We've had an amazing weekend with family reunions, parties and a friend's funeral. I received a facebook message from a long-time friend from Oklahoma. She asked me if I had seen the Salt Lake Tribune news with our friend's obituary listed? (I was standing upstairs with my mom and dad at their house). We all knew that this friend had suffered many years with cancer-so, it was such sad news, but we know that he is not in pain any longer. Brother Pat Brian had been our neighbor in Alaska many years ago-when I was in junior high. Brother Brian had also been our stake president then too. After my parents moved us to Tulsa, OK in the eighties, President Brian had been called to be the Mission President of the Tulsa Oklahoma Mission. My family was thrilled to be reunited with his awesome family! We spent more time at the mission home than our own place on the holidays:) We'd go camping together and travel to hear him speak at firesides.
When their mission was over, my brother and I were invited to travel to Florida with their family of six kids (to visit Disney World). We camped out the whole way-and were eaten alive by mosquitoes...which reminded us of our days Alaska. But it was all worth the discomfort, by the time we reached Disney World...we felt like we were in heaven! I loved "Canada" in Epcot Center the most...and spent a whole day wondering the villages alone. It all was a welcome vacation since I was the eldest of eight kids then-and had very little time that I wasn't babysitting for my siblings or neighbor kids for money. To me, the Brian family meant fun times. It was such an honor to have that bonding time with them.
In one day, I drove an hour up the canyons to get my daughter and niece, brought them to my mom's house to change-and we left again to drive north to Salt Lake. My hubby had been working all week up north, so it was wonderful to see him again also. We left our kids at home and went to the funeral-up by the Draper Temple. I had only hoped to see our friends from across the room, but my parents and sister insisted on seeing the Brian kids in person. I saved seats in the chapel for us to sit on (The room was packed clear to the back-like stake conference). My brother came at the last minute with his wife, and were all completely amazed to see Thomas S. Monson walk into the room and be seated. Our beloved Prophet had taken time to speak at our dear friend's funeral-(Pres. Brian had been an Area Representative of the Seventies). It had to be one of the most incredible funerals I have ever been to in my whole life. The children spoke, the many grandchildren sat with their grieving grandmother. The extended family was so immense-they all could not sit up front with the siblings. They had to move back with us and farther if needed. After the talks and songs and the program ended-we ran out to the back parking lot to hug our dear friends. We laughed and cried together. It's been 27 years since I personally had seen my dear friends. I introduced my husband and met
their children. It was so wonderful, we didn't want the time to end. But, the funeral had to proceed to the cemetery. President Monson dedicated the grave and my parents took picture of the moments. I was so grateful to be part of this event, and later to spend more time with my brother and his family for the Fourth of July weekend. I love the new home we are now in-and I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father for bringing us up north. Happy Independence Day!!!♥