President Hinckley

  • Jan 28, 2008

President Hinckley died this evening. It’s impossible to describe President Hinckley to those who don’t know him. He’s the president of the church, a literal prophet of God and everyone’s favorite grandpa. At 97 and a half he was the most savvy, well-read man you’ve ever met. He spoke forcefully but always with a sense of humor; he never took himself too seriously. In his 13 years as the Prophet he built 77 temples, traveled to every corner of the earth to meet with members, oversaw the construction of the conference center, started the Perpetual Education Fund(members in impoverished countries are given small loans in order to seek an education and then pay the loan back so that others can go to school), met with members of the national press and inspired millions to do “just a little better.”

We’ve been lucky enough to meet him and to know his family quite well. His daughter and grandchildren live in the neighborhood and my boys have enjoyed seeing President Hinckley when they mow his daughter’s lawn. His family is a true testimony to his greatness. Every single one(and I’ve met most of them) is cheerful, unpretentious, faithful and possesses the Hinckley sense of humor.

Almost four years ago Pres. Hinckley’s wife Marjorie died. She was and is my absolute hero. She said things like, “Well, you’d better enjoy your children because if you don’t you’ll make yourself miserable.” “I’ve found you can laugh or you can cry in life. I choose to laugh because crying gives me a headache.” And my favorite, “Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I mourned her passing like she was my own grandmother.

This photo hangs on my wall.

President Hinckley grieved for her every single day. He spoke often of his love for her and his desire to be with her again. My favorite talk of his was given six months after her death in General Conference. Treat yourself and read it again here: The Women in Our Lives.

President Hinckley at his wife’s funeral.

My friend Celia(his granddaughter) said that he continued to hold the annual Grandchildren Christmas Party but sat there this year crying and saying , “Christmas just isn’t the same without Grandma here.”

Despite his mourning President Hinckley worked like a man half his age. He went to work every day and continued to plan, teach and travel. He put in a full day even this past Wednesday. On Thursday, he simply couldn’t get out of bed and by Saturday had gathered his loved ones around to say goodbye. He fought death to the end but peacefully breathed his last surrounded by his children and beloved counselors.

I couldn’t help but rejoice that he went so quickly and with such dignity. I know he is having a joyful reunion in heaven with loved ones and especially with his darling, darling wife. He lived a long, full, happy, productive life and left with no regrets.

All this went through my mind in the three minutes between hearing the news and getting a call from my friend Celia. She was sobbing. I could hear her kids crying in the background. Celia lost her father to death a few years ago, her husband to divorce and now her grandfather. To her, our Prophet was simply grandpa. He advised her, listened to her worries, gave her blessings and cried and cried and cried with her. I don’t think I can be practical about it anymore.

It’s the end of an era; it’s a time to mourn. The entire city and the hearts of church members everywhere will be draped in black for the next while. For my children, he is the only prophet they have known. It is impossible to imagine life without his laughter and wise council.

At bedtime we prayed as a family, and like most Mormons, we pray for our Prophet daily. As I reached the end of the prayer my voice cracked, then dissolved into sobs. “Please bless the Hinckley family, and please bless all of us who mourn…”

Want to know what President Hinckley would say?

“Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.”

“My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we ‘accentuate the positive.’ I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort.”

“Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, but with great purpose in heart.”

“May the God of heaven, the Almighty, bless us, help us, as we walk our various ways in the uncertain days that lie ahead. May we look to Him with unfailing faith. May we worthily place our reliance on His Beloved Son who is our great Redeemer, whether it be in life or in death, is my prayer in His holy name, even the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

January 27, 2008
January 29, 2008

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6 Comments

  1. Reply

    Backroads by Lynda the blog

    January 28, 2008

    I am sorry for your loss, death is always so hard on those of us left here but must be so wonderful for those that have passed to a better place. Prayers coming your way for you, your family, and your church family.
    Blessings,
    Lynda

  2. Reply

    Mama

    January 28, 2008

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Michelle. It sounds like a profound loss at that. I have to say, I think I am in love with President Hinckley’s wife Marjorie! Thank you for your tribute.

  3. Reply

    Denise

    January 28, 2008

    Simply beautiful, both his amazing life and your heartfelt post. I, too share your testimony that he is and was a prophet of God. A righteous beacon for people everywhere to look to. We will greatly miss our dear President Hinckley.

  4. Reply

    Kira

    January 28, 2008

    Thank you for the nice tribute. He surely had a great reunion on the other side. I am sure he and that wonderful wife of his are still two-stepping around the universe!

  5. Reply

    Mitchell Family

    January 29, 2008

    Pres. Hinckley spoke via satellite at our stake conference last Sunday. While he looked much less vigorous than he has in the past, I thought he was absolutely radiant. Ruth

  6. Reply

    Ken Farnsworth Jr.

    January 29, 2008

    Dearest Michelle,
    Thank you for expressing your love and gratitude for our beloved Prophet as well as your personal memories. I will always remember him bearing solemn testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, his sense of humor and his eternal love of his dear wife, Marjorie Hinckley.

    I thank our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for being taught by a living Prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley who has encouraged me to be a “little better”.

    With love and appreciation.

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