Thursday, June 25, 2009

Each Life That Touches Ours For Good

This morning Sister Campbell passed away.
I met the Campbell family in October, when our wards split and we were joined with the 14th ward. When I was called as YW President, she was called as the Beehive Advisor, and I got to know her and her two precious daughters as the months passed. I learned a lot from Sister Campbell -- total dedication to your calling, to your leaders, to the Gospel. She had so much gospel knowledge, and sometimes I felt like she was correcting me all the time! It took me a few days to realize how tenderly she meant her suggestions. As I got to know her better, I was delighted to realize she had a hilarious sense of humor, and she is even the person who told me the strangest and funniest visiting teaching story I have and probably ever will hear! She loved her husband, the Stake President, absolutely. She loved and adored her children, and often told us stories of the difficulties and triumphs she had found in motherhood. In February, I became aware that she was struggling with painful back problems, and felt the Spirit tell me she needed to be released. After talking to the bishop, I called her and we had a good discussion. She had never asked to be released from any calling, but did think that it might be a good idea to take a little break. A few weeks later, she was diagnosed with Stage Four liver cancer, that had spread throughout much of her body. She was released from her calling the same week she bore her testimony and let us know she had about two months to live, and that she knew it was her time and she had decided not to fight the cancer. She died this morning. She was 48 years old.

I went over to their house this afternoon, fortified by my sister's prayer for me, shaking, wheezing, praying desperately all the way to the door, to offer my love to her two daughters: 18 year old Danielle and little Georgie, who will turn 12 on Monday. I was afraid. It is a moment I have truly feared. How do you survive what these girls have been asked to go through? How do I give them what they need? Can I rise to this? The words of Mordecai came to my mind "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" So I knocked, and I had the great honor of spending the next hour with my two precious girls and their amazing family. The spirit was so strong and sweet in their home. It felt like the holy temple. As I left, I said a few words to Sister Campbell, it felt like she was close by. And I talked to the Lord the rest of the little stroll up to my home. I thanked Him for strength, for this experience, for the Gospel, which assures us with quiet peace that we will be with our families again, never to part.

The morning after my sweet Granny died was fast day. At the end of the meeting, the closing hymn was "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good." Singing it broke my heart. Last Sunday, the closing hymn was "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good." I thought of my Granny. I looked over at the Campbell kids, sitting three strong, and I thought of Sister Campbell.

What greater gift doest thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christ-like friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith
Enrich our days.

When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer,
Lord, to thee.


Melissa said...

What a great tribute! Your words brought tears to my eyes and made my heart ache. I never really got to know her well, but I think I have an idea of who she was through your words. Thanks!

Tara said...

You are amazing at giving tribute to people on your blog. My heart goes out to you and Sis. Campbells family. I hope to someday be more like you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Emily said...

I'm sorry to hear of the loss!! My heart breaks for the children!! We sang that song at my grandpa's funeral and I can't even attempt to sing it anymore!! What a beautiful song!!

TeamDall said...

What lucky girls to have you as their leader. I think you're perfect for the job:)

The Farnsworths said...

You are the best YW Pres ever! My heart goes out to you and those sweet girls as they go through this tough time. I can't imagine losing a mother in adolescence, or anytime for that matter! My prayers are with all of you! Thank you for your words!
Yes, we do need to go out for a pink ladies!! It's been too long since I've seen or really talked to anyone. I miss you tons too. Summers are so hectic for youth leaders, but so fun too! I'm so glad you had so much fun at Girls Camp! I love Girls Camp. I was slightly jealous that I wasn't there too.:) Have fun at Youth Conference. Let's plan something when you are not so swamped.:) Love ya!

Tara said...

As for your comment on my blog. I can't say as I'm looking forward to the driving myself and I'm not too sure about the camping either. As for the buffalo. I've seen some before and they were big and ugly so you're not really missing anything! I don't know that we will actually see any on this trip though. Aiden just got that from the movie :)

Ducksoup said...

WOW. I can tell from reading your post she was an amazing lady. What a strong testimony she had and her girls and family must be amazingly strong too means Heavenly Father didn't remove this path from them, but knew they were strong enough to endure this kind of trial. I can't imagine! Thanks for sharing Reeser. Sounds like you did something that would be really tough but you did it so well and it turned out to be a good experience. You are a great example! I will post again sometime :). I think I have 7 drafts so I'm sure once I do it will be too many to even read. love yah!

Tink said...

I can't comment. How can I???? I don't know how you walked to that door. I only know that God was with you! I'm glad you're so good at finding perfect words. I would just mess it all up with like...umm...uh huh...well, you know! My heart aches for little Georgie...she still is my little girl until Monday! It also aches for the other children and her husband. As I was driving home, I thought of Sister Campbell passing threw the veil...what a wonderful experience that must be. So hard to leave family and loved ones behind, but so much to look forward to! She was taken home to that God who gave her life!