This world is not my home; I’m just a passing through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue,
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore. –Jim Reeves
Four days ago, with all of us by his side, Elder Richard LaFleur passed on from this life and into his new life with the Lord. For us, it doesn’t feel real and we wish we could open our eyes and everything go back to normal. So many of us could draw you maps of the hospitals from memory and introduce you to most of the nurses and staff. We remember that day. We remember it all.
The last few days have been traumatic. It hurts beyond words. We are still processing what has happened and what is happening. For over 30 years, Elder had what he called “rough patches”, but he always managed to come out on top, and we would all once again breathe easy and give God thanks.
Please bear with us as we say our hardest goodbye to the man who gave us unconditional love that we could walk in confidence, fight the good fight, and finish our course as he did. We are so grateful that our family was together–surrounding him throughout all of this–a hand never leaving his side. For us, lines are blurred between what others see as family and what was family to him. He loved so many people.
We were all his family.
Death comes in many forms. It’s anything lost. It’s an absence that creates a deep homesickness for what’s gone. We will miss him, our conversations with him, his prayers, his hugs, and his teachings. He was smart, hilarious, and razor sharp. We will find strength to be happy again because he left us in a good place. We have a ministry that will take us the rest of the way home. We have each other.
Elder, our lives are forever changed. Our hearts, torn.
We will keep walking on this path together until we all get home, where Elder LaFleur is waiting for us.
God, please please help us today.