I made the mistake of not coming to terms with the loss of my mother at the time it happened. Instead, I buried my grief for years. I couldn't even talk about her or my childhood, even though I had a long, happy childhood and loving memories of her, for more than 15 years. Our oldest son Jon, and my daughter Lara also have birthdays that coincide with the anniversary, and I felt that I had to be at least reasonably cheerful for their birthdays.
Fortunately, some friends helped me talk through my feelings, and I came across the book, Motherless Daughters at a bookstore. I didn't have the money to buy it at the time, so I read and cried through it at the store. That was when I realized that it was all right to miss my mother (I still do), and I can honor her memory by the way I choose to live my life. Healing finally came when our sweet granddaughter Alicia Maree was born six years ago on that same date. I felt my mother's spirit when I held that precious newborn, and it gave me a sense of the circle of life.
I spent part of the long weekend sorting through old family pictures, looking at images of the family as they were growing up and wondering where the time went. My problem is that I am hopelessly sentimental and have SO MANY pictures (boxes of them, to be honest) that I get overwhelmed trying to sort through them. I start organizing them, then end up putting the pictures back because I run out of time. And they sit for several more months before I get brave enough to try again. This time I left the boxes in the living room to motivate me to go through them sooner rather than later. Notice that I don't say HOW soon that will be? David and I were joking about my problem, and I told him the good news is that I don't have any more film to develop and I will never get duplicate photos again. Thank goodness for digital cameras!
I've been working on writing a series of stories about service for the magazine, and have also been watching the developments in Haiti; my heart goes out to those who are suffering such unimaginable pain and to those who are there trying to help them. It restores my faith in mankind to see such outpouring of love and help from around the world. I am also grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the Church's efforts to help.
It seems appropriate to consider Martin Luther King Jr.'s words on the subject: "Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill toward all men. Agape is an overflowing love, which seeks nothing in return. Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart. When you rise to love on this level, you love all men not because you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, but you love them because God loves them."
Or, as King Benjamin taught his people in the Book of Mormon: "When you are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 2:17)