Sunday, March 28, 2021

Losing Loved Ones at Easter Time

I got a sad phone call from our good friend, Anatole, who is from Ukraine but now lives in Tasmania.  His beloved wife, Galya, has passed away after a long struggle with cancer.  My thoughts went back to the first time we met Anatole.  It was on the Sea of Galilee in Israel, where Anatole's son, Alex, was working on a "Jesus boat."  We had never met a Russian before, so we struck up conversation and immediately became friends.  We corresponded with Anatole for 10 years before visiting him and Galya in Ukraine, and then having them visit us on our farm in Alberta.

Anatole had a fairly good command of English, and Galya knew some, but could speak very little English.  We, of course, knew no Russian other than a few words our daughter Heather, who had lived in Russia for a time, had taught us.  I remember a particularly fun day.  I told Anatole that I was taking Galya to Lethbridge to go shopping.  He asked if he should go along as interpreter.  I told him that we would be fine.  And what a fun day we had!  Lots of sign language, along with Galya's few English words, and my very few Russian words, and we had a great day of shopping!  We chattered away to each other, knowing the other didn't understand anything we were saying, but we connected as women.  That is a fun memory.

Now Galya has passed to the next life.  And we've also learned that LeRon's cousin, Marlene, recently passed away due to Covid.  Sad times for those left behind.  But with all the sadness is the hope of the resurrection.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that because Jesus died and was resurrected, we will live again too.  That is such a comfort, especially in times of loss.

Today is Palm Sunday, the start of the Holy Week, sometimes called "The Greatest Week in History."  It's the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding a donkey as kings once did.  People laid their coats on the ground, making a carpet for the donkey to tread, and they waved palm branches as Jesus rode by.  "Hosanna," they cried, meaning "Save us."  

Two of our sons, Michael, and Eric, were in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday a few years ago.  They joined the throngs of Christians of all denominations, singing joyously as they waved palm branches and entered Jerusalem in remembrance of events of more than 2000 years ago.  There was a feeling of excitement and joy as the love of Jesus united them.  They both took pictures and if I can ever get hold of them, I'll send the link for them.

Our very energetic 95-year old church president, Russell M. Nelson, has asked us to "make this coming week truly holy by remembering -- not just the palms that were waved . . . but by remembering the palms of His hands" which were wounded for us.  This short video is full of hope and peace.  President Nelson is one very optimistic man!

So to Anatole and family, and to Marlene's husband, Del, and family, and to all who mourn, we send our witness that the resurrection is real, and that families can truly be together forever through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  May you find peace this Easter week.


  1. Thanks be to God for the gift of his beloved son... wasn't that what Pres. Hinckley always said...

  2. Love to get your updates! Yes, what a wonderful message and assurance of hope because of our Savior. So grateful for his Atonement and the opportunity to celebrate with other Christians His victory over sin and death. Have a tremendous week! Love you both!