Things have been rough for me since last night.

Let me warn you up front. I am very tenderhearted and sensitive.

At around 17:00, my mother called to tell my my 65-year old uncle was in the hospital with some (virulent) form of pneumonia and was not expected to make it through the night.

I made the mistake of turning the news on at 18:00 just to find out that Dan Wheldon had died in a horrific car crash while racing in Las Vegas. Then I saw the racers tributes and started losing control. I totally lost control when they played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes over the intercom system at the track during the tribute.

Barely under control, my cell phone rang again. I knew who it was and what they were going to say without looking at the phone.

Around 18:30 my mother called to tell me my uncle had died.

He had Huntington's Disease and had declined to the state of total incapacitation - except that he was cognitive of what was going on around him.

My aunt had put him in a nursing home last month. On Saturday she sent an e-mail update. Apparently no one had been to visit him and she made an impassioned plea for us to go see him at least once. I wanted to see him one more time. I was trying to work out when and how since he was so far away from me and in a part of the DC area that I am extremely uncomfortable driving (to the point of panic attacks) but I wanted to see him.

Obviously that did not happen.

In addition to grief, I felt guilt because I had not gone to visit him before he passed.

Three things helping me through are:

I read a talk by Elder David A Bednar titled The Tender Mercies of the Lord.

I received a priesthood blessing of comfort after that. (Then i read the talk again.)

Our Heavenly Father's Plan - especially the promise that "We Can Live with God Again" so some day I will see my uncle again.

Actually, there is another thing that helped. My uncle is back to his normal self now. He is no longer incapacitated.

It almost seems ironic (but there are no coincidences when it comes to the ways of the Lord) that my sudden passion to do family history work came when it did.

I need to contemplate whether or not to share my testimony about our Heavenly Father's plan with my aunt (who is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). And if so, I need to pray for the Holy Ghost to guide me as I write her (and my cousin still living with her) about it.

In the meantime, I have a funeral to attend on Friday night and graveside services to attend Saturday morning.

I was sobbing like child last night. I was in and out of tears at work until I had enough focus to do some tasks waiting for me. And though I am not distracted now, I am feeling at peace.

My uncle is well. He's happy to be normal again. The Lord has sent me His peace.

I'm sure there will be more tears in the coming days, but I will still have His peace.
 
 
Followup to "Malachi 4: 5-6"

I did meet with my bishop on Tuesday. I did tell him I want to help out with the family history program. He was very happy and asked if I'd even be willing to hold a class with the youth soon. He wants them to have names of their ancestors to take to the temple when they do baptisms (and confirmations) for the dead.

There is some irony here though. (And not just the fact that pubic speaking still triggers some level of a panic attack.) I mentioned Elder Ian S. Ardern's talk "A Time to Prepare" wherein he counsels us about the wise use of our time and expressed concern that today's technology is leading too many people to be busy but not productive - having time master us instead as it should be, we mastering our time.

Since "The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn," each time I go to the church websites for family history, I end up spending many hours looking around for my ancestors and seeing what other features there are of the site.  Though I need to do so if I am to help others in my congregation (ward) use the technology, I don' think Elder Ardern meant that it was OK to spend hours upon hours upon hours even on something of worth pursuit as family history.

Yet I am so excited to see these tools and eager to pick up where the younger of my 2 brothers has left off. Speaking of which, I need to ask him for at least copies of the family trees he created back in the days before these things were done via technology, so that I can build my tree and see about getting names ready for submission to the temple. It would be so neat if some of the youth did the baptisms and confirmations for them.

There are other things of that matter more that I need to work on. I am struggling to find out which ones I should focus on first and then fit them into a schedule that I must create so that I don't spend my entire evening internet city building. (I do not do internet farming and I do not fling angry birds into concrete walls to waste my time. It's city building thing that does it.)

Still, the fire remains lit. I want to do my family history and I want to help the youth and adults in my ward (or even stake if need by) do their family history with the wonderful technology the church has for this worthy pursuit.

I just need the Lord's help to know what it is I should do and say in this pursuit.

(Full entries on the "A Time to Prepare" and "It is Better to Look Up" still coming.)
 
 
So General Conference:

First quick comments:
    As usual, President Uchtdorf's talk (You Matter to Him) seemed meant for me because right now I STILL need to be reminded that God has not forgotten me. (Click here for the video or here for the text.)

    That said, his talk wasn't the one that struck me the most. Two addresses do that.
        The first talk is A Time to Prepare, (video - for text version, click here) by Elder Ian S. Ardern.
        The second talk is It is Better to Look Up, (video - for text version, click here) by Elder Carl B. Cook

I will write idividual entries for these talks later.

Something strange happened to me in the past week, and I'll blame it on Elder Bednar's talk "The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn" (video - for text version, click here). I am now zealous to pursue my family history work. More than that, however, is I very much want to help the adults in my ward (or stake even) who may be intimidated by or unfamiliar with technology. Elder Bednar specifically asked the youth to do so, but I want to do so as well. In fact, ideally I'd like to work with the youth and then team with them to help those who are less technologically savvy.

I was so excited that I went to look at the church's resources for family history work - including the one Elder Bednar mentioned that is for the youth - and spent far more hours than I intended or even had the time to spend.

(Go to https://new.familysearch.org/ to discover your family tree and https://familysearch.org/ to discover your family records)

I have a meeting planned with my bishop tonight to talk about something else, but I do plan to offer my help in working with those whith less technology knowledge when we meet.

I just can't believe how excited I am about this. I have never been this excited. It's probably a good thing. The brother who was doing all of our family history work has not touched it, as far as I can tell, in years. My other brother was working on our father's line (since we have very little information) but I'm not sure how much time he has now with his new job often him keeping late.

I hope I can keep this fire burning.