We woke up to a phone call from a good friend of ours who is in charge of the Polish page our church publishes. She asked about the Perpetual Education Fund and its reach. She then said: "You know that the President died, don't you." I thought she meant that our Branch president had died. I don't know exactly how I figured it out, but eventually President Hinckley's name came out and I didn't know how to react. It was inevitable, but there were many times when it would have been so much less of a shock for me. I remembered that I didn't get to listen to his last talk. That was all I seemed to be concerned with for the longest time. I didn't get to hear him speak that last time. A man I never met but from whom I felt so much love.
Later in the day Ashley surprised us both when before one of Anna's meals while she said the prayer she was overcome with emotion while thanking God for his life and service. What a good wife, yes, but how many lives will feel his loss. Praise to the Man who communed with Jehovah.
I thought about the great leaders that I have known in my life and how they have inspired me, and simply because they were at the helm, more people got more things done and loved one another deeper. It was only then that I realized how powerful his leadership was. One of the greatest periods in the history of our Church has come to an end, and I'm glad to have been conscious of it.
What a great role he played even before his presidency. I wish that I could recount all the times I had witness born to me that this man was not alone in his call, and that God was with him. He was so strengthened from above.
I pray that President Monson will be so strengthened. I can't say what high hopes I have for the new first Presidency. It is a bit presumptuous to say that President Monson will be our new prophet, as that isn't guaranteed, but its a short hand from likelihood. A friend proposed that President Monson's approach will change when he is prophet, and I wonder, but I look forward to his presidency regardless. There are few shoes that will be harder to fill.
Our prayers are with him and President Hinckley's Family.