My daughter expressed her feelings for Susan - "When Susan left us, she left such a big hole." I've been contemplating that truth. Susan filled our lives with so much joy and laughter and love and food and wisdom and dancing and companionship and reverence for the worth of a soul, how can we not help but feel the absence of her presence?
As I look back on the last few days, I was prepared for her passing. The morning before she passed away,
I was out doing my morning laps.
The flame trees on the island are not blooming yet. When they do they are dramatically beautiful, with gorgeous large red blossoms that carpet the green. As I passed by our flame tree here in Lojkar, Long Island on Majuro, nothing appeared different as I passed by it the first time.
On the second lap, a huge seed pod broke off and crashed to the pavement. While turning my head to look at it, my eye caught something I hadn't seen before: a single red blossom.
During that walk there were 7 frigate birds that flew overheard - more than I have seen on any morning workout.
A few butterflies flew in my path a while later in the day. When all three come in one day (flowers, birds, and butterflies), something special is usually going to happen - Conrad has been very consistent on this mission with his messages.
The next day on January 31st (we live in the future here - it was January 30th back in the States), the red blossom was vivid. Susan loves red.
17 frigate birds. Seventeen. Wow - whatever it is, it's going to be important to me and to our family, and Conrad knows what it is.
Later that morning at the office, someone asked me to look up something on email.
The shock of seeing the news of Susan's passing in the subject of a few emails tore at my heart.
No...we had plans when I came home in a few months.
As I left the office a beautiful little black butterfly accompanied me all the way to my apartment. Thank you, Conrad. You know how I love her with all my heart. The tears won't stop.
Later they stopped enough for me to go looking for an apartment to open for a new batch of missionaries.
They stopped long enough for me to talk to Merril when he called. My prayers will be for Merril and the children and the grandchildren, for her family and for all who love her. We will all need prayers for the Lord to strengthen us.
That night the Senior couples and I had a New Year's party at the Mission Home.
I stared at the napkin on the table...
A darkhaired dancing angel.
When Susan emailed me about the return of the cancer 8 months ago, we shot emails back and forth. Moroni chapter 7 was important to us.
":29 - And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
:30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness."
I love you, my precious friend.
I will try to add to the love and joy in this world that you left for all of us with your goodness, and to which you quite likely can still add.
No one can ever be quite like you.