Sunday, February 3, 2008


It was hard to say goodbye to a friend yesterday. The roommates and I wanted to go to the funeral, so we made the effort to wake up (or stay up) at/until 4 am to get ready, pack our snacks, say a prayer, and hit the road soon after 5. I was the driver and may I just say that freeway driving at 5 am on a Saturday is a joy.

We were in line by 6:16 and started our wait in the cold. Never before have I been so grateful that I didn't take the lining out of my tie skirt. Yes, it's heavy and yes, it's wonderful in the cold. We were lined up along the northern wall of temple square, huddled together and staying warm as best we could. No one really knew much except that we weren't allowed to officially line up until 7. We got to wait in the Tabernacle shortly after 7 (where we all promptly fell asleep) until they started handing out tickets at quarter to 9. We moved from there into another line in front of the Conference Center until they allowed us in shortly after 9. We took our seats on the plaza level, settled in, and took another mildly comfortable nap until 10:15 when we woke up and readied our minds (and sleepy eyes) for the service.

What an incredible experience it was to be there for President Hinckley's funeral. I was overwhelmed as I watched the procession drive to the Conference Center. I loved seeing the brethren together as they lined the path where President Hinckley's casket would soon pass. The feeling of love was tangible as those dear men stood side-by-side in a moment of bittersweet remembrance of their beloved friend and prophet. His family all filed in, hand-in-hand and arm-in-arm, together in love and unity, sharing in grief and joy, and supporting every last member to their seats.

It was hard to see President Hinckely's empty chair, especially when President Monson sat down and in a moment of sadness let his body slump towards President Hinckley's chair and his head rest close to where the Prophet's used to be. I realized then how much I truly will miss this man.

I thought a lot about President Monson during the service: the mantle he has to bear, the sorrow of losing such a close friend, the comfort of knowing so perfectly where President Hinckley is going and the happiness there, the knowledge that we will continue to grow and progress just like we always have, and the understanding of what must come next. He paused as he started the meeting, and I saw in his expression a mix of pain and joy.

I felt such a selfish sorrow as I wept over the Prophet's passing for the first time. I kept telling myself I should not be sad, and I wasn't terribly. But I was emotional to say the least, the swarm of bittersweet understanding, of love, of gratitude, of nostalgia, of closeness, and of longing, all churned within me, causing tears to stream down my face. During the closing hymn and brief video which provided vignettes into his life, I wrote, "My face is wet as I think of him and see images in honor of his memory. What a great loss we have endured, but what a marvelous future awaits us."

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