Monday, June 21, 2010


Thomas S. Monson continued...

Frequently the need of the widow is not one of food or shelter but of feeling a part of ongoing events. Elder H. Bryan Richards of the Seventy once brought to my office a sweet widow whose husband had passed away during a full-time mission they were serving. Elder Richards explained that her financial resources were adequate and that she desired to contribute to the Church’s General Missionary Fund the proceeds of two insurance policies on the life of her departed husband. I could not restrain my tears when she meekly advised me, “This is what I wish to do. It is what my missionary-minded husband would like.”

The gift was received and entered as a most substantial donation to missionary service. I saw the receipt made in her name, but I believe in my heart it was also recorded in heaven. I invited her and Elder Richards to follow me to the unoccupied First Presidency council room in the Church Administration Building. The room is beautiful and peaceful. I asked this sweet widow to sit in the chair usually occupied by our Church President. I felt he would not mind, for I knew his heart.

As she sat ever so humbly in the large leather chair, she gripped each armrest with a hand and declared, “This is one of the happiest days of my life.” It was also such for Elder Richards and for me.

I never travel to work along busy Seventh East in Salt Lake City but what I see in my mind’s eye a thoughtful daughter, afflicted with arthritis and carrying in her hand a plate of warm food to her aged mother who lived across the busy thoroughfare. She has now gone home to that mother who preceded her in passing. But her lesson was not lost on her daughters, who delight their widowed father by cleaning his house each week, inviting him to dinners in their homes, and sharing with him the laughter of good times together, leaving in that widower’s heart a prayer of gratitude for his children, the light of his life. Fathers experience loneliness as well as mothers.


I have commented before that I do not believe others will ever understand the impact they have had in my life because of the little things they do.

Right after you become widowed there are many who offer a helping hand or comforting thought. As time passes, most will get on with their life while the widow's life remains forever changed. And, as time passes it continues to change. All your previous friends who are couples find new couple friends... leaving you to yourself. In the quiet and solitude. OK - I guess quiet is a stretch as the three children eliminate that. But, even amongst the chaos comes a feeling of loneliness.

There is the loss of adult interaction and loving touch. So, for those who had shown up or made a phone call in those first years of transition... thank you. The Lord provided, and continues to provide, for me temporally. But, the act of kindness from another was truly a need that when filled helped make me feel whole.

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