful we are for our special relationship with these two spiritual giants. 

The kids and I are trying to get back to normal schedules and things that are important to us.  Bekah and Abby even went to school part of the day on the day of the funeral.  They wanted to so I allowed it.  All of the kids went to school Tuesday-Friday and I believe they did pretty well.  The classes, accomplishing work and assignments, and being with understanding and loving classmates helped them immensely.  I went back to work on Wednesday.  Ammon and especially Caleb thought that I would become a stay at home dad or at very least just work part time for a long time.  As much as I would love to do this, it is just not possible.  Amber's mother and my mother have lovingly agreed to watch Ammon at our house for a while until Caleb feels secure about the current situation and sees that everything is OK.  So far all of the kids seem to be handling the transitions just fine.  My co-workers have been so awesome and took over my cases and other work while I was gone.  I think they were surprised I came back just two days after the funeral.  I have a lot of great friends at work so following the advise I gave to my children and getting back to normal things has helped me a lot. 

I miss my wife so much and long to be with her and talk to her.  I do pretty well most of the day but at night when the kids are in bed it's more difficult.  I miss telling her about the things that are going on, talking to her about the kids, counseling with her about difficult things that naturally occur in life, and holding her hand.  Luckily I am not a night person so by the time I finish doing necessary things after the children are in bed, and lay down in bed, I fall asleep rather quickly.  I am so grateful for the constant outpouring of love, visits, cards, and prayers.  You have truly "mourned with those that mourn, and comforted those that stand in need of comfort".  In short you have done what the Savior would do if He were in your place.  We love you, thank you, and esteem you as our dear friends. 
Leslie Garbanati
10/24/2009 01:50:16 am

Dear Chase Family,
Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourselves on this blog. I just stumbled upon,,,actually trying to find informatin about Amber's sevices. I am so strengthened by your faith and understanding. Your family is a pillar of hope for us all. It is such a pleasure to know you and to have sweet Bekah in my class every day. I just want to hug her all the time.

Thank-you Dan for sharing your faith, this blog has really helped secure my faith , Amber was a truely special person, blessings to you and your family in the days to come, I truely you will continue to blessed the rest of your llives
10/24/2009 03:33:51 am

10/25/2009 01:13:16 am


Thank you so much for your update. We've been checking your blog frequently and are grateful to know how you are doing.

Yesterday Ryker (our 2 year old) was telling me about Amber's funeral. I told him I was sad that she had died. He thought for a second and said, "You can see her when she comes back alive."

I am so grateful that we have the gospel to assure of the being together again.

Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayes continually!

Much love,

Jeanel Stanley

Aunt Lori
10/25/2009 01:19:36 pm

Dan, our thoughts and prayers continue for you and the family. It was an amazing funeral, so full of the spirit. You are blessed with the most amazing children. My life has been greatly touched by these past experiences and the words you and Amber have shared on this web site. May the veil continue to be thin between heaven and earth for you and your sweet family. Love, Aunt Lori

10/26/2009 02:26:06 am

Glad to hear that your family is doing as well as they are.

I am impressed by your children's testimonies. They spoke really well at the funeral. I had to leave early to pick up my son from school, but was glad to hear as much as I did. Funerals, although hard, can be very spiritually uplifting and it's nice to be reminded of what's important.

Jadai-BCO Boards
10/26/2009 12:49:07 pm

Dan and Children,

I am truly amazed at the strength you have shown during this time. As someone who has lost a loved one to this disease I have kept you so close in my thoughts over the past week and a half. I know that Amber is keeping a close eye on you all and Dan, you can speak with her, just in a different way. I talk to my mom all of the time and it is she who actually pulls me back from the edge on some of those days when missing her becomes almost unbearable. I also want to say that I admire such a strong faith and honestly I wish I had it, I wish that someone had instilled it in me from such a young age as you are doing to your own children. I believe that will get them through this. Sorry to ramble but just know there are so many who deeply care. Take care of yourself.

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