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.