Thursday, January 15, 2009


So... I am not ready to write about Gram's passing yet.

However, the other day I was going through some scrap books at home and found the following.

This is the talk my Dad gave at Grandpa's funeral 27 years ago... you don't have to change too much of it to make it relevant to Gram as well.

As I was preparing my remarks for this service, I pondered as to what I might say that would bring peace to your hearts and understanding to your minds. It is my prayer this day that our Heavenly Father might open my mind and heart that I might be guided to say those things that he would have me say, and that you might find comfort in them.

As I look about this chapel, my heart is filled with pride and thankfulness. I 'm sorry to say that I don't know each of you, but I can see by your faces that you share our sorrow for the loss of my father, and for this I am grateful. But in some of your faces, I see not only sorrow, but confusion and even bitterness. It is for your comfort I pray today.

I testify to you that death is not an ending, but a beginning. Rossiter W. Raymond said:

“Life is eternal and love is immortal and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. “

The following story further describes the crossover from this life into eternity.

In a beautiful blue lagoon on a clear day, a fine sailing-ship spreads its brilliant white canvas in a fresh morning breeze and sails out to the open sea. We watch her glide away magnificently through the deep blue and gradually see her grow smaller and smaller as she nears the horizon. Finally, where the sea and sky meet, she slips silently from sight; and someone near me says, "There, she is gone!" Gone where? Gone from sight-that is all. She is still as large in mast and hull and sail, still just as able to bear her load. And we can be sure that, just as we say, "There, she is gone!" another says, "There, she comes!”

As surely as we are gathered here in sorrow to say good-bye to Bert, there was a gathering in Heaven to joyfully greet him. The subdued nature of today’s services can in no way compare with the rejoicing of those who have gone on before in meeting Dad as he passed through the veil. Please allow the truthfulness of these things to bring peace to your hearts.

Now I would speak to you concerning the burden of sorrow you carry this morning. In the Doctrine & Covenants 42:25 we are told...

"Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die ..."

This scripture tells us that there is a kinship between sorrow and love. Elder Paul H. Dunn describes this relationship by asking the question...

"What is sorrow, but the tender side of love?"

Fighting back your sorrow can never bring comfort. In fact, fighting our sorrow can lead only to bitterness and grief. Peace can only be brought to our hearts by combining our love softened sorrow with our faith in our Father in Heaven.

Henry Ward Beecher wrote:

"The moment an ill can be patiently borne, it is disarmed of its poison, though not of its pain."

So don't try to fight the sorrow you feel. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.

Thursday a friend and associate of mine remarked on how well we were bearing up with our loss. I explained to her that it was our beliefs and the understanding of death that the Gospel of Jesus Christ had given us that sustained us in our time of need. I felt she didn't understand, but time and circumstance did not permit the entering into a detailed discussion of the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation. So instead I related to her the following story.

When I was eleven years old, my father left our family in Walnut Creek, California to come to Las Vegas to start an Insurance Agency in partnership with his brother Dixie. He was gone for some time getting used to his new work and preparing a new home for his family. We missed him very much, but we knew where he was and what he was doing. But most important of all, we knew we would be with him again.

Today, we have those same assurances. We know he is in Paradise. We know he is preparing for his new work of teaching those who have passed on without an opportunity to learn the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But most comforting is our knowledge that he is preparing a new home for our family, for we are a forever family, and we will live with him throughout eternity.

This understanding of the Plan of Salvation gives us the knowledge of who we are, where we came from, why we are here, where we go after death, and that if we obey God's Commandments and are sealed to each other in his Temple, we can live as a family through all time and eternity.

Bert Leavitt understood and lived the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His willingness and ability to give of him whatever was needed by others was his living testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.

In Matthew 5:16 we are instructed to:

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven."

Dad tried to live his life according to those instructions. He hoped that his example would touch others in such a way that they would seek the truthfulness of the Gospel and share the joys of the Everlasting Covenant.

Late Thursday night I started thinking about my father’s belief in the Gospel. In looking back on conversations we had recently shared, I felt impressed to try and put in words those things he would express to us today if it were possible.

This song is for all of us, but most especially for Mom.

I already miss you
And the life that we shared
The warm touch of your hand
That told me you cared
But I promise this to you
With my last earthly breathe
It's a beginning
Not an ending
This birth we call death

I pray that your sorrow
May be softened by love
And your faith may be strengthened
In our Father above
For He is calling me back home
And no longer can I roam
But I love you
And await you
At the foot of his throne

Someday soon you will join me
When your journey's through
After you have accomplished
All that you were meant to
And then together we will be
All that we were meant to be
A family
Through all eternity

I will say this... I bet the party is still going!