Sunday, September 14, 2014

Uncle Scott's Talk

Yesterday marked four months since our wonderful Alex passed away.  We miss him so much but trust that someday we will see him again.  Todd's brother Scott gave a beautiful talk at Alex's funeral. Many people commented on how profound it was, but when I asked Scott for a copy of it, he said he only used notes.  So it has taken a few months to get it transcribed (thanks Allie!)  so that we could post it here.  We are grateful for Scott's willingness to speak of these important things, and we are grateful for the truths that he spoke of.

Presented at the funeral service for Alexander Todd Mitton
17 May 2014
Good afternoon brothers and sisters, friends and family. My purpose today is to teach and to testify of The Plan of Salvation, or The Great Plan of Happiness, and how it applies to Alex and to all of us.
I greeted you as brothers and sisters because that’s what we are: all of us lived before as family in a spirit world with our Father in Heaven. And The Great Plan of Happiness is all about family. In Hebrews, in the New Testament, Paul tells us that God is the father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9), and in Romans 8 it says “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).
God our Heavenly Father loved us and wanted us to become like Him, to live in eternal joy as He does. His plan was for us to come to earth, receive a mortal body, and learn through our experiences and by the receiving of ordinances to become like Him. Because all of us would sin and because no unclean thing can dwell with God, our Father provided also for us a Savior, Jesus Christ, who would atone for our sins. Jesus Christ was the firstborn of the Father in the Spirit, and like unto God from the beginning.
And so we all, every one of us, chose to come to earth, to follow God’s plan. Here on earth our purpose is to become like our Father in Heaven. We do this by receiving a mortal body and being born into a family. We learn through our experiences to choose good over evil. We also make covenants with God to repent of our sins and to keep His commandments; as we do so, and by the grace of Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven of our sins and errors and made clean again that we might return to the presence of our Father in Heaven one day. Again, this is possible because of the gift of Jesus Christ. We read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, conveys this message in a better way than anywhere else. We read in 3 Nephi 9 the words of Christ himself to the people of the Americas, where He says,
Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin. Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved. (3 Nephi 9: 21–22)
And so here in this life we go through all these experiences, but ultimately all of us must die. And we go to another world, the spirit world. Again, the Book of Mormon teaches us in Alma 40,
Now, concerning the state of the soul [or the spirit] between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. (Alma 40:11–12)
After this time in the spirit world we all, every one of us, will be resurrected, which is the joining together again of our spirits and our bodies. But in this case, our bodies will be perfected. We will no longer have illness and physical challenges. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul teaches us,
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures . . . If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:3–4, 19–22)
And with that resurrection we will also be judged; we will stand before God to be judged of our intents and actions in this life. How we have lived and who we have become in this life will be reflected in the reward that we receive. The greatest reward will be to live again with God our Heavenly Father, our Savior Jesus Christ, and with our families.
So, what of Alex? What was his place in this Great Plan of Happiness? In Job, in the Old Testament, it teaches us that all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7). This was referring to that time before we came to the earth. I am confident that Alex was one of those who shouted for joy. He shouted for joy for the opportunity to come to this earth and to one day become more like his Father in Heaven. Even though he might have known about the challenges this life would give him, he shouted for joy.
Alex was born. He was born into a family. He was born into an ideal family, with a father and mother who had been sealed in the holy temple of God for time and all eternity, and with siblings who would love and care for him; and with other family members, grandparents, and others, who would help him along this path of life; parents who would teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ, to be baptized and to receive ordinances. And Alex received every ordinance of the gospel that was made available to him.
What of Alex’s physical challenges? Elder Russell M. Nelson, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, has said, “Stellar spirits are often housed in imperfect bodies. The gift of such a body can actually strengthen a family as parents and siblings willingly build their lives around that child born with special needs” (Decisions for Eternity, Ensign November 2013).
I’d like to remind us of a story in the life of the Savior, in John 9: “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:1– 3).
How have the works of God been made manifest in Alexander Todd Mitton? First, what are these works of God? The work of God is to bring to pass the eternal life of men, of his children here on earth; so anything that brings people closer to God, or closer to that eternal life, is a manifestation of the works of God. Did not Alex bring those who knew him closer to God?
Think of the doctors and nurses who had the opportunity to administer their healing gifts. Were those not bringing them closer to God? Think of the deacons who pushed Alex in his wheelchair so that he could administer the sacrament, or others of his young friends at school who pushed him in his wheelchair. Did not they learn to be humble and kind? Think of those caregivers of Alex on Friday nights or other times of the week, who came so willingly. Did they not learn loyalty and charity? Most of all, what of Allison and Todd and Abby? Allison and Todd were saints before Alex was born, but they have been refined in a way that might not have been possible if not for their time with Alex. They have learned patience, and they are filled with the pure love of Christ.
The day will come when many of us will see Alex again, and we will thank him for how he helped us to become closer to God. Surely through Alex the works of God were made manifest.
Alex now is in the spirit world, relieved of the pain and suffering that he endured here. And there also we can be assured he is busy in a new way. Or perhaps it’s the same way, just in a different way. In the Doctrine & Covenants 138 we read,
(T)he faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead. (D&C 138:57)
And so Alex now will have the chance to preach the gospel to others. He’ll be able to communicate in ways that were difficult for him here on this earth. And he will continue to bless the lives of many souls. Ultimately he will be resurrected, and he will receive a perfect and glorified body free from pain and suffering. That will be a glorious and joyful day.
I’d like to share this quote from the prophet Joseph Smith: “Those who have died in Jesus Christ may expect to enter into all that fruition of joy when they come forth, which they possessed or anticipated here. So plain was the vision of the resurrection, that I actually saw men, before they had ascended from the tomb, as though they were getting up slowly. They took each other by the hand and said to each other, ‘My father, my son, my mother, my daughter, my brother, my sister.’ And when the voice calls for the dead to arise, suppose I am laid by the side of my father, what would be the first joy of my heart? To meet my father, my mother, my brother, my sister; and when they are by my side, I embrace them and they me. . . . All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection provided you continue faithful. . . . The expectation of seeing my friends in the morning of the resurrection cheers my soul and makes me bear up against the evils of life. It is like their taking a long journey, and on their return we meet them with increased joy” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 295–296).
Brothers and sisters, I give you my witness that God lives. He is our Father in Heaven. He gave to us His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, to make possible our return to Him. I know that Jesus Christ lives. He was resurrected, and because He was resurrected each of us will be resurrected as well. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; that we are led by a prophet of God; and that as we follow the teachings of these prophets our lives in this world can be filled with happiness and joy, and we can receive eternal joy and peace in the world to come. I testify the Book of Mormon is filled with truth, and by abiding by its precepts we can come closer to God than by any other book.
I know that this is The Great Plan of Happiness, the great plan of families. Alex has filled the measure of his creation. May we all go forth and do so as well, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Handicap Parking Spots

McKay and I go to the same school now, so I drive him to school sometimes.  There's pretty much only one space at the school where we can park, because we need an unloading spot on the right side of the van for the ramp to come out.  This isn't usually a problem.

But yesterday morning, we pulled into the parking lot and saw this other car pull into our spot.  At first I thought it was a teacher or somebody who really needed the handicap spot, but when I looked a little closer I didn't see a handicap parking pass.  Then I noticed a kid in the passenger's seat of the car grabbing things from the backseat, which is when I realized it was just some mom dropping her kid off at school!  I waited for them to leave, but this kid must have been, like, constructing an entire science project in the car because it took a little while.  Finally they left, so we got our parking spot and the cars that had been lined up behind us waiting for me to park were able to go on with their lives.  McKay and I were only inconvenienced for a few minutes, but it was still really annoying.  

Long story short, handicap parking spaces are just that: handicap parking spaces.  They are for people who actually need them.  They're not convenient spots for people to park in when they need to drop off their kid at school or run into the grocery store.  Even if it seems like nobody is using them, chances are someone is going to show up who actually needs it.

So the moral of the story is that if you're not a handicapped person, don't park in the handicap parking spots.  It's not that hard.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to School

Well, we had a lot of adventures this summer, but all good things must come to an end.  This was the week for Abby and McKay to go back to school.  For the first time since 7th grade, they are both going to be at the same school this year.  McKay has switched from Orem High to Pleasant Grove High.  And what's more, they will be Seniors this year.  I think McKay is pretty excited about being the Big Man On Campus.  Here are Abby and McKay before going to their first day of school.
See how excited they are?  Since this is their last year of high school, this will be their last official "first day of school" picture.  (Unless, as we suspect, Allison follows Abby to college next year just to make sure her hair looks okay for the first day of school.)  Now for a little retrospective, here is their "first day of school" picture for kindergarten.

They were so cute then, and they are still so cute.  Have a great year, Abby and McKay!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Downeast by Northeast

In the backyard...

We did a crummy job of blogging while we were on our vacation -- our internet connection was quite slow and it took a long time to upload pictures.  So I'm going to try to catch up a little.

Our trip was so fun! One of the coolest things we did was to buy a kayak!  We ordered it from Amazon and it came in 2 days -- thanks Amazon Prime!  We all enjoyed kayaking in the bay behind our house, but McKay especially loved it.

We loved hanging out on the bay behind our house, and some days we just played around all day, watching the bay, relaxing in the woods, playing games and watching movies.  It was very sweet.

Our Abby is so wonderful!


And we LOVED Acadia National Park!  We thought it was stunningly beautiful and so very interesting!  Here are a few of the many, many pictures we took there...

McKay and Todd atop Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast.
Another view of Cadillac Mountain... this show some of the many islands in the distance off the coast of Mt. Desert Island, where most of Acadia is located.  I could not believe how cool it was.

One of my favorite features of Acadia was the Carriage Roads that you could bike or walk on... there are 45 miles of them.    Twice Abby and I rented bikes and cycled all the way around a few different lakes.  It  was so fun!  There are bodies of water all over!  And the Carriage Roads were perfect for taking McKay on walks, as well.  
The Carriage Road alongside Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake -- one of the lakes Abby and I biked all the way around.

We had a lot of fun when Todd's niece, Allie, and her friend came up for the weekend from Boston.  We spent a day with them in Acadia.

Todd, Allie, and Abby flying a kite on Sand Beach


Finally, we had to leave our lovely house and beautiful Maine... but we got to continue our trip for a few more weeks by spending time in Boston.  We were so happy to spend a few days there -- over the 4th of July, no less, because we have such happy, happy memories from when we lived there... poor Abby and McKay.. every 5 minutes we were pointing out something like "Oh, Abby!  This is where you used to chase the pigeons!" or "This is where we would go for walks -- everyone was so fascinated by the triplets!"  or "This is where you had your first orange scone!  You were so cute!"  They got a little tired of that, I'm afraid.  But it's true that our family LOVED that city and that we were very happy there!

On the Esplanade with Allie... it was so fun to hang out with her!
Fenway!!! It's super fun (even if the Red Sox lose).
Make Way for Ducklings!!!
The Public Gardens... the site of many family outings to ride the Swan Boats and feed the ducks and geese!  It's within walking distance of our apartment and we spent a lot of time there.

The Boston Temple

And finally, we went to the Boston Temple.  It was opened just after we moved, so we hadn't been there yet.  We didn't have a chance to go in, but I could not restrain my tears as we walked around the grounds.  It is lovely!

I'm so glad I know that because of the covenants Todd and I made in the Salt Lake Temple our family will be together forever.  We missed our Alex when we were at the temple!

Monday, June 9, 2014

We're in Maine

Hi everyone, Abby here.  We are spending the month of June at a house near the coast in Maine.  It is gorgeous here!  This trip had originally been planned for Alex because he breathed better when we were at sea level, but we decided to take the trip anyway in his honor.

Since we drove out here, we were able to make some fun stops along the way.  Here are the most exciting ones.

First stop: Chicago!
I loved Chicago.  I always love big cities, and Chicago did not disappoint.  The only thing I really wanted to do there was go to the top of the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and stand on the glass platform.  So we did that, and it was super cool.

We also went on an architectural boat tour.  This was basically just what it sounds like: we rode through the rivers in Chicago on a boat and a tour guide told us all about the architecture and history of the city.  It was really interesting.  Mom especially loved it.

Next stop: Ann Arbor, Michigan!
Dad's brother Ryan lives there with his family so we spent a couple nights with them.  They live in a really pretty neighborhood.  We ate yummy food and jumped on their trampoline and had a great time.  This picture is of me and my little cousin Ava, at the "fairy garden" in downtown Ann Arbor.

And this picture is of my cousin Carter, who fell asleep during church and is the cutest little kid ever.

Next stop: Niagara Falls!
This was a blast!  We rode on a boat that goes really close to the falls, and we got really wet from the mist and water.  It was awesome, but I think the pictures say it all.  I dare you to find something that is happier than McKay's face in these pictures.

Next stop: MAINE!
We have already had a lot of fun here, and we've still got about three more weeks!  There is a bay right in the backyard of the house we're renting.  It is so, so cool.  We are so lucky!

I still can't believe how awesome it is.
 One of the highlights so far happened just this afternoon.  When I was little, Dad and I always read this picture book together, One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey.  We loved it and to be honest, it was one of the biggest reasons we were excited about staying here this summer.  In the book, the characters row in a boat from their house to the mainland to get groceries, and they go to a place called Buck's Harbor.  So today we went to the real Buck's Harbor!  Childhood dreams came true!  If you can't tell from the picture, the sign on the building says Buck's Harbor.

For mine and McKay's birthday on Saturday, Mom and Dad surprised us with a sailboat ride in Bar Harbor!  It was really fun!  Don't I have the cutest parents?

Well, that sums up our trip thus far.  Probably someone else will post later about the rest of our adventures here in Maine.  But there is one thing that we have not yet discussed: Summer reading lists.

For years I've had this tradition of making a summer reading list for myself.  Part of the tradition is me being overly ambitious and only getting around to reading like 1/3 of the books on the list.  But, that's okay.  Here are some of the titles that I've read so far this summer or plan to read.

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

I was going to talk about summer music playlists too, but I guess I'll save that for the next time I post.   Stay tuned for more of our summer adventures!

Thursday, May 29, 2014


On May 13, 2014 we had to say good-bye to our sweet Alex.  He had a cold the week before but we thought he was getting much better over Mother's Day weekend and we had a fun time hanging out.  On Monday, I watched the Mother's Day Price is Right with him.  On Sunday, I stayed home from church with him and we watched Music & the Spoken Word and read scriptures and snuggled.  That evening he was very cheerful and gave Todd lots of big smiles before bed, and Monday morning he seemed to be breathing great and he was happy and smiley.  But that afternoon he got very sick with lots of coughing, then his heart rate went quite high so we took him to the hospital.  He ended up at Primary Children's Hospital where the doctors and nurses took very good care of him but things went from bad to worse and he passed away with Todd and I by his side at about 3:30 on Tuesday morning.  

He will be sorely missed.  He was a delightful child and a strength and joy to be around.  But for the last few years his body has been getting weaker and it's wonderful to know that he is free from the frailties, pain, and constraints of his body and that we will see him again in the next life.  We know that we will be a family forever and that our relationship will grow and grow and we will all have a great time.  

The nearly 17 years we spent with him were all a miracle, and we are grateful for him and all he taught us.  

Following are the obituary, written by Todd, Abby's Life Sketch, and the talk I gave at the funeral.

Alexander Todd Mitton of Lindon, Utah, died Tuesday, May 13 from complications of pneumonia.  He was 16 years old.

Alex was born in Boston along with his triplet siblings Abigail and McKay.  He lived the first four months of his life at Massachusetts General Hospital where he was cared for by loving nurses and doctors.  He lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts until he moved with his family to Lindon in 2000.  He attended Rocky Mountain Elementary School and Oak Canyon Junior High, and at the time of his passing he was a junior at Orem High School.

Alex lived a life marked by cheerfulness and courage.  As a result of being born three months early, Alex had cerebral palsy.  Throughout his life he was faced with numerous surgeries, illnesses, and hospitalizations, yet he was unwaveringly brave through all of them.  He benefited from the excellent care of many at Primary Children’s Medical Center, which often seemed like his “home away from home”.  Despite his many physical challenges, including not being able to walk or talk, Alex had an infectious smile and laugh, and he had the ability to spread joy to those around him.  He loved life and enjoyed reading, swimming, skiing, and watching The Price is Right.  He enjoyed many kinds of music and had a special love for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Alex is survived by his parents Allison and Todd Mitton, his sister Abigail, and his brother McKay; his grandparents Reid and Sanna Lee Mitton of Salem, Oregon, his grandparents Larry and Anne Prestwich of Longmont, Colorado; and many uncles, aunts, and cousins.  Those who were privileged to get to know him could not help but love him, and he will be dearly missed.

Todd,  McKay & Alex at Temple Square

Life Sketch of Alexander Todd Mitton
by Abby Mitton

My brother Alex was a fighter from day one.  On June 7th, 1997, Alex, McKay and I were born at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  As a result of being born 3 months early, Alex and McKay have had many physical challenges, mostly cerebral palsy.  Alex especially went through a lot, and spent the first four months of his life at the hospital. 
When we were 3 years old, we moved here to Lindon.  We started going to school and Alex loved learning new things and interacting with the people around him.  He was so smart. 
We had so much fun growing up together as triplets and sharing so many special experiences, like birthdays.  We spent a lot of time going on walks at the park, playing in the sprinklers in our yard and playing games together. 
Once, when we were about 10 years old, we were playing a card game for family night where everyone is dealt a few cards with different things or activities on them.  One person is “it” and then everyone else in the group has to pick one card that they think the person who is “it” would like the most.  We were able to play this game by helping the boys point to or look at the card they wanted to pick.  So when McKay was “it”, we were reading off the cards we had picked for him so that he could choose his favorite.  One of the cards said “nail polish” and we figured out that that was the card Alex had picked for McKay.  Alex thought it was so funny.  He always had a really good sense of humor.
We loved going to Disneyland as a family, and Alex’s favorite part was The Tiki Room.  Much to my annoyance, we would often sit through the little show at The Tiki Room two or three times in a row.  I guess he liked it because it was so colorful and happy.  Looking back, it seems to fit his personality.  Alex also loved visiting Nauvoo, Moab, Salt Lake City, and Oregon, especially the Tillamook Cheese Factory and the coast.
Since we lived in Boston, Alex loved the Boston Red Sox and anything to do with baseball.  He also loved watching Blue’s Clues, Music & the Spoken Word, Psych, Sesame Street, especially Cookie Monster, and The Price is Right.  Alex used The Price is Right to his advantage quite a lot.  When we were little, he wouldn’t eat unless The Price is Right was on, even on Thanksgiving.  Just a month or two ago, our friends Chad and Curtis took the boys to the dentist, and they told us Alex wouldn’t open his mouth to get his teeth cleaned until they told him he could watch as much Price is Right as he wanted when they got home.
Even though Alex was pretty tricky and mischievous, (we called him “Havoc Boy”) he really had a love for the gospel.  He was one of those people who you could just see his testimony of the gospel in his eyes.  He loved going to church, the temple, and seminary.  And he loved anything to do with prophets.  He was always close to the spirit.
When Alex was a little older, about 12-13, he started having more and more health problems.  He had to get a feeding tube instead of eating by mouth, and more recently he needed oxygen to help him breath better.  Even through all of these challenges, Alex was still one of the happiest, most optimistic people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  We were able to visit Hawaii through the Make-A-Wish program a couple of years ago, and even though Alex was sick for a lot of that trip, we still have many great memories and pictures of him grinning from ear to ear on the beautiful beaches in Hawaii.
Alex touched the lives of many doctors, nurses, friends, and family members.  It’s safe to say that really anyone who met Alex was impacted by his cheerful, sweet soul.
I recently read the novel, “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger.  I often use words in books when I don’t know how to put together my own words, and so I would like to share this quote from “Peace Like a River” with you.  “Though battered in his appearance, the man moved with Spirit.  He was like one going to his King, having served to his deepest ability.  He was almost running.”

I know that while he was here, Alex changed lives.  He had just the right body to do the work here that God wanted him to do.  He truly served to his deepest ability, and I am so thankful that we were able to spend time with him and see what an incredible young man he was.  I can hardly wait for the glorious reunion that we will have in Heaven someday.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Allison's Talk: 
Thank you all for coming to celebrate Alex’s life with our family. 

For the past nearly 17 years I have had the privilege of being Alexander, McKay, and Abby’s mother.  It has been so fun to be a triplet mom!  They have filled my life with wonder and joy.  The first thing I’d like to do today is to thank those who have helped me mother them over the years.  We have been blessed to have the help and friendship of several wonderful women who have helped me care for them.  They have eased my burden of care, filled our home with love and laughter, and been sisters to me as they have served our family.  I love them and am so grateful for them.  I am also grateful for the multitude of wonderful teachers, aides, and health professionals that have taken care of Alex and McKay.  We think that through them we meet the most wonderful people in the world.

Now, I speak to you today of the reality of God and the blessing of the Atonement of the Savior.  Alex always had a tender heart when it came to things of the Spirit.  Todd and I have tried to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to our children and I know that Alex knew it was true.  He loved it when we read scriptures, when we talked or sang about prophets, when we prayed, and when we went as a family to the temple to perform baptisms and confirmations for the dead.  He loved to “stand” in holy places!  I know that he had a testimony that the gospel is true; that he knew that he had a Savior who provided him with comfort to withstand his trials. 

Our little family is very happy.  We know we are blessed to have each other.  But over the years we have all had many sleepless nights of sorrow and pain and many days of worry and care.  I had one such day about 4 -1/2 years ago.   It was a few weeks before Christmas and McKay had been in Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake for several days.  I was melancholy.  I wanted to be home with everyone else preparing for Christmas.  I was weary of being at hospitals all the time and of seeing both of my boys suffer.  Our family had been through much tribulation that year, and unbeknownst to me, much more was to come.  As McKay slept, the idle thought crossed my mind:  “Does God really love us?”  Nearly immediately a host of memories came to my mind of the tender mercies and outright miracles our family has experienced.  I knew that God loves us and even in my annoyance at yet another stay in the hospital, I could not deny that I have felt his love in specific and palpable ways. 

A few minutes later, however, the still, small but distinct voice of the Holy Ghost spoke to me:  “You know God loves you.  The real question is, Do you love Him?”  My quick answer was, “Of course I do.”  But the moment asked for more from me.  I knew that this was where the “rubber hits the road,” so to speak.  I stopped to really think.  I counted my blessings.  I remembered times of holiness and healing in hospital rooms and at home.  I recalled many specific instances when my soul was anguished but when I received an abundance of comfort and peace.  I reflected on the joy I have in knowing that I am a daughter of God, that I have a Savior, and that I know that we will all someday be resurrected and that our physical bodies will be perfected.  I realized anew that I do, indeed, truly love God.  With all my heart, mind, and soul I love Him and thank Him for the beauty and grace of my life. 

I know that Jesus Christ once walked on the earth and that while he was here he taught his gospel.  I know that gospel has been restored to the earth.  I know that in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross my Savior and yours suffered for our sins and also for our sorrows.  I don’t know exactly how the eternal mechanics of this works, but I know it does.  This knowledge has brought power and peace to my life.

And today, I stand before you to testify that I still love God and I still know that he lives and that He loves me.

 I have had the privilege of associating with angels – one of whom was Alex.  He loved me and cared for my soul very tenderly.  I testify that Alex was on God’s errand here on earth.  The spirit witnessed to me in a very special way many years ago that Alex, McKay and Abby came to earth together for a reason, and that God had given each of them the body they would need to perform the mission that He had in mind for them.  Through the trials and experiences Alex faced, his soul was purified and refined.  He was always sweet and full of goodness, but as he grew up and endured many surgeries and illnesses, I saw him mature in multiple ways.

Although he couldn’t speak, all who knew him could tell that he had a brilliant mind.  I sensed that his understanding of the gospel grew over time and that he was competent in things of the Spirit.  I also sensed that he grew in wisdom and compassion.  I believe that he was being prepared, through a unique set of circumstances, to serve the Lord in specific ways in this life and the next.  The Spirit has testified to me that this is true, even as I write this talk.

Several months ago as I was pondering the eventuality of Alex’s passing on to the next life I had the thought that when I get to heaven I know I will be a little rough around the edges and will have things to work on.  But I knew in that moment that Alex was completely ready.  I could picture him in my mind – straight and tall, striding right up to Jesus and, with his cheerful voice, big smile, and steady manner, simply asking, “What do you do need me to do now?”  He has received the priesthood of God in this life and is ready to exercise it fully in the next.  He will be a great leader – he has a terrific sense of humor and is humble, compassionate, understanding, kind, and wise.

I testify that he is in a glorious place.  I testify that I will always be his mother.  I know that through the covenants Todd and I made in the temple 20 years ago our family will be together forever.  I love my Heavenly Father and I am so grateful that he is patient with me.  I am grateful for the hope I have of eternal life through the blessing of the Atonement of my Savior.

Ever since Alex was a young child he has loved choral music.  He looked forward to Sundays when he would watch episodes of Music and the Spoken Word featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Lloyd Newell and Mack Wilberg and Shane Warby were his version of rock stars.  We kept some of his favorite episodes on our DVR for years.  I remember that several years ago Abby made him a certificate for the accomplishment of watching 10 episodes on a single Sunday.  We are so grateful for all those who have gathered to sing for Alexander today.  It is truly an honor to him.

The choir will sing “Pilgrim Song.”  The words to this song are inspirational and sum up the truths of the gospel that Alex knew.  In closing, I would like to read the words of the song to you so that as you listen to the beautiful music you will understand why we chose this song for today.

My brethren, I have found a land that doth abound
With fruit as sweet as honey
The more I eat, I find, the more I am inclined
To shout and sing hosanna

My soul doth long to go where I may fully know
The glory of my Savior
And as I pass along
I’ll sing the Christian song
I’m going to live forever

Perhaps you think me wild, or simple as a child
I am a child of glory
I am born from above, my soul is filled with love
I love to tell the story

My soul doth long to go where I may fully know
The glory of my Savior
And as I pass along
I’ll sing the Christian song
I’m going to live forever

My soul now sits and sings
And practices its wings and contemplates the hour
When the messenger shall say
“Come quit this house of clay, and with bright angels tower”

My soul doth long to go where I may fully know
The glory of my Savior
And as I pass along
I’ll sing the Christian song
I’m going to live forever

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.