Tuesday, September 4, 2012

April 2012 Conference: The Race of Life

It was a quiet Sunday morning. The best time to be on MomWatch. It was on quiet Sunday mornings when you could feel a peace that I can only compare to the peace one feels in the temple. I let Mom sleep through most of the morning knowing that she needed her rest and knowing that it was only when she slept that she was able to forget about the cancer taking over her body. When she woke up I helped her get to the bathroom and then completed the morning medicine regimen. Then I asked, "What should we do now?"

Her answer was that we should turn on conference. It was close to the end of the morning session at this point and I wasn't sure we wouldn't turn it on to find them singing a closing hymn or saying the closing prayer. Instead we heard the words of our prophet, Thomas S. Monson...

"At some period in our mortal mission, there appears the faltering step, the wan smile, the pain of sickness—even the fading of summer, the approach of autumn, the chill of winter, and the experience we call death."

Mom and I looked at each other and then our eyes and ears were glued to the TV. The small bedroom we refer to as the "sick room" was filled with the spirit. It was as if the words of the prophet were spoken directly to us.

Watch Thomas S. Monson's talk here:

and then the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed this:

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, my Mom's favorite hymn. She sang in church a few years before. As the choir sang we were filled with the spirit testifying to us that God was mindful of our family and was with us in our time of need. We were both crying at this point, our hearts and souls full of the love of an eternal father. I looked at Mom and said, "I think that they just sang that song for you."

Just as I composed myself there was a knock on the front door. It was a young mother from Mom's ward, a .girl that I had grown up with. She had this look on her face like she wasn't quite sure what she was doing knocking at our door and yet at the same time knew that she needed to. She handed me a note for my mom and was gone. This is what the note said:

Dear Sister Neel,
My thoughts were all of you during President Monson's talk today. As well as the last hymn! The very beautiful song you sang in sacrament meeting months ago! The Lord is surely spreaking to you this day! You are a most blessed daughter of God. Thank you for your wonderful example and service. May you find courage, strength, and comfort this day. I LOVE YOU! And hope someday I can follow in your footsteps...t

I have seen this woman since that awkward day at Mom's front door, but I haven't been able to tell her how much her note meant to us that day and what it continues to mean to me. It's priceless.  A third party witness to our experiences of that day.


  1. I remember thinking of your mom at the point. I'm so glad you didn't miss it. I know I shed enough tears during that talk and with that hymn as well.

    1. Thanks Tanya. I am glad we turned the tv on when we did. President Monson's words were much needed and the choir's performance was perfection. I don't know how one could not be touched by that performance.