i went to a funeral service yesterday morning for a lady in my old family ward. i went to church with her for 5 years, she was older, had children, and a husband, and i was a bit intimidated by her for all those years. i was young, newly married, and never sure of myself or how i could fit in or what i could bring into the mix, but i loved when she would give talks during sacrament or lessons in relief society i always felt like i could learn something from her or at least feel the spirit, her spirit that she brought with her. she was genuine in everything she did and believed in and i wished i could be more like that, to be more satisfied with the life that i was leading and she so clearly was able to demonstrate that.
a few years ago i was able to be a sunday teacher and her youngest daughter was in my class. i loved having her daughter in class, she was sweet, loving, and a bit shy but she always wanted to answer the questions and to participate in class. her youngest of course was very close and attached to her older brother who was just a few years older than her. if she could during combined primary she would always go over and sit next to her brother, unless i insisted that she sit with her class, or she could sit on my lap. she always got excited whenever her brother got up to speak, or was picked on in class to answer or to go up in front of class. i could see that her brother of course loved the attention from her and her adoration but as big brothers do when they are in front of a room of other children they act annoyed. all of the children have a very tight close bond to one another, something that i never had with my brothers but had always wanted. i watched them, they were well mannered, well spoken, and very happy children. you could see that they were and are thriving. i know that it is due to their mother, the relationship that she has with them and of course the relationship she and her husband have, had. i don’t think that those children have ever had their mother yell at them once. they were punished when they needed to be and i saw that, but they never were yelled at or were ever spanked. i got to see more of how their mother spoke to them and how they were at home later.
over the summer, my relief society president called me and then explained a little what was going on with this sister and that she was needing some extra help weekly to clean and if i would be able to do that. i said yes and looked forward to helping her clean whatever it was she wanted done. i had been praying over the summer for something else to focus on and to do something more with in my ward. i needed something to get me out of the house for a few extra hours a day and to think of something other than what was going on in my own personal life. and cleaning, organizing was exactly what i needed to be doing. i first helped her clean one of the apartments that she and her husband were getting ready to re rent out and then we talked about me coming over and helping her reorganize her basement and de-clutter. we talked about what she wanted her craft room and what she and the children were needing. I watched and studied her and her family, how they interacted, how they talked to one another and played. i realized how much i wanted that and was hoping for it even as that life was slipping out of my hands and i had no control over it.
we would talk about how she was doing and her treatments and possible treatments that she could do and never did i ever hear her complain about what she was going through. she was so calm about everything, she was of course worried about her children and wanting to make it as easy as possible on them. she asked me how i was doing and how everything was going with the separation and divorce proceedings. i would tell her how everything was going and what i was hoping for. she told me something one day and i am so thankful that she did. she gave me a piece of hope as i was starting to give up, she gave me the hope of second chances. that even though i was hoping and wishing, praying for a second chance with my husband at the time that god always gives us a second chance when we don’t see it and when we are wanting to cling on desperately to what we have, that if we just let go as we do everything possible that we are supposed to and give it our best that he will provide and lead us to something even better. i thought about that yesterday as i listened to her husband speak, he spoke about how much he loved her, how at peace he was, and how lucky and loved he was by her and how lucky he was to truly know her. i realized how much i wanted that kind of love between two people, to be able to go through life together, the ups and downs and still make it through loving one another, having a better understanding of one another and a stronger bond as a couple. i could see that, hear it and feel it as he spoke of the relationship that they had and have. i also thought once more about how we are all given second chances and that sometimes those second chances are better for us, and i realized she gave me the gift of hope. i saw that has her beloved husband was standing up on the stand and speaking, i saw that as i watched her children throughout the the day so at peace and so loved by both of their parents.
she lived her life with love and compassion every single day. something that i have been praying for, for the last year and i was lucky enough to be able to go over for a couple hours each week and to see it, to watch how at ease she was and how she lived her life, even in her difficulties she still thought of others and how she could help someone else. if there is ever someone that i have learned how to live my life it would be from her. she has had all of the qualities that i have to ask for on a daily basis.
i know that i have been blessed by being a part of her life even in the smallest of ways. and i am so grateful that i was able to get to know her at the hardest part of my year. i am grateful for the example that she and her family has set for me to live and to strive for.