President Petersen is going to die.
When the summer comes again, and I am eating ice cream and laughing with friends beneath the glittering canopy of kerr lanterns, his wife will be a widow, bearing the cross that no mortal hand can lift.
And when I am taking my babies to the rodeo, to watch the cowboys ride and the cowgirls wave, he will be beyond the veil, with knowledge and understanding of those things you always wonder about, but can never bear to fully contemplate.
Today he bore his final testimony before us, the stake he has served so faithfully. His words were of optimism, and of joy. He spoke of the things he has tried to teach us over the years. His most emphatic point: “We are going to make it.”
He assured us that the good lives we are living will seal us to our Father as if we have our election made sure. He told us “we are made of the good stuff.”
He bore his testimony of the witness through the Spirit that he had of the Savior. He assured us that he is a defender of the faith.
And all I could think about was the journey he is about to take – the joy and the bitterness all in the same moment. When my baby is 50, with children and maybe grandchildren of his own, President Petersen will be a faded memory to the world, with few recalling that he ever did live.
But I imagine the Savior won’t forget, and I imagine his testimony will seal the work of his life and open the gates of exaltation to him and his posterity.
And I think that is the reason I felt so honored to be a part of our meetings today.