Sept. 10, 1912 ~ Sept. 8, 2009
For the past year, mother has been staying at the Cottonwood Creek care center. Two weeks ago, after she began a fairly rapid decline in strength and began to lose weight we brought her here into our home for constant care. My wife, a Registered Nurse, took a… leave of absence from her job to care for her. After only a few days here, mother could no longer use her walker and was confined to a wheelchair.
Over the last week, she was visited by her niece Jane Babcock, her daughter Wendy and grandaughter Candace with her children and granddaughter Natalie whom she loved so much. On Saturday she was visited by her granddaughter Julie with her husband Mike and their children. They took her for a walk in her wheelchair for over a mile around the neighborhood. When I asked them why they took her so far, the reply was, “She just wanted to keep going.” It’s absolutely true that when someone, anyone, reaches 96 years old, they are entitled to do pretty much whatever they want to. Mom was so happy to see Julie and her family and insisted on being taken to the front door so she could wave goodbye as they drove away. Sunday, we took her to Church (which she also insisted upon), after which she was visited by her nephew Alan Davidson from Texas and his son Scott and his wife. Sharon Thomason then visited with her son Mark Toronto with his wife Nicole and family. On Monday, Labor Day she was particularly energetic and enjoyed a fun day with a backyard BBQ with my own family, and Melissa’s sister and friends. In the early evening, my wife Cindy helped her to bed and she went right to sleep in her favorite sleeping position.
This morning as I left for work, I looked in on her and she appeared to be sleeping soundly so I quietly left. Apparently I didn’t look closely enough. An hour later around 9 O’clock, Cindy went in to wake her and to help her get dressed. She was still laying in her favorite sleeping position but she wasn’t there. Cindy called me and I returned home. The hospice people arrived soon after and estimated her time of death at 7:40 a.m.
Her passing seemed to be peaceful, easy, and as good as it gets. She was visiting with loved ones, celebrated a holiday with her family and loved ones and passed peacefully in her sleep. Although she was very weak and could no longer walk, she had all of her faculties to the very end and insisted on getting dressed every day in one of her favorite dresses. She passed peacefully two days before her 97th birthday having lived an amazingly full, exciting and sometimes adventurous life.
I cannot say enough about the tender loving care given to Helen by my wife Cindy in what at times was a very difficult and trying task. A perfect example of this care and attention to detail is evidenced by the fact that the day before we brought Mother into our home and after we cleared a room for her, Cindy insisted (at 9 O’clock at night, before Home Depot closed) on painting the room a brighter and cheerier color for Helen. So on we painted until 2 in the morning getting her room ready for her.
There will be a viewing at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary (3401 S Highland Dr.) on Friday, September 11, 2009 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Funeral Services will be held in her home ward, Parleys 6th Ward (2350 S 2100 E) at 12:00 noon on Saturday, September 12, 2009. There will also be a viewing immediately before the funeral services at 11:00 a.m. at the Church.
Helen’s children would like to thank all of her family, friends and relatives for your love and condolences. The new technology (Facebook) has been simply amazing in spreading the word and messages of love and condolences. As we began the laborious task of calling family and friends, we immediately discovered that most had already heard the news. We continued to call and try to speak in person with those that we could, whom we thought were closest to Helen.
On a final note, I recently wrote about priesthood blessings and whether faith really works. Well, I’ve yet to be disappointed. Last Tuesday, Mother was not having a particularly good day and that evening as she went to bed she asked for a blessing. I called our very dear and close friends the Neeley family to assist. They had just spent the evening with the Stake President in their home setting apart their son Tyler as a missionary to serve in the Eugene Oregon mission. I asked Tyler to perform his very first ordinance by annointing mom with the consecrated oil and then I, kneeling beside her bed and speaking into her ear so she could hear, blessed her and implored our Father in Heaven to take her under His wing, to care for her and bless her, and in His good judgment and in His due time, do that which would be best for her.
She immediately began to rally in health and strength and on Saturday, Sunday and Monday she was thrilled with the above visits from her loved ones. Cindy and I both mentioned to each other that we felt like she would be with us for quite some time. However, this morning, Tuesday morning, less than a week after the blessing, in relatively good health, with all of her faculties, having just visited with her loved ones, she passed peacefully in her sleep to joyously meet with her father, mother and family who preceeded her in passing. She and my Dad Mont were so much in love, but he had passed away 38 years earlier. That meeting must have been very tender and heart warming.
One blessing, one result.
So why exactly ‘do’ I secretly keep finding myself wondering if faith really will work the next time? I don’t know, but I now have five stories all with the same result.