The Greatest Pleasure In Life Is Doing What People Say You Cannot
Author: The Thin Blue Lawn
Why would anyone want to know who I am? It’s a question I have asked myself every single day. I’m not a celebrity or anyone famous. I am just a simple dude from a simple town. I could be considered a “millennial” with my birthday being in 1986. I am not saying I don’t belong in this category, but often times “millennials” are referred to as “lazy or entitled”. That is definitely not what I consider myself to be. So, who am I? I am lot’s of things. I am a Football Champion, Eagle Scout, Returned Missionary, State Trooper K9 Handler, Husband of a Business Owner, and Father to 5 kids. Most importantly, I am Mike Terry!
I was born and raised in the great State of Utah back in July of 1986. I was born in a household with two loving parents. About a year after I was born, my dad started his career in Law Enforcement for a small agency, just west of Salt Lake City. In 1989, he took his career to a small town in Eastern Utah to work with the Utah Highway Patrol. It was in that small town where I learned to ride a bike in the alleyway behind our home. My dad taught me how to peddle that bright red bike as he held onto the seat behind me while I peddled. It didn’t take me long to look back and see my dad had let go of the seat and I was doing it on my own (you’re dang right I crashed once I realized he let go); however, this experience helped me become who I am today. I have always had the help of my parents, especially my dad. I have always tried to walk in his footsteps and make him proud. My dad letting go of my seat that day in the alleyway only paved the road ahead for my future. My dad taught me I could do things by myself and eventually he would have to let go, even if I would eventually fall. He also taught me he would always be watching me and encouraging me to get back on and keep trying.
In 1993, we moved back to that small town just west of Salt Lake City. My dad took a transfer with the Utah Highway Patrol and it was a transfer which would make me the person I am today. We lived in a modest home on a street called Kingston Drive. I have pretty much learned all of my life lessons from Kingston Drive. In 1994, I was able to start my football career. I was probably crazy to put those football pads on, because I was literally the smallest guy on the field. I never wanted to let my teammates know I was scared to take a hit, so I always volunteered to take on the biggest guy. It was in 1994 when I earned my nickname “Little Mikey”. I always played on my older brother’s team because I didn’t want to play with anyone else but him. My older brother has always and will always be my best friend. He’s the world’s biggest “dink” but he has a heart of gold. He has always protected me and made sure I fit in with the group, even being the smallest guy. His friends were always my friends. That’s how we grew up. Our little league football team was a group of championship players. We won the state championship 4 of our 5 years playing together. We only lost 4 games out of 50. This type of teamwork and discipline is part of what has shaped Mike Terry. Guess who was there coaching? Yep, my dad. Always.
In 2000, I began my High School day’s! I was able to continue my football career and do many other things. I ran track and I obtained my Eagle Scout Merit Badge. I maintained a 3.4 GPA throughout my 4 years (not great but I was busy). My dad was around but he was pretty busy during my High School years. He was on the Executive Protection Detail for the Governor of Utah. He still remained very active throughout my teen years and ALWAYS provided for our family. My brother and I went through school with pretty much the same guys who played on our little league football team. My junior year in High School we became the football State Champions for our school after 65 years. It was a fun and exciting time! I felt like I was on top of the world. Then, my brother graduated with a huge majority of my friends. They all took off to Southern Utah for College and I was left on Kingston Drive. Luckily, my little brother was entering his freshman year. I was able to get to know him and rely on him more and more. Our age difference was always in the way. I didn’t get much of an opportunity to be “best friend’s” with my little brother while in High School. I graduated and my next major life decision was serving a two year mission for my church.
In 2005, I submitted paperwork to serve a two year mission for my church. I was called to serve in the Florida Orlando Mission. I was also called to speak in the Spanish language. I entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah and started what eventually changed my entire perspective on life. I not only learned how to speak Spanish, but I learned how to serve others. I learned how to survive without my parents and my siblings. I actually learned how to survive without leaning on my older brother for 4 years. I became the person I am today. Serving people and dedicating my entire two years to the Gospel of Jesus Christ was a huge turning point on my perspective and role in this world. While in the Missionary Training Center, I served as an Assistant to the Mission President, once I was in Florida I served as a Senior Companion, District leader and finally a Zone Leader. I held several leadership positions and hopefully I was able to help those doing the same work as I was doing. During my service, I had the opportunity to think of what I wanted to do when I returned home from my mission. I knew I needed a career in some type of service position. I always considered becoming a police officer, like my dad. It was always my older brothers dream, as well. It wasn’t necessarily my dream, but it was an honorable position and a position very similar to missionary work. I just wanted to help people and serve them. I didn’t really care what it was.
I returned home from my mission in 2007. I hired on as a Loan Officer for Utah Central Credit Union. I realized quickly what a HUGE mistake that was. It just was not what I was suppose to do. Sitting behind a desk was not Mike Terry’s dream job. I really considered being a police officer more and more. I decided to test for a couple of agencies and I was hired on by the same small town agency my dad started his career at! Talk about following in your dad’s footsteps, right?! Well, January 2008, I started my career in Law Enforcement. I also married my beautiful wife in 2008! Who knew what the future would hold for us. We always would ask ourselves “Where do you think we will be in 5-10 years?” I wish I would have written those goals down, because I sure don’t remember. I was able to do many things with my first Law Enforcement Agency. I served on regular patrol for almost two years. I took a new assignment into a more Community Oriented Policing. I served as a School Resource Officer over a behavioral unit, I was the Youth Court Supervisor, Graffiti Investigator, Lions Quest Instructor (D.A.R.E.), and I also participated on the National Youth Court Advisory Board. I was always looking for new and better opportunities. Heck in 2010, was even able to obtain my Degree in Criminal Justice. Well, I decided to take a transfer to another Police Department in 2012. By this time, I had year old baby girl and we were living life! My wife and I moved out of our first home and lived moved to a town house near my new police agency for nearly a year. In October of 2013, our entire world was flipped upside down and the biggest challenge of our marriage struck us.
I was still looking for further opportunities with my career and I decided to test for the Utah Highway Patrol. I remember being in Provo, Utah taking a few final medical tests to be hired on with the Patrol. My wife was waiting in the car with our recently turned 3 year old and 8 month old baby boy. I finished up and we were heading to the University of Utah Hospital to visit my grandpa (he was sick and probably wasn’t going to make it much longer. He passed away October 30th). On October 17, 2013, my wife received the tragic telephone call regarding her oldest sister. My wife lost one of her best friend’s that day. I can’t describe this day nor could I give this day justice in just a few paragraphs, but I can say this day changed our lives forever. My sister in-law left behind her two young daughters, a 4 year old and a 10 year old. My wife and I made our biggest marital decision and knew we needed to bring those two girls into our family.
We did just that, we moved in with her parent’s and we worked towards adoption for the next three years. I was hired on with the Utah Highway Patrol in 2014, and I worked my way to becoming a member of the Criminal Interdiction Team and K9 Team. I currently serve in both positions with the Patrol. In 2015, my wife became a consultant for a company called LuLaRoe. We moved out of my in-laws and back to my childhood home on Kingston Drive. We are currently building a home and my wife is a dang business owner!! I am still trying to figure out my role in the business and I am back and forth with my “title”. I go by Mike’s Giveaways, and most recently I am moving my way towards “Monday’s with Mike”. I am constantly looking for ways to support my family, enlighten others, serve others, lead others, and motivate others. I have a lot on my mind and I feel like it’s my time to share my experiences and what has motivated my successes.
It has been a wild ride throughout my 31 years of life. I have accomplished a lot of things, I have experienced a lot of things, and I have learned a lot of things. There is a lot of good in the world, but there is a lot of trouble in the world. My 10 years in Law Enforcement has brought me a lot of experience and it had helped me serve others, just as I have always wanted. My wife’s business in LuLaRoe has inspired me to do more. I am always looking for better opportunities. You’re right, I am in the “millennial” category, but I will never consider myself part of the “lazy or entitled” group. I work hard and always have. I have earned everything in my life. My dad has taught me how important it is to ALWAYS get back up. From falling off the red bike in the alleyway, to football championships, earning my Eagle Scout, becoming a Returned Missionary, 10 years in Law Enforcement, husband of a business owner, and father to 5 kids. The biggest life lesson I have learned and most important life lesson is this, I am Mike Terry! I can do anything I put my mind to.
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.