With my friends and family in Cedar City, I'm in the midst of an eventful, wonderful, agonizing, awful week (pretty much just like life...). Early Saturday morning (August 23), Gary and I entered the St. George temple to be with Val, the sweet young woman who cared for Grandma Gwynne this past year. She was marrying Justin, a really neat young man that we'd grown to love, too. And, because Val is the only member of the LDS faith in her family, she honored Gary and I by asking us to be her escort and witness. I cried with happiness during much of the ceremony and in the Bride's room.
We went outside for the pictures on the temple steps and Gary turned on his cell phone where he found the message that one of our dearest friends and his daughter Dave Goddard and Cecilee) were killed in a terrible plane crash the night before. We went from joyous celebration of the formation of a new family to profound sorrow at the devastation of so many others. I'm pretty sure the accident made the national news. Ten people, including the pilot died instantly just after they took off from the airport in Moab, Utah. Our whole town is in mourning.
Yesterday, our church services were filled with a solemn hush as we drew together and felt the Spirit comfort us. Gary directed the choir in singing "I'm a Pilgrim, I'm a Stranger" a plaintive hymn about our earthly lives being a time of uncertainty and sorrow. The last verse, though, speaks about turning to God for safety and peace. The choir and the audience were sobbing by the end of it.
Tonight there will be a memorial service at Southern Utah University and another on Thursday night where the Orchestra of Southern Utah will perform a musical tribute to those we lost and their families. Gary is first trumpet in the orchestra. Dave and Cecilee's funeral will be Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
I find myself weeping, then I feel such a sweet peace in my faith, the faith I shared with Dave. I realize that death comes to all of us--it's as much a part of life as birth. I can find strength and solace through my savior, Jesus Christ, who bore my sorrows, as well as my sins.
And my weeping turns to joy.