The Come, Follow Me lesson for October 21-27, 2019 invites families to consider how we can “comfort ourselves or someone else when a loved one passes away.” What follows is a personal account by Sister Yolanda Bennett of how she was guided by the promptings of the Holy Ghost to be with and help her family.
Prompted by the Holy Ghost
Earlier this year, I had made plans to visit my mother in Peru for her 90th birthday celebration in December. It would be possible for my husband to come with me. Instead, I began having thoughts that I should switch my travel plans and visit her for Mother’s Day. At first I thought it was just my desire to see my mother for Mother’s Day, and it would not work for me to go at that time.
The thought kept coming, though, that I should try to go earlier. One of the biggest problems I faced in making such a change was my work schedule—there simply was not enough time to give adequate notice. Also, my husband was not able to accompany me, so I was a little concerned about travelling to Peru on my own. Still, I offered up prayers to Heavenly Father that, if it were possible, a way would open up for me to go.
I decided to phone and leave a message for my supervisor. She was usually not easily available. That morning I prayed for help. To my surprise, she answered the phone. As I started to tell her why I was calling, she didn’t even listen to everything I had planned to say. Instead, she just said: “Yolanda, Go!” I could take the required time off work.
My next challenge was to book my flight. Last minute flights are very expensive. A friend advised me on which booking schedule had better rates, and I was able to book my flight within two days. Everything had worked out very quickly so that I was able to travel to Peru and visit my family. I only had 2 ½ days to pack and prepare, but I did it.
Blessings of Family and of Comfort
I arrived in Peru and had some good visits with my mother and family members. I am one of eight siblings, and we enjoyed our time together. My mother has only partial vision due to diabetes, and she also has poor hearing. One of our family activities is to sing together. One of our favorites is a Spanish song that is similar to “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” (Children’s Songbook, 60). All of the family would sing, “Jesus wants me for a …“ then wait until mother would sing the word “sunbeam.” We would sit by her and hold her hand, kiss her, and generally share affection.
About a week after I had arrived, my mother passed away unexpectedly at home. Because I live in Alberta, Canada, I always knew that it might not be possible to be with my mother when she passed away. I had prayed for a long time that in the event of her death, I would remember the plan of salvation. It seemed Heavenly Father remembered this for me when I needed His strength. Heavenly Father has promised us: “I will not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16).
Some of my siblings are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they asked how I was so calm and not overly emotional. It took me about two days to realize that my feelings were peaceful because I understood and had faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice. As I wrote messages to my children, the comfort and knowledge of the plan of salvation came to my mind directly.
The custom in Peru is always to have the burial the day after a person’s passing. I knew that if I were home in Alberta, I would not have been able to visit with my mother for the last few days of her life. It would also have been impossible for me to have even attended her funeral. I was guided by the Holy Ghost to be available for this experience with my mother and assist in her funeral service. One of my sisters was in Utah attending a funeral, but she was able to fly quickly to join us. She along with another sister, a niece, and myself had the special blessing of being able to help dress my mother for her burial. We experienced a “multitude of [God’s] tender mercies”
Families Can Be United Eternally
As expressed in the hymn “Families Can Be Together Forever” (Hymns, 300), I know that I will see my mother again. I have faith in the Resurrection and the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ.
My decision to visit my mother earlier than planned was guided by the Holy Ghost. I know that if we listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we can be helped. The Holy Ghost is a great gift that we have as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I am so thankful to my mom for accepting the missionaries to come into our house about 50 years ago. I was only 12 years old when I listened to the missionary discussions. At first it was difficult for me to understand all that they were teaching. My testimony, however, has grown with each passing year. Now, I am so thankful for being a member of the restored Church of Jesus Christ. Being part of the Church gives me many opportunities and comforts. I cannot imagine my life without my testimony, without the Church, without the members. I’m so thankful to my family here in Canada. They are everything to me. The good example of my husband and my kids helps me to be a better person. Their strength and love keeps me alive. I love the scriptures. I love my leaders. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.