Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Anna Iola Evans Sanders

When we left on our mission to Africa we left behind our aged mothers - aged but in good health. You always worry about what you will miss being gone on a mission for 18 mo.

This week I was notified that my mother had fallen and was deteriorating rapidly. The last few days have been sorrowful, joyful, tender and sweet. I have seen miracles happen. I have seen a brother who not so long ago struggled with his own relationship with his Father in Heaven bless my mother with peace and tranquility for her last hours here on earth. I have seen my children band together and bond in a sweet collaboration of caring for their grandmother in their mother's absence.

I had thought first that I must quickly find a flight back home to help with my mother's care and be a part of this experience but after much prayer and contemplation I realized I should stay in Africa.

I remembered when I left Utah my mother, suffering from dementia, struggled to make sense of all that was happening with us leaving and going to the other side of the world. Our last goodbyes were sweet as her mind cleared and she very firmly hugged us and told us to go and enjoy our experience. She would try to be there when we got back but she was 90 yrs old so she wasn't making any promises. She confirmed what my heart had already known telling us she supported us fully and wanted us to go and have this mission experience. She told us not to worry about her, that she would be just fine. All this was said with a very clear mind and without any hesitation.

I remembered all of this as I made the decision not to return home for her final hours on earth. It was the right decision, I knew it at the time and I have had it reaffirmed now that she has gone.

I have monitored her care and kept my own vigil through our SKYPE connection. This morning as I had full view of her bed and was observing her breathing, I was chatting away with Nathan who had come to sit with his grandma. My other children had left the room. Very peacefully her breathing just stopped and together Nathan and I witnessed her departure from her earthly body. Sweet . . tender . . . peaceful.

I feel so blessed to have witnessed this departure. I feel blessed by my children who have shown such sweet tender mercy to their grandmother. I feel a boundless love and gratitude for my brothers who have sustained my mother, watched over her and cared for her in my absence.

I am grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who guides us, directs us, teaches us and refines us as we strive to get through this life in a manner that will be pleasing to Him.

Thank you my sweet family for your tender mercies. Thank you for loving my mother. Thank you for loving me. And mom, thank you for loving me also.

Anna Iola Evans Sanders
Nov 15, 1915 - Sept 2, 2008


Angela said...

Beautifully said

Spice Girl said...

Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you and your family. Full heart...tears of joy for reunions and sadness for separation.


Jess said...

Sister Barlow, (Marilyn) -
Just wanted to say hello, my mom told me you had a blogspot about your mission. It is great to see all you are doing, what an amazing time for the two of you!! It would be great to see you when you return. I would love to keep in touch with you. I really loved you as a young women leader. Your lessons were always amazing and heartfelt. I look forward to seeing you when you come back.

Melissa said...

You are such a great example of incredible strength and unmovable faith. What a beautiful post. Thinking of you.
Melissa & Marcus Tye

Lori Ann said...

I just wanted to tell you that I loved your mom and dad and have many fond memories of them. Carrie told me of your blog today at the funeral and I wanted to share that with my mom who can't access many blogs in Myanmar. I hope that it is okay that I copied and pasted it to an email to her. Much love from all the Merkley's. Love, Lori Ann

Tandy said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Your mom must have been an amazing person to raise such a remarkable woman, one of my very favorite people. :) My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Emma said...

Imiss you and her

Aimee said...

Farrell and Marilyn,

I am so sorry for your loss. Matt and I went to the viewing on Thursday evening and your mom looked beautiful. Seriously, I was so impressed!

Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.


Matt and Aimee