thoughts on "gone"

I keep a private blog that serves as my personal journal. The two blogs are very much different, this one being a document of my charming life with the husband and other such ramblings, my other blog, much more private and personal; the place i record my deepest of thoughts and secrets and experiences. the two often cross paths, same experiences documented in different ways. I'm glad I have that blog where I can write out my feelings without worrying about what they mean or how they were said (or how bad my grammar and spelling are) or what anyone will think. But today I'm breaking that bind and sharing some snippets of a recent post on my "journal blog".

this is different for me, knowing it might be read by others.
this is me truly wearing my heart on my sleeve.

dec. 21st, 2010
thoughts on "gone"

two sundays ago I dragged Brandon out of our comfy warm bed and made us go to a music fireside put on by members of our stake. To be honest I was dragging myself as well. Neither of us wanted to go, really. And since it was by no way required of us to be there, we very well could have stayed home. But I felt very strongly we needed to go. So go we did. This music performance took place at the Provo Tabernacle, just a few blocks from our home, so we walked. Walking around downtown Provo has become one of our favorite dates. Sometimes we walk and talk. More often than not, we just walk and observe. We love the old buildings and landmarks around our home. They all very much played a part in us choosing to live here. We feel the place chose us. Anyway, like I said, we walked arm in arm, to the tabernacle for this Christmas Performance. We sat in the back, and had a whole pew to ourselves. It wasn't full, in fact, there might have been more people performing than watching. We sat and we listened to beautiful Christmas music being sung. We even joined in on a few verses. We listened to the talented orchestra and made funny faces at the babies in rows ahead of us. We noted the stained glass windows and the lovely sea-foam green wallpaper. We felt the spirit, it was strong.

We left happier. Not that laughing-kind of happy, but the full heart kind. The kind that doesn't just change you in the moment, but changes a part of you for good. Without giving it a second thought we went on with our lives, which is the only expected thing to do. It was finals week, my birthday, my best friends wedding. things got busy. I forgot that feeling. I forgot the peace that changed my heart and softened my spirits.

I forgot it until I heard early friday Morning that the tabernacle was on fire. Brandon and I spent most of the day in Salt Lake at a wedding. When we finally got home that night, Brandon suggested we walk over to see the Tabernacle, which was still in flames after a whole days attempt at putting it out.

Once again, we walked the route, arms linked, to the tabernacle. Tears filled my eyes as we neared the site. It looked like a bomb had hit it.

I couldn't stop crying, but I didn't want to leave. We stayed for about 2 hours. Watching with many others, watching it burn. We didn't communicate but we both knew when it was time to leave. When we got home Brandon held me and let me cry. I was confused by my own reaction. I know I'm an emotional person, but I didn't understand why I felt so lost by the matter. That night in our prayers we thanked God for the blessing we had to be at the tabernacle just a few days before the fire. I now knew it was God who dragged us out of bed.

Just like the time before, we went on with our lives. Things got busy, as they always do, and we found other things to occupy our thoughts. But I was still in a somber mood. When sunday came we made our typical trip to my parents home in Orem for dinner. Brandon's Grandparents live in my parents neighborhood. I grew up thinking B's grandpa "Papa Ned" was Santa, since he looked the part and always played him at the ward parties. I feel so blessed that I married into such an amazing family. We love visiting with B's grandparents and hearing about their lives and the wonderful adventures they've had.

We passed the road to his house on the way to my parents and I had the most curious thought, "you might have to miss work tomorrow morning to visit Papa Ned in the hospital." It was so curious in fact that I didn't mention it to Brandon. After all, I am a dramatic thinker, and my mood had been so morbid lately that as curious as the thought was, it didn't entirely surprise me, knowing very well my wild imagination. Again the thought came to me and I got frustrated. At the very moment I was going to tell Brandon what my crazy mind had just thought up, he said "we really need to visit my grandparents soon." "Yes we do" I replied. And my imagination was satisfied.

That night we got a call from Brandon's parents, Papa Ned had had a stroke and was in the hospital. My curious thoughts from before now made sense. I knew it was a prompting from the spirit.

Brandon and I got down on our knees, held each other and said a prayer for Papa's health, thanking God for the spirit in our lives. We went to visit him that night but he was sleeping, so we left a note. The next day, we found him awake. I kissed his face and held his hand as we talked about everything and anything. He has led one heck of a life, and I feel honored to be a part of his great legacy.

Once again, we left happier. The kind of happy that changes you.

Perhaps the Tabernacle fire and Papa Ned's stroke are unrelated. But I can't ignore how similar my feelings were for both. I have never lost a loved one in my life. In fact, I've never been to a funeral. I know that wont be the case for ever, that in the next decade many of my extended family will leave this mortal life. However I do have a strong testimony of the Plan of Salvation. I know that deaths in this life are only of a physical nature, that just like the picture of Christ, saved from the Tabernacle Fire reminds us, there is so much more than right now. That through the Atonement of Christ, "gone forever" doesn't exist. That we truly can be with our families and loved ones forever. I also have a testimony that God is preparing us for whatever lies ahead. He gives us promptings through the spirit that if followed, will bless us.

I feel blessed to have been at the tabernacle one last time.
I feel blessed to have spent time with loved ones.
I feel blessed to be spending christmas eve at with family, chatting it up with Papa Ned.

Life has a funny way of happening to us.
I am thankful for each experience.
and I know God plays a hand in every corner of it.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas. I hope it's spent with people you love most. And I hope you take the time to remember why we celebrate Christmas.


all photos by me


  1. thanks for sharing this...

    i may have cried a little bit.

    i hope your papa feels better soon. :)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing!! I lost two young boys in an accident this week and have been feeling rather blue. I loved your thoughts on "gone". Thank you so much for helping me feel a little better!!

  3. oh claire this was beautiful. and can i let you in on a little secret (i cried too!!) i browsed several photos online and i couldn't believe it. my heart hurt for a piece of architecture. interesting..

    but i am so glad you were able to experience a last concert there. and i hope you grandpapa will recover soon. :)

  4. I enjoy stopping by your blog on occasion while nursing my wee babe. Enjoyed this post so much. I had know idea the tabernacle burned down till I read it. The house we own in Provo is near by and I had good memories there as well.