Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Tribute with Gratitude.

As some of you may already know, my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away last Thursday.This experience has been exhausting and grueling, but nevertheless surprisingly uplifting.

I never quite grasped the magnitude of influence this man has had on people until we were faced with his passing. Dennis's dad (Dennis Sr) was truly a man of God. He had a genuine care and liking for children, the elderly, and less fortunate people. He tirelessly served people in his community and was especially drawn towards widows. Dennis and I had the opportunity last weekend to meet and dine with a 92-year-old widow named Lenore. Lenore took to Dennis Sr and was greatly saddened by his death. She told us that he “treated me so well.” She was precious and I couldn’t help but feel sorrow for her loss. The weekend of his death I was amazed at the amount of flowers, meals and visits the Blackburn family received. There was countless stories of Dennis Sr’s gracious love towards people in the community. People loved him and were devastated with the news.

He and his wife had just been called to be mission presidents a couple weeks prior to his death. They had become close to Elder Robert D. Hales through the years while meeting with him occasionally to discuss mission plans. We were honored and fortunate to have Elder Hales speak at his funeral. The service was inspiring. I believe everyone at the funeral was influenced to be a better person.

Through this all, the most astonishing part was my husband. Dennis was resilient, strong and faithful. Not once did he question God or portray anger. Instead, he and his family clung to the Gospel and demonstrated nothing but love and service towards each other. They are examples of truly devoted family members.

I am so grateful for my husband. I have been blessed beyond belief to have him in my life. This experience has brought us significantly closer while my love for him as increased twofold. With the Thanksgiving Holiday tomorrow, I encourage all of us to be more grateful, more selfless, more forgiving and more humble as we reflect on our blessings. Never take any relationship for granted and tell those you love how grateful you are to have them in your lives.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.


Anna said...

Thinking of you guys, hope your doing well.
love you!

The Neilson Family said...

Ashley that was amazing! Once again I am truly sorry for your loss. I hope you and Dennis grow closer through this trying time with one another. Heavenly Father has a greater plan and we have that blessing in knowing we will be with him once again. Love you!

laura n. said...

what a sweet post ash. we are thinking of you guys and are so proud of the great example that you are. love you love you....and miss you. xo.

Carlee said...

Great post Ash... I'm thankful to have great friends in my life who have tremendous strength and married well:)) love the Blackburns. Let's get together next week?

Ashley and Ezra said...

Ash, Im so sorry for your loss... your post is so strong and inspiring! Im so thankful to have a friend like you who can always see the good in everything around her! I love you, and stay strong for your hubbie!

Krista said...

so sorry about your loss.
thank goodness for the plan of salvation huh?!
i bet dennis is grateful to have you by his side.

Amy E. Campbell said...

What a wonderful tribute to Dennis Sr., he sounds like an amazing man. I'm so sorry about his passing. My love goes out to you, Dennis and the rest of the Blackburns.