Lately, my mind has been focused a lot on the difficulty of losing loved ones. There have been a few recent events that have taken my mind there.
First of all, my dad's 60th birthday would have been on March 16th. My dad passed away four months after Daniel and I were married. I have written many posts about Dad in my mind, but have yet to share them with my readers. But I will. Suffice it to say for now that my dad was my personal example of integrity. In the three years since he has passed, I have missed him a lot but have also felt tremendous peace about his passing. Only recently have I started to more frequently feel the deeper feelings of grief.
Also, a good friend from high school and his wife lost their newborn baby a few weeks ago. I cannot imagine the feelings that follow such a tragic event.
This weekend, we had Stake Conference. Elder Neil L. Andersen, a latter-day Apostle, came and called a new stake president (a man who presides over several congregations). Elder Andersen used to be the stake president in Tampa years ago, so it was doubly fun for him to come back here. During his talks, he focused a lot on death. He talked about it from the eternal perspective and talked about how we will be able to look back on mortality as a fond experience.
The most meaningful thing he said, or did rather, was that he and his wife singled out a widow they knew from our stake. Many years ago, her husband had served as the bishop of Sister Andersen's ward when Sister Andersen was a little girl. When Elder and Sister Andersen were leaving Tampa to serve over the France Bordeaux mission, Elder Andersen had an impression that this particular former bishop and his wife would be called to serve as a senior couple in that same mission. And they did.
This sister's husband passed away in December after 60+ years of marriage.
So when Elder Andersen and his wife came back to Tampa this weekend, they made sure to watch out for this sister. She ate with them and the members of the stake presidency before the meeting. They reserved a place for her on the front row with the families of the visiting authorities. They mentioned her and her husband throughout their talks and mentioned various memories they had of her husband.
I can't tell you what this means to me. As a daughter of a young widow, I was so touched to see these kind gestures. Yes, let's focus on the eternal perspective. That spoke to me significantly, and it's a principle I have a strong testimony of. Families are forever, and we can be reunited with our family members after this life.
But also, let's take care of our widows and those who mourn right now and not forget them or their loss. That touched me so much.
I have received this love from so many around me since my Dad's passing. Thanks so much for serving me and also teaching me how to serve others when they lose someone close to them.