I dunno. I have so many thoughts on the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, I don't even know where to begin.
"Let's start at the very beginning; a very good place to start"
I went to the Conference Center on Friday Feb. 1 to see Hinckleys viewing, I went between school and work. They tried to wrap it inside the building so we wouldn't be out in the cold, but the line got so long it wrapped around the Conference Center. This is the first time they've had a prophets funeral/viewing in the Conference Center.
I was there around 11am til 12:30pm. I stood outside in line until 11:30am or so and then I waited inside in line for another half hour, and then like a half hour on the actual floor he was on. He was on the third floor? In the Hall of Prophets room. Up there I passed a bouquet of flowers that were from his 62 great grandkids, and before entering the room there was another one from his 25 Grandkids and then in the room was all the flowers an' stuff from his 5 children.
I went to ask the times and just walk by on Thursday morning, I realize now, that I should've gone to see him Thursday. But he said I couldn't take my backpack (which is like my life right now) Plus, I was in jeans and didn't feel that was appropriate. I could've just walked in and right back out pritti much on Thursday. Oh well. So, I stood in line behind a young couple with their first baby. The baby stared at me. I didn't go with anyone so I just... had a lot of time to think (instead of talk). I mostly hummed songs to myself. The one that kept coming back into my humming was "Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings" and "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" Then I remembered that Gob be With You was the Prophets favorite song, besides Danny Boy.
Anyways, I really tried to ...comprehend what was going to happen in the next hour or two. But it just didn't click. I stared at the puplit he was at so many times and tried to comprehend that he wouldn't be there anymore. I stared at his seat next to his counselors and tried again. I just couldn't do it. I tried so hard, my mind kind of went a lil' whack and the only thing that kept me going in the line was to follow the couple in front of me the whole time. They knew where they were going, I was following blindly trying to prepare myself.
It didn't really hit me so much until I saw the bonquet and remembered that he was a grandfather, father, son and husband. I saw the oil paintings and stuff of all the prophets as we passed and again was reminded he wasn't just a prophet at the doorway. I saw his men surrounding the casket and I thought of his body guards and figgered they were glad he didn't die in a derastic way on their watch.
I first saw the bottom of the casket closed and then I realized the other end was open. Silly me, I should've thought about that part. I don't know why that didn't cross my mind. So I kinda had...a shock. It's silly. I mean I knew I was going to see him, thats the purpose of going, so maybe it'll help me comprehend the truth, but it was still a shock. So many things ran through my mind.
I thought about all my friends that couldn't be there and/or wanted to. I thought about Natalie, Jordan, James, and Kirri mostly. In my mind and in my heart I told the prophet they said "hi" to him. He said "Tell them I love them too" I felt stupid that I couldn't..communicate the message I wanted to (cuz of shock), and I was right there, my one and only chance to give him a message it felt like. But he knew what my heart was saying and so he said 'I love you' back.
I noticed all the white first. I saw his white temple clothes that he's prolly been in so many times by now. I saw his face and thought I never got to see that face up close, I only saw pictures and on TV. I looked at his hands and saw his big gold ring on his finger and I remembered when he spoke he always had that finger pointing/shaking. Then I looked at his hands, mostly the one he shook hands with. I saw how old and frail they were and thought about that fact that I have never shook his hand and I've lived in Utah all my life. I thought about how many hands he's shook in his lifetime and in how many countries...
I cheated. I looked around to see how I was supposed react. I watched the couple in front of me, since I was copying everything they were doing anyway. The girl was crying and I couldn't help myself I started crying to. As I was walking away I saw the top of his head and the perfect like...white line of hair to match everything he was wearing and surrounded by. I thought of him in heaven with his wife with that glowing light about him. I smiled. I really am happy for him, but at the same time I'm sad for me.
As I was walking away I realized this one thought that kept repeating in my mind:
"He's all I've ever known - as far as prophets. He was there when I needed him most - my teenage years. He's all I've ever known and he's gone."
I cried walking on the way back to work. I wore my bright yellow skirt. It reminded me of happiness and somehow the prophet. I put on my hood and walked away crying. I felt...normal crying. Like everyone saw that I had a skirt and walked away from Temple Square and knew what was wrong with me. It just...seemed normal.
Because I'm sick I haven't felt like eating for a long time, but now I felt hungry, so I stopped by Subway and got a sandwhich. And then I went to work and we discussed deceased people. Ralph said he wants to be cremated ASAP. I wondered what would happen to his business if he died before he retired. Sad day. I told them I don't comprehend what's going on until I see a body.
Then Saturday morning (today) I watched Hinckley's funeral. It felt like General Conference in January. I liked it, I just wish it was more..personal..for those people - the relatives/friends who spoke. They didn't have to reveal like Hinckleys personal life, just..reveal how -they- felt about it with...real emotions and not something they wrote down and are currently reading.
For example, if that was my father up there I wouldn't be up there giving a formal speach "The President Hinckley was a great inspiration in my life...etc" I would be like blubbering "My daddy! He..taught me everything! He was always there! He taught me to ride a bike and held me when I was sick and taught me how to drive" and blah blah. I mean, I AM happy for the man, it was about time...but still. I know they were happy for him too, but seriously, there is -some- sadness there, and neither emotion calls for 'professionalism' or being formal.... Sigh. Anyways.
I did learn a lot though. I recalled the story of his oak tree he planted long ago and one day it died and he had them make it into, what now is the puplit in the Conference Center. They recalled his love of gardening, pruning, and planting. They even showed video of him going to the woodshop place to see how his tree was being made into a giant puplit. They also said that when President Hunter died and Hinckley knew he was next in line for prophet, the news/media couldn't find him they learned he was in his orchard working mostly and that he planted an oak tree that very day.
When they spoke some of them told of the things he said to them, the humor, the wisdom, the solemn moments, the optimism. One guy actually went through most of the prophets and said what "came to mind" when they thought of that certain prophet. Like President Kimball he thought cuz he was always warning people "beware of pride". So I got to thinkin about what I would remember Hinckley as, besides the first one I've ever known. I came up with the Prophet of Miracles. I was thinkin a lot about the temples he put up while he was alive though. He could be the prophet of the temples mostly, that would have a deeper meaning to me. Anyways...
I think he was the second most influential prophet since Joseph Smith. And he was "my" prophet. That made me feel good. The speakers gave lots of poems that described Hinckley and I realized that usually you think of those type of poems to -relate- to someone or a poem that 'reminds' you of someone, but the prophet he really WAS those poems. Ya know? Like the "Live life to the fullest" He DID that, he didn't go half way, he actually did it. Living with faith, living with full trust in the Lord, living with no debt, living with complete devotion and unconditional love for his wife. He didn't just remind us of that, he WAS that. Anyways.... Just a thought.
I was glad that they recognized that us 'younger' kids were young enough that he was the only prophet we knew. I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking "He's all I've ever known". I didn't know exactly what they were talkin about sometimes but I recognized a lot of 7's. 7 generations, 7 decades, 70 temples (or more) and 97 years old. Lots of things happened to him in 7's. I like the number 7.
At school we were talking about how we all ended up at LDSBC. Most of them knew relatives that went there before them. I didn't know Patsy went there until after I started. Most of us haven't even heard of it and we lived in Utah. The out-of-staters thought we were crazy we didn't know about the school. So in other words, we were all mislead by people thinkin it was a good school. heh
Anyways, I recalled seeing/hearing the prophets voice on the TV and looking to see the news and Gordon B. Hinckley there with LDSBC sign over his head. They had just relocated and the prophet was rededicating the school. Mum from there said I should go to that college. I just saw it on TV and intrigued cuz the prophet thought it was that important to rededicate it. With the prophets influence and mom's persistence, here I am, at LDSBC. Longing for the day I can leave....
Okay, back to the funeral... They mentioned how much he missed his wife. "I would be lost without her, even in the next world, and I hope that she would be just as lost without me" He's a hopeless romantic. What a relationship. I also learned that he wanted to live for the day that there were 100 temples on the earth. He put up like 75 or so while here which altogether made well over a hundred temples. Most of them were done after the year 2000. A great BOOM of temples exploded over all the world. I love it!
This might sound silly, but I didn't know the prophet had cancer. I didn't realize that his wife had died in 2004 and later on he battled with cancer for another miraculous 2 years of survival. I didn't know he was suffering and had thoughts that ..normal people with cancer had. Pleading with God to take them less painfully, pleading because they are slightly fearful of what will happen until then. Normal thoughts that terminal ill patients have when dying. I knew his body was old and going fast, but I didn't realize he had cancer on top of that. He did die of old age though.
I thought it was kinda..funny that he in a way just, didn't care about his funeral and what would happen after he died. But he also had particulars about his funeral if they 'must' happen. Like having the funeral an hour and fifteen minutes exactly and no more. I'm sure he even ordered the snow today.
They had like 20 thousand people in the Conference Center, they had the Tabernacle for an overflow and they didn't need to use it. They had Mike Leavitt (used to be Governor) come to represent the White House (aka President of the United States). Of course, they had translators all over the world, and people there from many countries. They had it broadcast over every continent, at least 98% of the world. I wonder how Monson feels right now... I wonder how it feels to try to be as influential or something greater than the one who preceded you. Monson said Hinckley was a "gaint" of a man. One of those great men that come around once in awhile.
Well, the prophet died, of natural causes, on Sunday January 31, 2008 around 7pm at home with his family around. His legacy has been on the news all week long. He's had his week of rememberance I suppose. I guess it's time to say goodbye.
I love you Gordon B. Hinckley. I will always remember as you 'my' prophet and my first one to influence me in the church. In my eyes, you were just as courageous and influential as Joseph Smith, the prophet I am most grateful for. I will miss your humor and your enthusiasm. I will miss the cane you wave and never used. I won't forget the cracking in your voice when you spoke. I will never forget the love you had for your wife. I will never forget the goals you had and fulfilled in your lifetime. You are truly an inspiration to me, esp when it comes to temples and family. I love you and will always remember you! You will always be the prophet of miracles in my eyes.
And now it's time...to move on to another prophet...The church still continues on.