Those years had more happiness than misery.
They chose to make the best of all things.
They chose to find and see 'silver linings' in clouds.
They chose to accept the blessings of rain as well as sunshine.
Recently they counseled together, choose an assisted living home, and moved at their own time and in their own way to their new residence. Driving 15 minutes to town and 15 minutes home had become somewhat 'iff-ish' for Dad (at 85) and since her strokes, although rehabilitated and able to do most things again, Mom had stopped driving.
The process took a few years and it was a process - for all of us. Their many children and grandchildren and great grandchildren also had to process the planned changes. They made a false attempt once: moved to town in an apartment and 3 weeks later moved home again. They were and are still able to do pretty much what ever they want but they had 'seen the writing on the wall'. They did not wait to be 'acted upon' - pushed by circumstance or chance to make undesired choices they could avoid.
Last summer we had a family reunion; 151 of their posterity attended - and of course we had a picture taken (see update above). They told us they hoped to move before winter and to come out to the farm and say our goodbyes. Papa and I spent a couple days with them. They wanted help to go through a few things.
It was hard, and I felt like I might never see my mother again in this life. I felt like I was saying good bye to her as well as the farm and my childhood. It felt like an aging process but I can't decide if I feel finally old or if I have regressed.
They moved at the end of October. A few days later Alberta received heavy snow fall. I was so glad (as were most all of you) that they were safely snug in their new apartment without the many cares life has imposed upon them for so long.
Just 3 weeks after the move mother became very ill. She had immediate nursing care and was transferred to a hospital for full medical attention, evaluation and treatment. She is now 'home' again - home to their new residence and the conscientious concern of many caring and professional hands.
A key part of the teaching and example of my parents is summarized in the Book of Mormon. They taught us to think and to act for good. They taught that agency is a prized gift and blessing from God to all men and women - to all His children. He permits us to 'act for ourselves'.
2 Nephi 2: 25-27 declares: "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. And the Messiah cometh ..., that he may redeem the children of men ... And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, ... Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."
Mom and dad 'acted' to choose for themselves. They have chosen well. They have greater freedom to continue to 'act to choose' and to bless the lives of all around them - especially all of us. How we treasure their wisdom and love, their patience and prudence.
May God bless them as they continue to set such a powerful and careful example to each of us - that we too may act to have more happiness and real joy that will continue through all time and all eternity. Many of you also acted to help them as they planned and then implemented their plan. Special thanks to each of you that so lovingly live as they have taught and 'chose to act' even as they do.
As I consider their long range planning I often think on their example. They model marriage. They model parenting and family relationships. They model enduring kindness and forbearance. I pray each of us may follow their examples in continuing to care for them and each other - in choosing kindness, forgiveness, and all other good things.
I believe Mom is alive this week because of considered choices to 'act'.Thank you, again, to every one that helps them, and loves them and prays for them.
I think mother also lives today because of the habits built into their lives to obey true principles. They model how to find enduring joy. They consistently 'act' in faith and believe the promises found in the scriptures and words of prophets.
One of my favorites scriptures encourages us to share their outlook and happy way of living. "Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life". 2 Nephi 10:23.