President Monson in the final session of the October 1974 conference spoke about his spiritual “hall of fame” and asked us to consider who would have a place in that list. President Monson listed spiritual giants suh as Adam, Paul, Ruth, and of course the savior himself. But he also spoke of a missionary he knew who had provided a righteous example for his non-member father when he served a mission.
President Monson’s talk led me to reflect on those who had touched my life and shaped my spiritual journey. I thought about inspired friends who shared kind words and sent down prayers from heaven. I thought about ancestors who had survived unspeakable horror and yet remained unjaded in the face of sorrow. I thought of relatives who raised children to remain true and faithful to the Gospel despite incredibly trying circumstances. There are so many that I admire.
But above all for me stands my mother. This week marked 11 years since she passed away from cancer. And so I reflected again on the example she left for me. I thought about the unconditional love I always felt from her. She sacrificed a very profitable career in order to be able to dedicate herself fully to raising me. She gave me her everything. She inspired me to be believe in God and showed me the most inspiring example of faith. Her life was not necessarily glamorous by the standards of the world, but it is sanctified in my eyes.
She was not a perfect person. As I got older I learned of mistakes she had made and of personal failings. Yet, despite those flaws, I will forever praise her name for giving so fully of herself to me. Eleven years later, I miss her smile and her warm embrace. I still long for the day when I will be able to embrace her again and tell her how grateful I am for all that she did for me.