This morning I had the privilege of going to Francis Lawlor’s farewell and celebration of life, as he passed away on the last day of February at the age of 96, and his family and friends were there to offer their condolences to his family, and to celebrate with them his life and mission here on earth.
I had gone to his 96th birthday celebration here in February, and rejoiced with him at being able to still send out e-mails, some of which I have shared with you, and we rejoiced together with his family then, at being able to share my poems with them, through him, on a regular basis, but now I won’t be able to do that.
This morning when I awakened, I thought about singing a special song at his funeral, which I had written some years ago, and my dear sister had put it to music, and it was beautiful. So that is what I did. It was just before the Branch President over the retirement center where Francis and his wife lived, was to speak, and I didn’t know if I could do that, so I prayed for strength and determination to see it through, and as a result was able to sing that for Francis and his family and friends, and it came to me, that it was the first time that Francis could hear the poem I had written, since for the last few years he had not been able to hear a thing. And now he could hear perfectly.
Afterwards, I thought about sharing an experience which my dear grandfather, who was a Stake Patriarch, had when he was asked to speak at a man’s funeral some years ago when he was in his 80’s, and he had promised him that he would be glad to do so providing that Heavenly Father allowed him to live that long. About a month later, he received a call from the man’s daughter that her father had died, and she wanted him to come and fulfill his commitment which he had made to her dying father, so she came and picked him up and took him to the funeral.
When it came his turn to speak, he told of how the man had stopped him on the street and asked him to speak at his funeral, and told him he didn’t have long to live, and would he tell something good about him if he could think of anything to say.
Then he stood and began his talk, and then just stood there for a couple of moments, as if he was seeing something, and after that he began to speak, and said to those in attendance, that he had been given a vision of the Spirit World and where there were people there who had come to bid him farewell before he departed to this world, and songs were sung, and talks were given, and people rejoiced and some wept, because he was leaving the to fulfill his mission here on earth, and he asked them to covenant with him that when he had finished his mission here on earth, that they all would be at his farewell here, to bid him goodbye, and to wish him well.
Then Grandpa Woodbury looked around at the audience who had come to bid him farewell, and told them that every one of them, including the choir director and the members of the choir were there in the Spirit World, and had made covenants with him then, that they would all be here to bid him farewell upon the completion of his mission here, and because they were all in attendance, Grandpa told them that they each had fulfilled that commitment and promise by being there, and were thus released from their promise which they had made to him years ago.
Then Grandpa Woodbury made a statement to them, telling them that that is how it is, that when one is ready to depart heaven to come to earth to fulfill their mission here, that loved ones meet, and talks are given, and choirs sing songs, and bid farewell to their departing brother or sister, because they love them dearly, and will miss them there.
Anyway, since I only was given three minutes to share my song with them and with Francis, I had to stick to what I was given to share, and only afterwards was allowed to share it with Francis’ brother and his wife, telling them that they had fulfilled their promise and commitment which they had made to Francis before he left the Spirit World, and they and I rejoiced that they had been able to be there to experience what I had experienced, a beautiful tribute to a very spiritual giant of the Lord, Francis Lawler.
My dear friends and family, I want to share those words with you today, and wish that I could sing them to you, as the music adds so much to the words. But alas, I can’t, but here they are. Have a wonderful day, and know that you are loved. Your friend and brother