Saturday, April 23, 2011

Grandma Patsy's Easter Letter

April 2011

My darling children and grandchildren,

Happy Easter! This is a glorious time of year. It is one of my favorite times of the year. April is the month that our Savior, Jesus Christ was really born. It is also the month when the Church of Jesus Christ was organized. It is General Conference month when we can listen to our prophets and learn what the Lord wants us to know and do. It is also the month (usually) that we celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I decided as an Easter remembrance this year I would like to tell you about my testimony of and my gratitude for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and why it means so much to me.

As a child and for as long as I can remember I have loved my Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. I loved to hear about them and I loved to sing songs about them. I loved to pray to my Heavenly Father and I knew He would answer my prayers. I always wanted to feel close to Heavenly Father and Jesus and do the things that they wanted me to do. Those are the things that made me happy.

As I grew, my testimony of the principles of the gospel also grew and developed. I knew my Savior loved me. I knew He experienced all kinds of trials and ridicule. I knew He suffered in Gethsemane and on the cross for me and for all mankind. I knew on the third day, after he died, that He was resurrected. I knew that meant we could all live after we die.

But when I really KNEW the great blessing and reality of the resurrection was when I was fifteen years old and a sophomore at East High School.

Lin Hewlett, 1963
Life as a fifteen-year-old was good. I had a great family and some wonderful friends. It was easier to be a “lowly sophomore” because I had an older brother who also went to East High. Lin was seventeen and had lots of friends and lots of talents and abilities. He was a senior. He played basketball, baseball, and sang in the A’Cappella and Madrigals. He was a “big man on campus.” He was a good brother to me. He acknowledged that I was his sister and his friends all said hello to me even though I was just a tenth grader. I was quite shy and so all of those people made being at a new school with over 2500 students easier for me. My best friends, Karen Burton and Becky Young, were the oldest in their families. Thus they had to “make it on their own," unlike those of us who had older siblings.

Hewlett Children, 1963
School started in September, so by October I was feeling fairly secure. All was good in my world. Then on October 21, 1963, my world was forever changed. My mother was President of the East High PTA. She and my father had a meeting at school that night.

Lin was off playing basketball at a stake center out south with his best friend, Flemming Christensen, and Gary Barrus. I was home tending John and Ernie. After Mother and Daddy returned home we were talking about what teachers had to say, etc., and the phone rang. They answered and quickly hung up. Evidently Lin had been in an accident and they had to go to the hospital. They quickly left.

Soon after, the door bell rang. At the door was Uncle Budge. Aunt Marlene and Uncle Budge lived above us on 16th Avenue. He asked for Mom and Dad and I told him they were at the hospital. He responded he knew that and when we asked what had happened he said, “I guess there was an accident and your brother was killed.”

A drunk driver had crossed four lanes of highway on Wasatch Blvd. and had hit Lin’s car head-on. Lin and Flemming were both killed instantly. Gary was injured, but soon recovered. What a shock! How shattered we all were. Lin was gone. . . never to return home. I was devastated! I was hysterical! I was in a fog! How would we ever go on without Lin?!

I remember lots of calls, lots of visitors, lots of food, lots of flowers, lots of love, lots of notes. I remember lots of news articles and lots of tears. Mother and Daddy were amazing. They seemed to comfort all who came. We had the viewing and the funeral. Many commented that Lin and Flemming had gone on their missions early.

Some said the Lord had a great work for them to do. I can’t remember all of the details, but what I do remember is that after I had had a priesthood blessing and I had prayed that a sweet peace enveloped me. I knew through the power of the Holy Ghost I would see my brother again; Christ our Savior was resurrected and because of Him and His sacrifices for us we would be able to live on after we died.

That knowledge didn’t take the pain and the emptiness away, but it did give me the courage to keep living and to try even harder than I ever had to live so I could be with Lin again. I remember lots and lots of days and nights walking to the cemetery and sitting by his grave. I remember crying and missing him. I remember talking to him and to the Lord. It was not an easy time, but I knew without any question the resurrection was real and because of Christ we would all live again.

How thankful I was for that knowledge and how thankful I still am!

Adrienne Goates, 1992
Years have passed and we have lost others we love. It is never easy to let them go. How we still miss all of them, but I know without any doubt we shall see them all again. I know if I keep my covenants that through the atonement and through the power of the priesthood we shall be a family forever! I know God lives and loves us. I know Jesus is the Christ and through Him we shall be saved if we repent and do all we can do. I am so thankful for my Savior. Because of Him and through our covenants in the holy temple we can be sealed together forever!

I love you all more than you will ever know. I pray constantly for each of you! May you all more fully appreciate the gifts our Savior and our Heavenly Father have given all of us this Easter is my prayer.

Mom (Grandma Patsy)

(My reflections on the events of the fall of 1963 are recorded here. A month later, following Lin and Flemming's deaths, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas).

1 comment:

  1. This was so sweet. I feel so lucky to have such amazing parents.