Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Mother's Final Witness

On June 11, 1997 my mother died from the affects of Alzheimer's disease. I would never have dreamed it possible but by time she passed it was a blessing we were all earnestly praying for.

For the last year of her life Mom moved from San Luis Obispo to Orem to be closer to Tani and I. It had become an overwhelming burden for my dad to care for her by himself. Heidi lived far enough away in Atascadero, that it made it impossible for her to be there everyday. Because I didn't work I knew I'd have more time and space to watch over them daily so we brought them to Utah (causing Heidi's heart to break). Mom had, by this time, lost all ability to speak. She had become increasingly agitated and distraught, continuously pacing and crying with unknown fears. It was an anguishing situation.

We moved Mom and Dad into a lovely Assisted Living Center. To give some relief for my dad, we were able to get Mom enrolled in a Day Care Center for Alzheimer patients. It was only for a couple of hours each day but it allowed my dad some respite and a chance to just be alone. I will always be so grateful to those wonderful angel women who ran the center. They were not of our faith, but never were there more godly women than they.

One day, only a couple weeks before Mom died, I went to be with Mom at the center. I found her especially agitated and upset. To calm her I took her by the arm and started walking around the room. Sometimes it would soothe her if I sang to her. I usually would sing hymns but this day I started singing one of her favorite Primary songs, "I am a Child of God".

As soon as I begin singing Mom abruptly stopped and for the first time in months, looked me squarely in the eye. Then the miracle happened...Mom started to sing, words coming out of her mouth that had not formed words for months, ALL the verses to that beloved song.

"I am a child of God and He has sent me here. Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear....
"I am a child of God and so my needs are great. Help me to understand His will before it grows too late...
"I am a child of God, rich blessings are in store. If I but learn to do his will I'll live with him once more
"Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday."

When the song was complete Mom's eyes lowered to the ground and she disappeared once again, never to return. But for that brief moment in time I beheld my mother again! And in the singing of that song she was able to witnessed her final testimony to me. I knew she KNEW where she was going in a few short days. Even in her darkest place she was able to find the light of her testimony. She KNEW her Heavenly Father loved her and that Jesus was her personal Savior. She gifted that testimony to me. It was an infinitely beautiful moment in time. And though she never emerged again, it was enough for me.


  1. This is one of my most cherished stories. What a powerful witness to all and a gift to her daughter to testify of the simple truths of the gospel. This is a story I have used before in a talk and one that I guarantee I will use again.

  2. I LOVE this story. It is truly remarkable. I always will remember the day we were with her before we took Adam to the MTC. She was so cute with Ash and I. I miss her so much.

  3. And you wonder why we love music! It is the greatest testifier of all that God lives and Jesus is the Christ. Grandma KNEW that and for me this is special that her love and tie to music has gone from Nellie, Joyce, you and to me! Thank you for passing on that magical gift of being able to be testified to through the spirit of music.

  4. What a powerful story. That would've been a great one for my lesson last week, I can see why Ash has used that in a talk. It is a perfect portrayal and testimony of the simple principles of the Gospel that give us such peace. We are a part of a Heavenly Family, our Father in heaven knows us and loves us, we were with Him before this life and we can be with Him again. Amazing.