Make Easter more meaningful.
Yesterday the Campbell and Tibbitts families (and hundreds of friends) said our final earthly good-byes to Jeanne Marie Campbell Tibbitts.
Under these sad and difficult circumstances we spent the day surrounded by hundreds of family members we cherish and respect.
On sad and difficult days, feeling surrounded by love makes it feel a bit better.
When I'm around my huge, amazing, extended family, I'm always reminded that family is what it's all about,
And that the little things do matter...
During the funeral Jeanne's children told of their mother taking time for the little things, and later that day in the store when I heard a mom shushing her little boy "because I'm busy and I don't have time for that right now," I wanted to tell her time is all she has, but I didn't. I just thought it, and remembered that I'd try harder not to hurry my own children. One of the legacies of Jeanne's life is that she surrounded her family with love.
Earlier that day I saw my aunts, Jeanne's two remaining sisters, push my grandmother's wheelchair close to Jeanne's casket so she could say good-bye. The sight of my grandmother surrounded by their love as she said good-bye to her youngest daughter made me cry. Several times they would push her again toward the casket, then before the casket was closed, Jeanne's husband helped others support my grandmother while she stood to kiss her daughter on the cheek one last time.
As the viewing was winding down, I also saw my Aunt Ruby put her arm around each of Jeanne's children as she lead them forward to the side of their mother's casket. She talked to them as they stood there together, and more than a good-bye, it was an embrace from someone who could love them when their mother's arms were no longer there. As a sister who fills that role, I could relate (and shed some more tears), and appreciated Ruby's sacrifice. I know the feeling of reaching through your own pain to make sure that a child doesn't go without love. Last month when I was with Jeanne in the hospital, she spoke of her children on several occasions and her love for them. Having a familiar set of arms surrounding her children in love on that difficult day would have been important to her.
When I was with Jeanne in the hospital, she asked me questions about Joie, and as I talked about how Joie is doing Jeanne asked, "Do you feel like your life is normal?"
Without thinking much, I heard myself say, "Yes, fairly normal," then I saw the puzzled look on her face and knew I couldn't pass our lives off as "normal." So I laughed and added, "Well, normal to us."
I had forgotten that conversation until today, when I was driving Joie to Cedar Fort to leave an Easter message for her family. For several hours this afternoon she worked on this poster:
She even engineered stakes (skewer sticks bound together with duct tape...because you can do anything with duct tape).
...So I guess two cemeteries in two days might not be "normal," but on this Easter Sunday, the candy and the new clothes and Easter dinner took a back seat to other events that remind us why we celebrate Easter.
Not so "normal" things like this in our lives remind me daily that our Savior's sacrifice wasn't just about resurrection. It is also about His capacity to carry our burdens and help us to heal...and for that we don't have to wait for a Resurrection Day. It is because of His sacrifice that we can feel our lives are "normal." For that I am eternally thankful.