This is a picture of my parents. This picture was taken two years ago tomorrow. We were hiking around Madera Canyon, which is in South Tucson where we lived for about three years. We had such a great day and my parents were so happy to be together. My dad had not seen my mom for almost six months before this trip reunited them. For those of you who may not know, my mom passed away December 1, 2007. She lost her courageous fight with cancer and returned to her Heavenly Father after years of being sick. She had been living with my family in Tucson undergoing chemo while my father remained in Utah working. His work kept him away for months and he had such a hard time being away from her. They were everything to each other, and more to me. My dad is my hero for many reasons, but mostly because he loved a woman for 41 years who battled insecurities, depression, and MANY health problems. He never left her or his children. I have no doubt that many men, even men of God, would have left their families had they gone through the struggles my father did. But he did not complain or blame. My father only loved more and worked harder. I thank my Father in Heaven for my dad and his example.
Life is full of ups and downs. We are going to face challenges in our lives and our character will be tested. My father I'm sure was not always happy to have a sick wife who couldn't be active with him. He wanted to travel around the world, she had a hard time making a trip four hours away from home. He loved the outdoors, she wanted air-conditioning. She passionately loved many sports, he wasn't as excited. He wanted to talk, she didn't. She loved QVC and shopping, he liked to save money. She loved to decorate and he didn't see a need. Their differences did not affect their love for one another. They learned to accept their differences and not try to change the other person.
Life is also full of happy times and laughter. We are supposed to enjoy life and each other. My parents did just that. They loved the Gospel more than anything. They each had and shared powerful testimonies of their Savior. They loved their children, even during many rebellious and difficult years. They respected and honored one another and their eternal covenants. They laughed, cried, prayed, and on occasion even disagreed. But no matter what obstacles they faced, they did it together. The did it together and with faith in Heavenly Father that they would not be given more than they could endure.
In D&C 58:4 it reads, "For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour in not yet, but is nigh at hand."
Their love for one another, their children, and their Savior never wavered. Their life was a not a fairly tale, but their love was. I love my parents so much and express my appreciation for their commitment and strength. I strive to have a marriage built upon a rock, the rock of our Savior. If I can lovingly, graciously, happily, and faithfully endure life's challenges, I too can hope for those eternal blessings and glory.
I am so honored to have a father who taught by example. He never asked of us what he was not already doing himself. His desire to serve the Lord, his wife, his children, and his fellowman, was a great indicator of his value and conviction to do what is right. Thank you dad for loving my mom with all your heart and treating her with respect and kindness. You are a righteous man who loves the Lord and your family more than anything. I love you dad!!!