Thursday, April 14, 2011

I smiled the entire time I talked to Brian today...

Gates and Elder Parker Rose

“And… maybe we heard this somewhere, but God is never that far from us.  We may drift away from him but he’s always there for us.   And so…  if it…  if you feel pretty weak and you feel that you need someone there, he’s always there, so just get down on your knees and just pray.  He’ll answer your prayers.” – Gates Hunsaker (Farewell Talk – 3/27/11)

Brian emailed me Gates’ farewell talk; I transcribed it word-for-word including, from the pulpit, when he said “crap” – which I loved (another good friend to Gates and me smiled about this earlier this week).  It was wonderful to reacquaint myself with his message, considering all that’s happened since his discourse.  After the Hunsaker family has some time to read it, and with their approval, I will post his entire dissertation.

Gates is free of assisted breathing, less the oxygen mask he adorns on occasion.  Once the ventilation was removed, in a gruff, almost inaudible whisper Gates said to his dad, “I want a big ice-cold Sprite!”  Brian laughed.  Thank you everyone, of all faiths and religious beliefs, for your prayers; Gates breathed, all on his own, throughout the day today.  I was happy to hear both sets of Grandparents got to talk to their Grandson.

If Gates stays strong there is hope, a small glimmer of belief he might be transferred from the ICU to rehabilitation as early as tomorrow.  If not tomorrow, Monday is the goal.  His throat is swollen from the abrasive, yet necessary tubing that helped him breath, so they’re keeping an eye on him overnight.

Upon sustaining an injury like Gates did, the goal is to not let atrophy the muscles he can use.  For two hours today he sat in what is known as a “Stroke Chair” while physical therapist made Gates use those muscles in his arms.
Gates and Dad (Brian)

I smiled the entire time I talked to Brian today; he was so blissful and cheery.  To listen to his eldest son converse and joke with friends lifted, even more, his ever positive spirits.  To my surprise and delight Brian called me again, just one hour later, with even more discussion of the day’s events; the tone in his voice was ringing with joy. 

One other thing Brian was sure to mention, was how grateful he was for the comments posted today.  So again, the Hunsaker family thanks you for your inspirational and thoughtful notes on the post.  You touch more than you realize with your optimism shared for Gates.  We all take strength and encouragement from one another and sincerely appreciate those who write, even if you have only just become familiar with Gates via this outlet.

Gates is a remarkable young man and has an uncanny ability to bring people together.

A final thought, piggybacking what Gates shared in his farewell talk and quoted in the first paragraph of this post, which has eternal application:  “Now, even the Savior, when He was on the cross, felt His Father far from Him. You will have moments, perhaps long moments, of feelings of separation.  But the way to draw closer to God is to pray, and listen, and obey Him all your days.”  – President Henry B. Eyring

Cheers, Gates…  enjoy the Sprite!


  1. I don't personally know Gates, but heard about him from my roommate and got interested..

    I'd like to share a poem that has changed my life. I hope that it can help you find comfort in the same way it has helped me.

    The Weaver
    "My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and me.
    I do not choose the colors;
    He worketh steadily.

    Oft' times, He weaveth sorrow
    And I, in foolish pride,
    Forget He sees the upper,
    And I, the under side.

    Not 'till the loom is silent,
    And the shuttles cease to fly,
    Will God unroll the canvas
    And explain the reasons why

    The dark threads are as needful,
    In the skillful weaver's hand,
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned."
    -Author Unknown

    If this doesn't make much sense... Think of something you've seen that's been sewn by hand (embroidery, cross-stitch, etc.). On the under side of the cloth, there are knots and loops and it seems as if there is no pattern or direction to the threads. But on the top of the cloth, there is a beautiful picture.

    1 Nephi 11:17
    "And I said unto him: I know that He loveth His children. Nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."

    I testify that even though we don't know exactly why things happen, it is all part of Heavenly Father's plan, and if we put our faith and trust in Him and allow Him to take control, He will turn our lives into something beautiful.

  2. Couldn't wait to check the blog this morning, and I am so happy for Gates and the family he is able to breath with out assistance!! I'm sure it is so wonderful being able to talk to him and a relief for Gates!! My little Reese loves looking at your blog with me and makes us look at your pictures over and over again, last night she was saying the bed time prayer and without direction she said "Heavenly Father help Gates to feel better" we are ALL thinking of you and praying for you daily! Keep up the hard work Gates you're doing amazing!! I hope Brian and Cheri are hanging in there too!

  3. We too look at the blog right when we wake up, to see how Gates is doing. We are so happy things went well with his breathing. We'll continue to pray for your family, we love you and just know we are all cheering for Gates!

  4. Ya...Gates im so proud of you. I love your farewell talk. Many part's hit right at home within my heart. It is very true, we can pray to our Heavenly Father & know he is there because we can feel him if only only listen & feel of him. I can't help too cry When I read Lindsay's post, to hear of what our dear little Reese had too say in her pray. She is only 3...I now that the little one's spirit's are so close too the veil & the spirit of our Father in Heaven. Gates keep drinking thos ice cold sprite's, they are very good for you...Love you all & im so thankful for evry morning because I know I can get up & see how gates is doing then I go over & tell my mom:)!

  5. We are all cheering for you at the Madsen home, Gates!
    Our family has knelt in prayer many many times to pray for you and your family. Your name is spoken throughout the day. Your updates are so important to us!!
    I remember the day of the farewell, we chatted and I told you and Cherie and Brian what an excellent example you were going to be to Reese and Aidan. (He looks up to you!) You cannot understand how true this has been the past week.
    You and your family are so dear to us. We are here for you! You are amazingly strong-keep it up! We believe in you!

  6. Gates... you are such an inspiration to me, watching you work so hard in therapy yesterday reminded me of your determination on the football field. You are the Hardest working most dedicated player I have ever coached. I know you will attack this challenge with the same intensity and passion.
    After getting to know your family better, I now realize where your strength and determination comes from I have spent alot of time talking to your Grandfather he is one of the most Amazing people I have ever met.
    Remember what we talked about... You are a giant killer!!! You slew Goliath on the football field 2 years ago at East and you will also dominate this opponent.
    I love You and have faith in you, I know you will overcome this challenge

  7. We are so happy to hear of every step that you are making in your recovery. Not a prayer goes by without mention of your name, not a day goes by without talk of you. I know prayers are being answered. I am a true believer that little children's prayers have a direct, fast track line to our Father in Heaven. He feels very tender toward their desires. I know the Primary children in our ward are so concerned and are praying for you. These prayers are being answered. You are amazing. Stay strong!

  8. We are friends of Susie and Shaun and Jeff and Angie. We are praying for you and your family and know firsthand that Heavenly Father will be with you through this entire process. Your room is sacred, and angels attend you there. We spent 87 days in IMC, first on the neuro ICU floor and then up on the 12th floor. They truly are miracle workers and I'm excited for you to be there. It's the best place ever to heal. We also met the therapist in the wheelchair last summer at a 12th floor retreat. I am still in awe of his independence and accomplishments but most of all his uplifting spirit. Ask him to show you his big red truck and introduce you to his trusty canine companion. It's amazing! Gates, we want you to know that you are truly on a mission and teaching so many about the gospel. Hang in there!

    Diane Knight

  9. Praying for you in Birmingham, Alabama!

  10. Gates, we are all praying for you and I am truly amazed at the progress you have made! Keep it up!
    You are so lucky to have Brandon as your mentor. What a blessing for the Sulser family to have been in our ward so that you can have Brandon as an example of how to live your life and be an inspiration to all! Brandon was such a great example to me in his Sunday School class (as I'm sure he was to everyone!) and now that he will be your mentor, you are in good hands! Hang in there! And know that you are in all of our thoughts and prayers! Thanks for the example you have set for all of us!
    ~Elizabeth Stuart (Foothill Ward)

  11. Gates we don't know each other, but you do know my little sister (Jamie Frandsen) and her friends. We were all actually supposed to go to the tumbling gym together the night of your accident. I've heard a lot of great things about you and I'm glad your getting better. Your faith is very inspiring! Hopefully we can all hangout when your doing better. Your in my prayers :) Stay strong :) I looks like you have an amazing surrounding of family and friends of love you. You are such a great example to us all!

  12. Come on Gates, sprite?!?!? You can do better than that!!! D.p. All the way :) see you tomorrow !!! Love you!

  13. Gates,
    This is Lakens mom! We have all been thinking about you and praying for you! Your mom and I used to fly together too! Cherie, I am thinking about you and am so proud of all of you! Keep staying positive, you've got the whole world routing for you!

  14. To the Gates family from the Papenfuss family: We are praying for you and had a family fast this Sunday for you. We are seeing many blessings coming your way and are grateful for all the progress thus far. We have never met, but we have alot in common having boys in sports and one son on a mission, plus I think we are in the same stake! Our prayers are with you.

    All our love, the Papenfuss Family (NSL, UT)

  15. Gates, good to hear you are making good strides. Ryan and Jordan are also excited about your progress. You continue to be a constant in our prayers and we know God is so very close to you and your dear family. Cherie and Brian sending you MUCH love...

  16. So glad to learn no trake and breathing on your own...awesome....keep up the faith...good progress...we're praying for you daily....Brieana says hi...she is running her first marathon Gates please say a prayer for her as she will need a lot of strength and support to run her first ever marathon and with two titanium rods in her back....Bree goes to show us all that despite her scoliosis and subsequent operation to put two rods in her back, tomorrow she runs her first marathon....all things are possible with God and one's desire, mindset, and goal. Keep the faith Gates!

  17. Gates, I know your mom and dad. Your dad is friends with my former husband Mark Egginton. I remember holding you when you were a newborn when we went out to eat with your parents. I had just lost a baby, and was so excited to hold you. You are an amazing young man and such a great example to everyone with your courage and positive attitude. Stay strong. Sincerely, Becky Egginton-Workman.