Dear Sister Bell,
Remember us? The Young family? We’re the ones with the not-so-reverent kids who sat on the bench next to you in sacrament meeting every Sunday for four years. We haven’t seen you for a year or two now since we moved, but we still remember you well—even our little ones. You probably remember Benjamin. Remember when I told you one Sunday that Benjamin had asked us that week if Sister Bell was the tooth fairy? You always had such a sweet smile for us, and my children did not know many elderly people in Pocatello. Benjamin’s guess seemed very logical to me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately. You see, I’ve had a tough few months with my health. First it was a chronic, lingering exhaustion with a few other weird symptoms. We finally got that diagnosed as mononucleosis. Then, last week, I had sinus surgery, which has been harrowing to say the least. My recovery from both of these things has been very difficult and uncomfortable. At times I have cried out to God desperately in search of some peace.
At these times I think about you. I know that you have extreme pain from your arthritis. I know that you have it every single day, and that you had it all the years that we knew you, and probably many years before that. I watched you hobble into church with your cane and your beautiful smile. It was several months before I dared ask you how you were feeling each Sunday, because I already knew you were always in pain, and I didn’t want you to have to talk about it if you didn’t want to. You never lied (and I appreciate that), but you always managed to sort of wave off the subject and ask me about myself instead.
These long weeks that I have been so uncomfortable I have thought about the daily battle you had with pain. You did not have, as I do, the prospect that you would get relief in a matter of weeks or months. Your only release, you knew, was death. How did you continue to smile? Where did you get your peaceful spirit, moment to moment? How did you manage to live, instead of wishing your time away until you could be released, as I find myself doing?
I just wanted to tell you again that you blessed our lives, and are still blessing mine every time I think of you. I hope you are finding beautiful moments of peace and joy in spite of your pain. I hope that I can become like you, with your radiant face full of gratitude and love instead of impatience and self-concern. Thank you for your sweet example.
Love, Darlene Young