Mekenzi and I started dating back around October-November’ish of 2007. I was a cute returned missionary and my outlook into the future was bright and positive! (Insert Car Screech noise) – “Holy shit, really?” – Is probably what some of my co-workers and friends may say to that, along with some of my family members. Well, it’s true assholes! My job has definitely had a huge impact on me, though. Dealing with the shit I deal with hasn’t really provided a gaping hole for positivity to push through.
Before you judge me and determine I’m an asshole, let our story convince you otherwise. We won’t rewind too far, but we’ll rewind to where I began with my sister in-law, Alexis. We are not going to dive too much into her drug addiction, the shit-head baby-daddy I arrested at one point, or the negativity surrounding her life. Instead, the focus will be on the things she wanted and the person she desperately tried to become. We will focus on Alexis – She died so we could live.
I remember when I first met Alexis. She had this really stubborn, obnoxious, and cute as shit 3 year old daughter. Her name was Rilan. She was the most spoiled little turd I had ever met. She ran around her Grandma and Papa’s house like she was the Queen, and she was. Mekenzi and Rilan were the best of friends. I came around and Rilan knew I was taking her away (little did she know we’d come back for her later on in her life and become her parents).
Anyways, Alexis was doing really good back when I first started dating Mekenzi. I don’t remember if she held a job but she seemed like a great mom and a kind person. She had this goofy damn laugh that was one of those contagious laughs. The laughs that come from the belly and when she laughed everyone laughed!
It didn’t take long for me to really connect with Alexis, on a lot of different levels. For one, we shared our passion of swear words. We also shared a cruel sense of humor that most people wouldn’t understand. She liked to joke around and that helped me feel comfortable. We became great friends over the years. She always told Mekenzi and I that if anything were to happen to her, we would be the ones to take care of her kids.
On April 8, 2009 at approximately 0400 in the morning, Alexis decided to be her regular dipshit self and give birth on the bathroom floor at her parents house. I remember checking on duty and logging into my work computer. The CAD screen showed one call. It was a medical call in Stansbury and the notes described it all. Alexis had her baby girl. She named her, Ren. Little did I know, my future daughter had just been brought into the world! I’m sure you guessed it, I went right to the hospital to see what the hell happened.
Jumping a little ahead to 2010, I took a change of assignment. I left this City PD and we moved. Alexis began her downward spiral around this time. We ended up moving Ren into our home in Saratoga Springs for a while. My gut feeling and Mekenzi’s was telling us we needed to keep Ren and see how things would pan out with Alexis. There was a time we didn’t allow her to come into our home because she was in such bad shape. For example: She stole some of my prescription medication. I just couldn’t trust her at this time. As much as I loved Alexis, I hated what she was doing. I didn’t want her anywhere near my family. She had been to multiple rehabs but none of them really worked. A lot of it was personal choice, and some of it was because her dad would go get her and bring her home. She was very manipulative. If Alexis wanted something, by damn she was going to get it. Like her dad going to get her. I can’t say I blame him. I would probably go get my baby girl, too.
With that, she was able to manipulate her parents into thinking she was fine and after several weeks of Mekenzi and I taking care of Ren, her dad came and got her because he wanted to believe his daughter was fine. I was pissed and angry. It had gone on long enough that I knew Alexis wasn’t well. I knew she wasn’t going to heal. At one point, DCFS was involved but wouldn’t do shit because the girls lived in a “stable home” with grandparents. They didn’t care to really dive into the situation. They eventually closed the case and throwing in the towel was about all we could do. We hated knowing drug use was heavily abused in the home. We were constantly finding narcotics and drug paraphernalia, but again, DCFS didn’t give a damn. Mekenzi would often go over during the day and Ren would be roaming the house alone or watching TV while Alexis was passed out from her “high”. Mekenzi would take her home to play and be with Emma (Emma is our first born. Her and Ren have always been best friend’s).
With all the negativity and anger that Alexis and the drugs brought to the family, Mekenzi and I had to sit down and talk. It was emotionally and physically demanding to continue being upset with Alexis. We both decided to stop pushing against her and to just love her and do our best to help her. We decided to include her in the different things we were doing and especially involve her with Church. Mekenzi and I are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I remember Alexis would always ask me questions about the church. She was extremely interested and loved learning about the Savior. The Bishop of her ward home helped her get into another rehab facility. He loved Alexis and wanted to see her succeed. Alexis seemed to be doing much better. She even held a calling as secretary in the Relief Society Presidency.
Eventually, all good things sometimes come to an end. That is exactly what happened with Alexis. She had a revolving door in her life that couldn’t leave her be. Alexis relapsed and went back down a fatal path. She was in and out of jail until she passed away. This is a tragic day we will always remember…
I was in the process of testing with a bigger agency, but still working for a smaller police agency. Mekenzi and I went in for my final medical exam. After that, we planned on going to the University Hospital to be with my Grandpa who was passing away. I left the medical appointment and we went and got McDonald’s before going up to the University Hospital. As we were leaving the County we were in, Mekenzi received a phone call from her brother in-law to call her sister, Ashlie.
Mekenzi called Ashlie and she delivered the upsetting news that Alexis had passed away at home. I remember punching the steering wheel as hard as I could and the only thing that came out of my mouth was “SWEAR WORD”. (You have to give me a break, my sister in-law had just died at home and I’m sure she would have justified saying the same thing if she was in my shoes).
It was almost like the chemistry in my brain began to go crazy. A million thoughts flowed through my head as we headed west towards Tooele…
– I knew I had to drive to my in-laws.
– I knew I had to watch my wife go in and see her sister passed away on her bed.
– I knew I would have to see my law enforcement friends at the house and hear their awkward “I’m sorry for your loss”.
– I knew I would have to watch everyone say their last goodbye as the medical examiner took her body out of the house
– I knew I had to see Rilan and Ren and watch their facial expressions when Mekenzi sat down on the floor and told them their mommy was is heaven now.
– I knew I had to fulfill Alexis’ wish and take care of her girls.
– I knew I had just lost one of my best friends.
The list just goes on and on.
10/1/1978 ~ 10/17/2013 Alexis was born to Alex and Debbie Pacheco on October 1, 1978 and passed away peacefully at home on October 17, 2013. Alexis graduated in 1997 from T High School then went on to receive her Associates Degree in surgical technology in 2008 with honors. Alexis leaves behind Rilan (10) and Ren (4), her two beloved daughters who were the light of her life. She was a wonderful and fun mother. Her girls loved her very much and will miss her. With a contagious laugh that no one could forget, she enjoyed her family and was usually the life of the party with a quirky personality and crazy sense of humor. Alexis loved her nieces and nephews very much and was the favorite “Aunt Lala”. She loved playing games, watching movies and was a ‘master at pranking’ others. Very opinionated, she loved a good argument and always thought she won every one! Generous to a fault – She never forgot anyone’s birthday and had a knack of always coming up with a gift – no matter how small. As a gifted artist, she was extremely talented in sports, loved dance and was very proud of cheerleading in high school. Alexis is loved very much and has a left a huge hole in the hearts of the whole family!
Alexis – She died so we could live. That is the only way to explain what happened. It wasn’t long and Mekenzi and I sold our home. We felt moving in with her parents would help ease the transition to us raising Ren. We initially didn’t have intentions of raising Rilan because we thought she was comfortable living with Mekenzi’s parents. We built in their basement and lived there for about two years. It was extremely hard for me as it was for my wife. Her parents were use to raising Ren but dual parenting was not working. We had our own family to raise and trying to raise my kids and Ren in the basement was driving us insane. Mekenzi’s parents are good people, but we had our own way of parenting that conflicted with them just being grandparents.
Rilan didn’t know why Ren was being adopted by us and not her. The situation was explained to her and she didn’t like the idea of not being included. When we presented the idea of adopting both girls, Rilan was the first one on board. Mekenzi and I knew if it was going to work, we had to move out of the basement. So, I didn’t waste any time. My parents were willing to work with us. They moved in with my grandma because she needed help and we moved into their home.
This created the first argument I ever had with my mother in-law.
(She will probably be mad at me for this next paragraph, but there is an entire other story I have to write about all the good things her and I have been through. So Debbie, I love you and you have something to look forward to!)
I love my mother in-law but we didn’t see eye to eye on us moving. I remember the moving truck being outside and I was in one of the basement rooms packing. My mother in-law came down in the basement but she didn’t know I was in the other room. I remember her telling Rilan she didn’t have to be adopted by us and her promising to get her a new bed and painting her own room. This contradicted everything she had been telling us. I felt somewhat of betrayal. I came out of the room pissed as hell. I told her she was doing Rilan no favors by trying to convince her to stay. She had agreed for nearly a year that Rilan and Ren needed to be part of a family with a mom and dad. She always said she wanted to be a grandparent to them, like they deserved to be.
I didn’t realize how they felt about the adoption until we moved out of their home. My in-laws had raised Rilan for so long that they felt like they were her parents. For awhile, it was hard for me to understand why they couldn’t just be grandparents. It’s definitely a story for another day; however, time heals all wounds and I truly believe that.
Rilan was 10 and Ren was 4 when Alexis passed away. By the time we moved into my parents, Rilan was 12 and Ren was 6. Mekenzi and I have always gone to church and we have raised Rilan and Ren, along with our own children, in the church. I have baptized everyone of my kids to this point, to include Rilan and Ren.
Rilan was at an age where she understood a lot of what was going on. She made the decision to live with us and to be adopted by us. We never forced her to do any of it. She has always been extremely grateful and kind to both Mekenzi and I. She is by far one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever known and extremely caring. She knows who her Savior is and has since a young girl. She is involved in her church assignments and Young Women’s. Rilan is very athletic and can do just about anything. Currently, she is on the high school cheer team and maintains great grades. Her favorite class is seminary. She looks, laughs, and has a sense of humor like her mommy.
Then there is a Ren. She is one of the biggest lights of our life. She is witty and funny. She is one of the most clumsy girls we know; however, she is one hell of a first baseman in softball. She loves to act, is really enthusiastic, and animated. Her personality is quirky and goofy. Her love for the gospel and her Savior is also very pure. She knows him on a different level than any of her siblings. She really is a joy to life and our family.
We fought a long adoption for both girls and we ended up finalizing everything December of 2016. We were sealed together as a family just after. We officially became the Terry family!
As hard as it has been for all of us to adjust over the years, we have done it together. We have battled out our differences and accepted our similarities. We love each other and we are happy. We know that Alexis is with us constantly. Her spirit is felt in our home and in both of the girls the more they grow. We trust each other and we listen to each other (I’m a terrible listener but I try). I love these girls more than I can explain. I miss their mommy every day, but I see her in their countenance each day. They are smart, friendly, beautiful, and Christlike in every way. Mekenzi and I try our best to honor Alexis by giving her baby girls the things she tried to but couldn’t physically do. Alexis – She died so we could live. This is all she ever wanted. She wanted to get well more than anyone. She was not able to beat her sickness, so she ultimately passed away so her girls could have the best opportunities in life. Opportunities that she knew her sister and brother in-law would provide for her babies. We love honoring her legacy and raising her girls. We love you, LaLa.