My heart is broken, and spirit tender this Sabbath morning, Marianne has soft music playing nearby and the sun is just beginning to cast sprays of light into our front room, ...a perfect setting for reflection. Yesterday we laid JoLyn's body to rest in Logan Utah, in a grave overlooking the beautiful Cache Valley. The services held in her honor were as nearly perfect as one could dare hope for, with friends and loved ones filling the church to overflowing. Her white casket suited her perfectly as did the brightly colorful hand sewn hugs and kisses quilt draping it. Feelings of love and gratitude from the spirit that permeated every space, person, and utterance of the sacred moment, still fill me nearly a day later, bringing tender emotions to balance tenuously at the edges of my aching soul. Unable to maintain constant control of them, I find myself frequently in tears, flooded with familiar sensations common to memories involving my kid sister. I'll miss her smile, the soft, sort of low tone of her voice and chuckle. I'll miss her always worrying over me, her sensibility, and the enjoyment she always brought to our family gatherings.
I've had a lot of time to reflect over the past few months preparing for this day, on my own life, on the recent passing of my brother Van, and on the value I attach to personal relationships with my children, wife, parents and surviving siblings. Friends have also been heavy on my mind and will always hold a special place in my heart, and I have contemplated all of it over and over as on a daily and often times even more frequent basis I have been reminded of my own mortality. A lot is said about the evils of Cancer, but after yesterday, I am finding my heart changing, ...taking on a slightly softer tone when it comes to judging the disease that has now taken two of my siblings. I have no doubt that had it been the will of God that Van and JoLyn continue in life, they would have both been given the where with all to win their battles, but it was his will that they come home to him and I struggle to excuse questioning his reasons. That being said, I had to ask myself; would I rather Him take them suddenly in an accident or some other tragic event? ...or is not His allowing me six months of grace period to prepare for each separation, a much more tender, and merciful way.
Having experienced the loss of two siblings in just over a year, I can say without hesitance, knowing how having that precious time to focus before saying goodbye to Van and now JoLyn has helped me and others to grow, serve and love, that I'll take cancer or another terminal illness every time if given the choice, even for my own parting. I love my family more than words can express, I love the message of salvation, and plan of happiness offered in the gospel of Jesus Christ, allowing me to hope for a happy reunion and I pray for the day when all people of the earth can love each other with pure knowledge that we are the family of God, and as such, literal brothers and sisters. Rarely in our world do we feel that, but yesterday, mid thoughts of 9/11 and my own loss, I did, as surrounded by so many motivated only by love, gratitude, and concern, I was allowed to bask in a small slice of heaven.
Thank you all, whether there in person, thought, or spirit, ...it was a beautiful day