Sunday, September 13, 2015

Families Can Be Together Forever

Families Can Be Together Forever -
My husband, me, my parents, and my sisters

My uncle's funeral was yesterday.

My uncles, aunts, and cousins came from hundreds of miles away to attend. Several drove through the night so they wouldn't miss saying goodbye.

At the viewing Friday night, the line went out the door and the service yesterday was standing room only. The funeral procession stretched longer than I could see. Hundreds, if not thousands, of tears were shed for the loss of so great a man.

Families Can Be Together Forever -
One of my many cousins. Seriously, I have a LOT.

My uncle was an amazing man - one I greatly admire. He was the epitome of dream chasers and touched the lives of so many people. His drive and ambition coupled with his true love of others has always been an inspiration to me. And any who knew him, even briefly, knew of his deep and everlasting love of Christ and His gospel. He bore witness of it through his every word and deed.

His death hit me harder than I thought it would, invading every waking moment and even into my dreams. It took three days for me to stop crying at random times. I struggled with wanting to go to the viewing. Seeing him lying in the casket would make it real and I didn't want to deal with the resulting emotions. It was almost more than I could bear. But knowing I would regret not going, I went.

As we stood in line at the funeral home, I both wanted the line to move more quickly so I could get it over with and prayed it would never end. What would he look like? How would I feel? And more importantly, how could I keep from completely losing it?

When it was finally our turn, I forced myself to look at his lifeless body and a thought - more crystal clear and vivid than any - came to my mind.

That was not my uncle.

Families Can Be Together Forever -
Sister and cousin!

The pale, still shell lying there did not resemble the man I knew and loved. And as I looked again, another thought - even more real and true - shouted, "He is not here, for his spirit has departed. He lives on!"

Families Can Be Together Forever -
Aunt and cousin (in-law, but it counts)!
That realization kept the tears at bay and as I turned away, my eyes were instead filled with a room full of love and laughter. My family - more than I had seen in one place in many years - surrounded me. It was the ultimate family reunion, one my uncle would be overjoyed to see for he was the glue that held our extended family together. It was he who emphasized the importance of family. He loved and supported and encouraged each and every one of us in our endeavors to better ourselves and grow our faith.

Families Can Be Together Forever -
Uncle and aunt!
And I found comfort knowing that while we are parted for a time, in the grand scheme of the eternities, it will be but a moment. For families are forever through God's eternal plan. By staying true to the faith and fulfilling the covenants made in the holy temple, we can be together once again.

Families Can Be Together Forever -
"The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and woman with their children are happy at home, sealed together for time and for all eternity." ~ President Boyd K. Packer, April 2015 General Conference
 "'And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.' (Helaman 5:12) It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides this foundation upon which we can find lasting peace and build eternal family units." ~ Elder L. Tom Perry, October 2014 General Conference
This is what my uncle taught. This is what he lived.

This everlasting truth...

This is his legacy.

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