If you know me at all. Scratch that, even if you don't know me, but just read my blog - You know that the Willow Canyon Ward is my second family.
If you know anything about me or my journey - You know that my church calling saved me from a terribly dark life.
There were 2 of us in charge of that life-saving calling. Me - because of my loud, over-bearing need to be friends with everyone. And Diana - because of the way she made the people around her feel comfortable and good about themselves.
It's weird. You know? My whole high school/college career, I was lost. And I was lost surrounded by my best friends and the people I had associated with my whole life. And it's weird to me, that I found myself in a ward full of people I would have never been friends with in high school. And it's a strange experience how close you grow to the people who are there when you start to reach your potential. You know how they say this church brings a power of unity? I never felt that until I became a part of this ward. I have never felt so unified to people in my life. It was so easy to attend all my church meetings and every activity during the week, because I was doing it with the people I viewed as my brothers and sisters. The spirit creates this unique bond with people, you didn't even have with your best friends.
(Here are some of my "family members" at my wedding. Talk about support).
I felt so…uneasy…when I learned that one of my family members had passed on in her sleep. And I couldn't help but pray for my ward-family. And the second I was done praying, I felt - almost jealous of her - that she gets to be in a place we spend our whole lives trying to return to. She gets to be with our Father in Heaven, and our Wonderful Savior, in a place that only knows happiness.
How lucky am I? How lucky is my ward-family? To have a knowledge of His Plan of Salvation. It REALLY is a plan of perfect happiness, and I feel so blessed to KNOW, without any doubt, that I will see the people I love most again. I feel such overwhelming joy, that my blissfully happy life with my sweet husband will never come to an end. I am so grateful that I will get to laugh my head off with my family for a period of time that will never cease to exist. My life would be much darker if I thought this was the only place I would get to see them.
I am especially grateful today for my brother's decision to serve a mission. His life is good. His life is easy. He has best friends that have been loyal to him since he was in Jr. High. He has a job that he loves and gives him more than enough money to be comfortable. He goes to dances, and concerts, and is constantly having fun. It would be so easy for him to stay here and enjoy this easy-going life he has come to love. But instead, he is deciding to leave that all behind, and give up the easiness of his life to make other people's lives easier. I can't imagine the miserable feeling I would constantly have in the pit of my stomach, if I thought I would never see the people closest to me again. I am so grateful that my brother is going to be able to make their burdens a whole lot lighter, and give them the same knowledge that has kept me going all these years. I love him, I'm proud of him, and I look up to him more than I ever have.
(Diana and my sweet mother).
Diana was always happy and always glowing, every single time I was around her - which ended up being A LOT the past few years. She was confident and easy to be around, and people were drawn that that. People wanted to be around her. And people looked at her and wanted to be as happy as she was. This is what hit me the hardest. She spent her life making the people around her feel loved, and good enough, and comfortable, and better. When she left this earth, she left A LOT OF PEOPLE who adored her. More people than I probably even remotely know. What I learned is that I want to live a life that is so full of light, that people miss me as much as they miss Diana. I want to live a life that is so blissfully happy, that people look at me and want to be around me so they can be as happy as I am. Mostly, I want to live my life in a way that make people want to be better, and that makes people FEEL better.
I have no doubt in my mind that Diana is making the Heavens laugh their heads off right now, and I am so happy that she is in a place we can't even dream about.
'Til we meet again, Diana!