1) The story surrounding our move from Colorado to Southern Nevada began as I was riding in a car pool from our home in Broomfield to Longmont where I was working. I was reading the May Ensign 1983 Conference talks, and as I read Elder Monson’s talk entitled “Anonymous” I became overwhelmed with the emotion for this man who had sacrificed his life to save all the others he could before perishing himself. And as I thought about that sacrifice, and the comments by Elder Monson I had it come into my mind that we needed to move to Las Vegas.
Now to put that into perspective for you, at the time I considered Las Vegas as the last place I would ever want to live. To me it was just on the other side of where ever Satan lived. So this was not good news to me, but I felt I had received direct revelation from God, for some unknown reason to me, that we should move. This came as a tremendous shock to your Mom, who wondered who I was and what had I done with her husband?
From a work perspective I was kind of on a track towards a beginning level of management at STC. They seemed to like me, and I was doing pretty good. My salary was great, much better than I had had just 4 years previously with Western Area Power, we lived in a beautiful place and a fine new home. So from a Worldly, personal, and even immediate family perspective, there was no reason .I would want to move.
But move we were going to do, so I began making some inquires about jobs and took two job hunting trips to try and find a job in the Las Vegas area. I was considering anything, even the dreaded “sales” type of jobs. As had been my luck every time I had ever looked for a job, the market was very flat, and lots of competition for positions. Why would a company in Las Vegas want to hire me when there were lots of engineers already there? I eventually began looking at possible positions even back with the Federal Government. Eventually I found a position to apply for at Hoover Dam back with the Bureau of Reclamation. I just had a phone interview for the position. I learned later that they had selected another person, but he got a better offer somewhere else and declined the position. So I got the job. Some times the Lord needs you in a certain place and by faith you go, not knowing before hand why. At least this time I was listening, and obeyed the still small voice.
We had our house on the market, but again the housing market was slow and it didn’t sell before we had to move. We moved in with your Grandma Stewart and were blessed with a very mild, rain free winter when a lot of our stuff was stacked around on her back patio. There were hardships in the move. My new job paid much less than the one I had left, we did find a nice house in Henderson, but for 9 months had double house payments until ours sold in Colorado. That took a number of years to recover from financially. But then it never was about the money, was it.
Within two weeks of our arriving in Las Vegas, Erma got sick and we were there to help.
You kids don’t really remember much about your Grandma Stewart, but she was a very special lady. All of her life she helped others. If someone needed her to come help, she was there. I think this was one of those tender mercies that the Lord provides his faithful saints to say thank you for a job well done and returning some charity to one who gave it so freely. You should look forward to meeting her again as will I.
This is the part of the story Elder Monson told in his talk:
“A year ago last winter, a modern jetliner faltered after takeoff and plunged into the icy Potomac River. Acts of bravery and feats of heroism were in evidence that day, the most dramatic of which was one witnessed by the pilot of a rescue helicopter. The rescue rope was lowered to a struggling survivor. Rather than grasping the lifeline to safety, the man tied the line to another, who was then lifted to safety. The rope was lowered again, and yet another was saved. Five were rescued from the icy waters. Among them was not found the anonymous hero. Unknown by name, “he left the vivid air signed with his honor.” (Stephen Spender, “I think continually of those—” in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, ed. James Dalton Morrison, New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, p. 291.)”
2) You also asked about the circumstances of a blessing I gave to my Mother just a short while before her passing away.
Mom had been sick for a while. She had a congestive heart failure condition. She had one a couple years previously and was in a nursing home for a while recovering from that, but eventually got better and was able to come back home and resume her functions, but it really slowed her down, and the congestion began again. This was a little more than she could take mentally and I believe she gave up. She turned over all the budgeting and care of the home to Dad and would just sit, not wanting to read or watch TV. She had always enjoyed laughing, and had a great smile, but that went also. I know it had to be very hard on Dad, and we got a glimpse of that later, after he passed away and Dean and I had to go to California and close our all their accounts and put the house up for sale. But as to Mom, she eventually was placed back in a nursing home and slept most of the time and slipped into a shallow coma I assume. I went to visit, and I did twice a year when they were both well, and then more frequently after she got sick.
It was in early May of 1992 I had flown into the Sacramento Airport, rented a car and drove to Modesto. I visited her with Dad in the hospital over the next few days, spent time with Dad at home, and then had to leave. I am sure Dad knew she wasn’t doing well, but he never wanted to talk about those sorts of things, and I didn’t want to press. As I was leaving town, I stopped by at the hospital alone to say good bye to my mother. I just knew that she wasn’t going to recover and felt I needed to give her a blessing so she could quietly return to her loving Father in Heaven. So in the quiet of her private room, as she lay sleeping, I laid my hands upon her head and released her from any blessing that may be keeping her from returning home. It was a special experience I will never forget. It was a very hard thing to do to let her go, but it was the best thing for her progress. I didn’t share this with my Dad. I am not sure how he would have felt about it, but I knew it was right from the promptings of the spirit. She passed away within two weeks, actually on Christi’s birthday.
My Dad loved my Mom very much and I think that was just more than he could take losing her. He passed away 10 months later. They are now sealed together, and I hope and pray they have accepted the gospel and the sealing that Dean and I did for them in the Chicago Temple in 1995.