Saying good-bye is hard. Before we left for our mission, we visited family and friends. All of the visits pulled at our heartstrings. One visit was to our ninety-two year old friend. Elder Hall grew up with her family, and enjoyed many musical presentations by her family. She taught piano lessons to his nephews. He has been her home teacher since her husband died nearly thirty years ago.
When I was asked to be Relief Society president, the Spirit whispered that Sarah should be the homemaking leader. The Bishop hesitated, as she was past eighty, but Sarah gladly agreed. In addition to her duties, she always helped with funeral dinners. I noticed her limping one day.
Sarah, do your feet hurt today?
My feet always hurt.
Why don’t you sit down for a while? We can finish up here.
No, I want to keep going. My greatest fear is that I will get so that I can’t work. I just couldn’t stand not being able to do anything.
Sarah organized a special on-going homemaking project. She contacted the local health and welfare office, and made arrangements to donate stuffed animals for children who needed to be removed from their homes. Of course, each animal had to be made by hand and filled with love and care. She designed the patterns and taught the sisters to make them. At the end of the year, the finished animals were piled high to fit on a large table.
The mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in Sarah could not stand the thought of any child not having something to hold close and to hug.
As we visited with Sarah, we thought of the holiday dinners we had enjoyed, with her house beautifully decorated inside and out, a large sparkling tree, the scent of good things to eat greeting us as we walked in the door, and the elegant table set with fine linen, china, candles, and more Christmas decorations.
Sarah, I can’t believe we will miss your Christmas dinner this year! That is the highlight of the year!
It just won’t be the same without you!
We will look forward to a dinner when we come home.
Sarah straightened her shoulders and looked into our eyes as she answered firmly.
I plan to be here when you come home! That’s a promise, and I always keep my promises.
Last week, we received an e-mail from her daughter. Our friend Sarah had passed from this life. But when we come home from this world to our real home, Sarah will be there waiting for us. Sarah always keeps her promises.
April 8 was the 78th birthday of Elder Hall’s sister, Julia. It was the day she passed through the veil to be reunited with her parents, sisters, and other loved ones who had gone on before.
When Julia was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June 2013, she thoughtfully and carefully wrote the things she most wanted her family and friends to remember. Her family shared what she had written at her funeral. The following is part of what she wrote.
As I approach the next phrase of life, which is called death, I feel to leave a written record of my deep assurance that we have a loving Father in Heaven who is the all-wise author and overseer of this great plan of life, now and forever. I have great peace in knowing His plan for me and all of His children. I do not know what I will yet have to go through, but just as our traumatic birth into this world was a wonderful step in our eternal progression and brought great blessings, so will passing to the next world.
They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he had given—that by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleaned from all their sins, and receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; and who overcame by faith and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true….these shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.