I was born to goodly parents who taught me to love the Lord. From my youth I was taught to have faith in, pray to, and worship Jesus Christ. I was taught about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Our family held early morning scripture study, weekly Family Home Evening and nightly family prayer. My father, Mike, was a man of honor and integrity and was faithful to my mother, to the LDS Church, and was faithful to God. Dad was a man without guile who had a solid belief in the Savior and served his fellow man all his days. Dad was loyal to the LDS Church and strove to help build up what he believed was the kingdom of God on the earth. Even as “early on-set Parkinson’s” ravaged his body for over 25 years he faithfully attended church each week and studied the scriptures each day until he slipped into a coma just before his death.
My mom, Trudy, first noticed my dad in ninth grade LDS seminary when my dad bore his testimony of the Savior. Mom was smitten and their love story began at that moment and lasted for over 56 years on this earth and is now continuing in heaven. Mom sacrificed her mental, emotional and physical health to bring eight children into this world. She struggled with fears, anxieties, and physical ailments that plagued her and were difficult for her to overcome. Through it all she never lost her devotion to the religious heritage her parents instilled within her. She remained loyal to the Mormon Church and to Dad. For some reason her faith and belief in Jesus Christ was not something she openly shared or talked about with me. My parents passed away within one year of each other, my mom on February 17, 2017 and my dad on February 22, 2018. I love and miss them.
My father was my hero. As a little girl I would wait at the bus stop every night, anticipating his return from a long day of work. I had a desire for him to be proud of me. I wanted to marry a man just like him. Since my mom’s passing last year, I have been taking care of my dad as much as possible. He lived at home until a bad fall last July and a subsequent hospital stay of several weeks. I then moved him into an assisted living center in order to have people who could be there to cook and clean for him and to help him when he fell. He sustained more injuries, as he fell several times each day. I was feeling a great burden on my shoulders, taking care of dad’s house, his finances and his health almost solely by myself. Last August, when I moved him into an assisted living center, my other siblings “woke up” to dad’s decline in health and began helping with his care. This was a great blessing to me and my father as well as my siblings.
On February 15 my dad was taken to a higher level care facility because he was having a severe Parkinson’s episode which mimicked seizures. Within 3 days he had slipped into a comma and never came out of it. He had a huge lump on his left temple with bruising down to his collar bone. We believe he suffered a bleeder on the brain. I was by his side as much as possible that final week. Hours before his death I shared some private, final words with him. I know that my parents felt like they had failed me because of the journey I have been on to find Christ. This journey has put me at odds with the LDS Church. In my parents’ minds, if I am not active LDS then I am not following Christ. I asked him to trust me, that I know what I am doing, that I know he doesn’t understand, but that I am seeking Jesus Christ. I encouraged him to find mom and together to seek Jesus Christ, to not allow the traditions of men to cause them to stop searching. I then read Ether 12:41, “And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.”
My dad passed away 30 years to the day of the death of his own father and one week and one year after the love of his life, my mom. He was surrounded by almost all of his children, his daughter-in-laws and son-in-law, Vern, grandchildren and lots of love.