“Nearly sixty years have gone since my mother passed away. At the time I was a university student. I have forgotten much of what I was studying then, but he memories of those last months of my mother’s life remain ever green, as do the memories of earlier years. I hope she knew that I loved her. I did not say so very often. Like most boys, it was not easy for me to speak those words.
She died in the early harvest season of her life. Her youngest child was ten, old enough that Mother had come into a freedom she had not known for many years. She was on a journey in Europe when she felt the pain that frightened her. Six months later she was gone.
I recall the gray November day of her funeral. We put on a front of bravery and fought back the tears. But inside, the wounds were deep and painful. That experience, at a sensitive season of my life, has, I hope given me a deeper understanding of all who lose a mother.
I was called on a mission shortly after that. It was in the depths of the Great Depression. Few missionaries were called at the time because of distressing financial circumstances all over the world. I had saved a few dollars, my brother worked and contributed generously, and my father carried the major burden. But something else made it all possible. We discovered that my mother, with prescient foresight, had nurtured a savings account with the small coins she received in change when buying groceries. This money provided the balance needed for my expenses in what was then the costliest mission in the world.
For me, the money was sacred. I felt it been consecrated not so much for me as for the Lord. I hope I was careful in its expenditure.
I experienced times of discouragement on my mission, as does every missionary. On an occasion or two, when the clouds were particularly dark, I felt in a very real but indescribable way the protecting, guiding, encouraging influence of my mother. She seemed very close. I tried then, as I have tried since, to so conduct my life and perform my duty as to bring honor to her name. I am the first to concede that I may not always have done so, and the thought of living beneath my mother’s expectations has been painful, and has afforded a discipline that otherwise might have been lacking.”
(The Wondrous Power of a Mother, booklet, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989, pp. 1-2.)