The hardest part about being here – is not being there. We knew things would go on without us, but never would I have thought that in the 5 months we’ve been here, things would happen as they have. I think the biggest concern we had, coming to Portugal, was that Rick’s Grannie would pass away. But, we are so happy that she is doing well (as well as can be expected with her Alzheimers) and that we will be able to see her again. But, at home in Mapleton, things have been different. Serving in the church gives you “attachments” to others in an interesting way. Although you may not be “best friends” with a person, when you care about someone through service you have a special place in your heart for them.
One of those people was Brenda Allsop, who passed away recently. She had been ill (with cancer and arthritis – I still cannot pronounce what she had) for many years. In fact, the whole time we’ve lived in Utah, her body suffered. I think because she had been ill for so long, I assumed she would always be here fighting her illness. Another sister in our ward, June Shurtliff, also just passed away. June was just so cute. An elderly woman with a lot of spunk. I just loved her. I will never forget the conversation I had with her after seeing a picture of her sitting on her night stand. It was her, in her younger days (maybe in her 50’s), and she was a little “plump”. Now, the June I always knew was very thin & frail. So, when I saw this picture I was quite surprised. She said “I spent my entire life trying different things to lose weight – diet, exercise, Weight Watchers – and never could keep it off – and look at me now – I can’t keep it on”. We had a good laugh. Shortly after that conversation she had gained a little weight because they fed her so well at “Jamestown”. I will miss her. And lastly, Brother Nemelka. Devastating. We will definitely miss him and his energy. To receive this news was overwhelming. Although David was much older than me, I figured he’d outlive all of us – because he was “Brother Nemelka”. Our family had a strong attachment to him because he was so good to our kids – Devan, especially. He always told me that Devan reminded him of him when he was a kid. We “boarded” our horse on the Nemelka property and he would teach Devan, over the years, about taking care of a horse, and having a good work ethic. There are no words to express the shock and sadness we feel about what happened.
Although these are the times when it is hard to be away from home (a true “homesickness” – not just a whiney “I’m craving In and Out”), and we know that life will be different for many when we get home, we also know that this is where we were supposed to be for right now.