Chapter 14, The Funeral

Lorna’s funeral was held in the Alpine West Stake Center on Saturday, August 30, 2014.

Michael Gillespie (bishop of the Alpine Third Ward) and I can tell you that Lorna was involved in the planning of her funeral service. The music, the order of the speakers, the scripture printed on her program, her fingerprints–all were on it.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown
Of righteousness, which the Lord,
The righteous judge, shall
Give me at that day:
And not to me only, but unto all them
Also that love his appearing.

Lorna was particular as to the hymns and other songs that were to be sung.

Opening Hymn
“Our Saviors Love”
Musical Number, Grandchildren
“I Feel My Saviors Love”
Musical Number, Friends
Oh Lord, My Redeemer”
Closing Hymn
I Know that My Redeemer Lives”

As the closing song began, Ken Cordner of the Alpine West Stake presidency leaned over to me and said, “Perfect.”

On June 9, 2013, The Alpine West Stake was convened for a stake conference–a special stake conference. President Conrad Gottfredson was going to be released, and a new stake president was going to be sustained. At 10:30 that Sunday morning, shortly after Blaine Butler was sustained as our new stake president, Lorna wrote the following in the Notes app on her phone.

Lorna's Journal June 9, 2013 @ 10:30am

God is our Father in heaven. I know God lives. I know that somehow He knows who I am. He knows my weaknesses, my strengths, my successes, my failures, and he doesn’t keep score. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. He is my advocate with the Father. I have experienced both the redeeming and enabling power of the Atonement. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today. I have a testimony of the temple and the power it has to change and mold our character when we attend regularly.

Katie found this note on her phone the day after the funeral. She wasn’t preparing a lesson or getting ready for a talk. It is what she felt and knew that Sunday morning in June, fourteen months before she passed away.

She used the lyrics of the hymns sung at her funeral to bear her witness of the Savior, and what she had already experienced, in a clear and unmistakable way.

The other musical number was Homeward Bound”, sung by Jason Baumgartner. Lorna had accompanied Jason in several musical numbers throughout the years. The lyrics are as follows:

Homeward Bound

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing
And the sky is clear and red,
When the summers ceased its gleaming,
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure’s lost its meaning
I’ll be homeward bound in time.
Bind me not to the pasture,
Chain me not to the plow,
Set me free to find my calling
And I’ll return to you somehow.
If you find it’s me you’re missing
If your hoping I’ll return
To you thoughts, I’ll soon be listening,
In the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing
As my journey nears its end,
And the path I’ll be retracing,
When I’m homeward bound again.
Bind me not to the pasture.
Chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling,
And I’ll return to you somehow
In the quiet misty morning
When the moon has gone to bed.
When the sparrows stop their singing,
I’ll be homeward bound again.

The message from the lyrics of “Homeward Bound” were clear: “Don’t bind me to the pasture, don’t chain me to the plow, set me free to find my calling. I’ll return to you somehow.”

Debbie Goodman , Family Friend

I arrived early at the chapel where Lorna’s viewing and funeral were to be held. The thought of viewing her body was making me apprehensive and sad. As we entered the room, my husband and I saw many friends that we hadn’t seen in several years. After visiting with them and some of Lorna’s children, I walked up to the casket. Lorna looked peaceful and beautiful, but my sweet friend was not there. I felt empty inside so moved quickly away to sit in a chair. Shortly thereafter, we moved into the chapel, where the funeral was to take place. It was a surprise to me to see how full the room already was, and eventually we seated ourselves on the first row of the back section.

Tearfully, I listened to the organ music and contemplated the unexpected loss of my best friend. This just seemed too much to bear. Lorna was a light to her family and friends, and her dying at such a relatively young age was devastating to me.

The audience began to stand as the casket, followed by the family, slowly entered the room. As tears flowed like a river down my face, I looked at her casket and her sweet family left behind. Suddenly I felt a distinct warmth enter the left side of my chest and slowly spread across. It was a powerful feeling, and at that moment I absolutely knew that Lorna was standing right beside me and telling me she loved me. I had never felt anything like that before. It was the sweetest experience, and the realization of what it was made me sob that much harder! The funeral was beautiful, the speakers eloquent, and the Spirit strong. I look forward to seeing my beautiful friend again.

After the funeral, Holly Toolson, who sang in the quartet, sent me a note. Lorna and Holly had sung duets together in church services.

I know that Lorna was helping me when we sang for her funeral. After shaking, and feeling (and being) very emotional through the whole funeral, I was a mess before we got up to sing. I knew that there was no way I would get through the song, and I knew Lorna knew me well enough to know that.

I prayed through the whole funeral for emotional control. There were many times when Lorna and I sang together when I would choke up, and she would have to sing on without me until I gained composure–she was always so sweet. I don’t think she wanted it to happen that day. As you were speaking, I said in my mind, ”Okay Lorna, if you don’t want me to cry through this, you need to help me out.”

The moment I stood up with the others to sing, I felt calm and serene. I made it through the whole song. I was able to sing without choking up. I remember looking at the music and thinking, “ wow, we are almost done! I’m going to make it,” Lorna helped me. I can see her sweet smile and hear her encouraging words.