Thursday, April 03, 2008

To Zannie, this beautiful spring day

I thought about you all day today. I can't shake it. Can't stop thinking about it. I really thought you were going to make it through this one, the way you've made it through everything else in the past.

I awoke this morning to see the sleep-hazy form of my father standing over the bed. "I'm sorry to wake you, but I thought you should know that Rozann passed away in the night, about 1:00 this morning."


I was stunned. How come I didn't come and see you more? I would have told you in so-many-words how much I love you, what an impact you have made on my life, how much you taught me about mothering and love and commitment to your spouse -- even through great trial, how much lighter my life was at the heavier points because of you. Do you know how much I love you, how grateful I am that we were part of each other's lives?

I couldn't see past it. After getting out of bed and donning a robe, I made a few phone calls. Seeing her husband outside next door sent me yelling to him and running down the driveway in my bathrobe and bare feet with red-painted-toenails. I can't tell you how classic it was for him to yell, "Where are your shoes?!" I wanted to yell back, "Do you think that's important right now? Do you think I care about shoes? I love you, I feel hurt for you, somehow it might feel better to give you a hug, to tell you how much I care."

I heard about her passing, the sweet moments they shared beforehand. It almost takes my breath away to contemplate such a mercy given -- such beautiful moments shared, not knowing that when the lights turned out, she would slip away and be gone. What a lovely memory to cherish now until he is with her again.

How will he possibly go to sleep tonight without you? It makes me cry to think of the loneliness that is ahead of him. You were what made him so strong. You were, as Marcie said, the rock of the whole family. I have watched your boys, grown men, break down sobbing today. It is pure testimony to me of how much they love you, what an incredible mother you are and were. I am amazed at your legacy of love. Did I ever tell you that? I admire what you built, what you sacrificed for. Marcie said today that everyone loved you. It was true.

I thought of our conversation, just last week, with you clasping my hands and, through tears, making me promise you that you were going to make it through this. I promised you, because I thought you would.

I guess it's something about youth where it seems that those that you love and your health and strength and active mind will always be there. Admit it or not, I think we enjoy some sense of invincibility because it doesn't seem real that one day it will really happen to us. It is always in the future. The truth is, of course, that we are living, each moment simultaneously the present and entering the future in a passing second. Wrinkles and memory and loss and joy and pain and growth occur so slowly at times that we hardly even notice them until we look back. When did they happen? It becomes a marvel, even to yourself. The road you travel becomes something you never realized would be so incredible, so changing, so beautiful. There seems to be nothing quite like death or birth to remind you in quite the same way about the sacredness of life, the beauty of what it is we are doing here. And now. And in the future. All at once.

Do you know I have been groping with this issue for a while now? I have been wondering about loss and death and immortality and not knowing how I can possibly deal with the losses of those closest to me when they come. I went to Alma today to read, once again, about where you are until we will meet again. I know these things are true. Hallelujah, are they true! I want to proclaim the greatness of God. How just! How merciful! How loving! I know you are released from pain and from those things that have been troubling you. Do you want to hear my favorite passages from reading today? I can pretend, just now, that we are reading them together:

"...there is a space between the time of death and the resurrection.
...And when the time cometh when all shall rise, then shall they know that God knoweth all the times which are appointed unto man.
Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection---Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
And then it shall come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
...the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself.
And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame---mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption---raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other---
The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.
...the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish---good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.
Therefore...see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored"
(Alma 40:9-12, 41:2-5, 13-15, emphasis added)

I have thought about these words this afternoon. You don't need reminding of them, but it helps me. And the last thought I wanted to share with you that I found significant as I thought about it again this afternoon was this thought given by President Kimball at a funeral:

"We are limited in our visions. With our eyes we can see but a few miles. With our ears we can hear but a few years. we are encased, enclosed, as it were, in a room, but when our light goes out of this life, then we see beyond mortal limitations....
The walls go down, time ends and distance fades and vanishes as we go into eternity...and we immediately emerge into a great world in which there are no earthly limitations."

Isn't that beautiful? What would it be like to have no earthly limitations, no blinders, no hindrances?

This afternoon, while noting the patches of blue sky and the brisk spring wind, I thought about how you chose to leave on a beautiful spring day. The flowers are blooming, the sun was shining. The whole past week has been gloomy and cold. Seems rather symbolic of your own past couple of months with how hard it has been, and to now be emancipated on such a beautiful day, with witnesses of renewed life, of everlasting spring that always comes back year after year. You gave me your own testimony of the resurrection.

My mind was so caught up in Rozann all day, I could hardly think of anything else. I noticed the beautiful day, the flowers, my boys. But everything was quiet and subdued inside. I felt sadness and peace. I sat on the back lawn with the bubbles the boys got from my mom at the Easter egg hunt, blowing bubbles for the boys, watching them lift on the wind. They glistened in the light, shining, vanishing in air.

Somehow, this also reminded me of you. In the breath, in the wind, in the lightness of the bubbles, in the beauty of life going on, moving on, seeing but not seeing. We live in two different spheres now, you and I, but belonging to the same one at the same time. I may be encased in that bubble with just an idea, just enough of a glimmer of everything that exists beyond, and now you are outside of that bubble, understanding me and where I am -- and now, understanding what is beyond in a way that I won't until I also come there too.

Thank you for loving me. You have been such an inspiration to me in so many ways. At times you have lifted my heavy heart. You have made me laugh in stitches. At the end of the day, I feel blessed for the reminder of the sacredness of life and the most wonderful blessing of loving and being loved.

I'm not worried. I know where you are. I know you are safe and happy, a thought that makes me happy too.

I love you.

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