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.
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.
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.
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.”