When I was a young girl, my family spent a lot of time together. We went on picnics, rides in the desert, camp outs in the mountains, and we simply enjoyed spending time with one another. My best memories of my parents are the times when we would travel to the Buckhorn wash in Emery County, Utah. We explored the canyons, hiked the washes, and my parents instilled within me a love of nature, history, and God’s majestic earth. These memories are a blessing. Remembering the time we spent together has carried me through many trials. The memories bring warmth and happiness to my heart and fill my soul with joy. Since my mom passed away last month, I’ve thought a lot about the times that we spent together, the things that I learned, and the legacy she left behind. Sometimes remembering is very painful, and I’m reminded of all that I’ve lost. Other times, remembering brings such happiness and gratitude that my soul fills with peace. The memories of my mom are what I hold to during this time of grieving and loss.
However, the last several weeks have been difficult for me. My sister and I are now facing the heart-wrenching task of sorting through her belongings, her clothes, and all the items she possessed in this life. It hasn’t been an easy task, and I’m certain those of you who have lost someone dear can relate. Each trinket, article of clothing, and even her shoes still reflect a little bit of who she was. It's been very difficult to place those items inside a box. Yet a part of me realizes that although we are packing up those things she had on earth, we aren’t losing her to the depths of dark boxes and cold storage units. We are not packing away the things that truly matter in this life. I read a quote recently by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He said, “Our firm personal testimony will motivate us to change ourselves and then bless the world.” My mother had a testimony of the Gospel and she never failed to share her love of Christ with her family and those who knew her. She never failed to teach my sister and I those things she believed in and stood for. We may be packing away the physical items that surrounded her in life, but I am blessed in knowing that even in death, her testimony and example remain. My memories of her uphold me during this difficult time. No woman is ever old enough to lose their mother, but I’ve been blessed with the legacy she has left me, and I hold onto those thoughts as I face the years ahead. Her testimony was simple--powerful--and her presence on this earth, if only for a short time, blessed the world.