Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Empty Chair

Tonight after the children got home for quiet time before bed we watched bits and pieces of Gordon B. Hinckley's funeral. Ellie in particular was very attentive as the Prophet's grandsons unloaded the casket from the hearse. Upon explaining that his body was in the casket Ellie exclaimed, "Mom we didn't even get to go say hi" and Dayton wanted to know when they were going to open "the box". We had previously planned on attending the viewing on Thursday but had our plans thwarted.

We watched as they put the flower arrangements on the coffin and rolled it carefully passed all of the Apostles and into the Conference Center. Ellie then asked, 'Who are all of those old mans?" I explained that they were the Apostles and a little bit about their role and then she asked, "Are they grandpas?" She was very interested to watch them all take their seats and was also very concerned about the empty chair where the Prophet once sat.

Dayton was busy playing Tic Tac Toe on my laptop and took full advantage of Ellie's turns while she was engaged in the funeral proceedings (which guaranteed him some sure wins). While I was fast forwarding through the talking parts and explaining that the Prophets daughter was speaking he stopped playing and asked, "Is she singing? She looks like she is singing." I laughed out loud knowing that the Tevo was responsible for this illusion; however, he was right!

Ellie began making up lyrics supposing what was being 'sang'. She quietly sang to herself after hearing Dayton's commentary. "I miss my Dad. I love him and he's dead". She did the same thing when Gordon's son spoke. Dayton joined in with his own lyrics in his sweet voice. It was a small and endearing tribute to the man we loved!

We watched the procession of cars head towards the cemetery. At this point both of the kids were carefully watching. At the end of the dedicatory prayer a man playing bagpipes walked through the cemetery and stood beside the casket. Dayton tenderly said, "Can we say good bye now, Mom? Good bye Gordon B. Hinckley. Goodbye" to which Ellie sweetly responded, "Good bye Gordon B. Hinckley" and her voice trailed off as they both watched in quiet awe.

On the B Side: I am grateful for these teaching moments that touch their hearts (and mine)! The understanding that is gained is a light and love that comes from being touched by the Spirit deep within your heart. It is gaining a greater comprehension of who we really are, where we came from and where we are going.

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