Wow, this has been a long week. For those of you who don't know, my amazing Uncle Mike passed away this past Sunday very suddenly from a heart attack. It took the whole family by surprise. He was a great man and a great, though goofy, Uncle. I loved him a lot. I am so grateful for his example of optimism, laughter, respect, and love. Anytime we would have family parties he would always make me feel welcome and that I was important. He would always make sure and catch up on what I was doing, how I was, and even how Braedon was doing on his mission. He was always laughing and always smiling and always wanting others to be doing the same, and I'm sure he still is now. I hope I can learn from his example and always try and spread a smile around.
Sunday night was probably the toughest for me. While I love Mike and I will miss him and his caring nature quite a bit, I just kept thinking of Cher and my Cousin's that would be most effected by this. I can't imagine the pain they are going through and I just kept thinking and wishing there was a way to take it away. It was at this point that I understood the Atonement in a different way. I know that this is how Christ felt for all of us. He loved all of us so much that he did suffer for us. He has gone through all my pains and sufferings because he loves me. I am so grateful for the Atonement and for the knowledge of eternal families. I know it is the biggest support to all of us at this time. And while I wish I could take the pain away there is something that my cousin Dave said at my Uncles funeral that stuck out to me a lot. He said that when people say to him that they wish they could take all the pain away he replies back with "I don't, cause if you took all the pain away, you would have to take the love away too". This thought struck me hard, because it is so true. I am blessed with amazing people in my life, especially my family. And I realize that there will be painful moments in my life, whether a death or something else, but even with that knowledge I would never ever change what I have. All the pain in the world wouldn't stop me from loving my family and friends as much as I do.
Though it was a straining week, the funeral services, in my eye, could not have gone better. It was filled with love, touching stories, hilarious stories, and some good advice. I know that Mike was there in spirit and that he was smiling away. Me, my sisters, and my dad sang at the funeral and luckily we all got through with out cracking. My cousin Kelli, Mikes daughter, sang as well and I'm not sure how she managed, but she did an amazing job and I know that it made Mike proud. The whole service was not so much a goodbye, but more of a tribute of Mike's life and a 'till we meet again' occasion. Cher closed the talks with an amazing speech of forgiving others, smiling, laughing, and loving those you come in contact with, all things that Mike practiced daily. Cher is an amazing person. She is a so caring and so strong and I am lucky to have her example of strength in my life. Then to close the services Cher had the accompanist play a favorite of Mikes, a Halloween Themed classic (Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor). It was perfect and so fitting and made me and the rest of the family laugh, while the Bishop looked a little shocked. I couldn't think of a better way to finish the services.
While this week may be over I know that the grief and pain are no where near over, especially for Cher and my cousin's. I am grateful though for the amazing family that I have and know that we will all be there for each other and especially Mike's family. Again I am grateful for the knowledge of eternal families and couldn't imagine a more wonderful and crazy family to spend forever with. I know I'll see Mike again and I know he would want us all to keep smiling and keep laughing. I am grateful for the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and for Christ's love for me. I would not be able to handle life with out it. Thank you all for your love and support and the all the hugs, you know who you are. :)