I am the founder and principal administrator of a Facebook group dedicated to the "20th century" Mormon ward (congregation) in which I grew up from about 1965 to 1982 (in other words, from about age 9 until I got married, with breaks for out-of-state university study and a Mormon mission). Over a hundred people are part of the group, many of whom I grew up with. I will spare you, gentle reader, my sorrows at discovering just how many of my old pals and church acquaintances are in the thrall of Trumpian right-wingitude, as I want to talk about something else in this post.

The 20th century page seems to have two primary functions at the moment: sharing pictures of the Good Old Days and announcing deaths. One recently-announced death was of someone from my generational cohort, a man in his early 60s. What I have found—what, a little ironic? sad?—are the voices of those who have chimed in to express their sorrow and to praise Sam (not his real name=NRN) as a great guy. It's too bad that they didn't think that at the time we were all teenagers: Sam's dad, who served as the ward bishop (lay pastor) for much of my adolescence, once asked me to please make a special effort to be kind to Sam. (He wasn't asking me to do so because I was mean to Sam, but because I seemed to be among the kinder kids in the ward when it came to befriending or at least not tormenting outcasts. That may be because while I was never tormented, I was certainly not part of the tight clique of the most popular kids—but I digress.)

I have no idea how well I succeeded, nor even if I made much of an effort, in being kind to Sam. But some of his most unkind tormentors are the ones who seem most vocal about sharing their fond memories. I am only extremely thankful that Sam found someone to love who loved him, and that he seemed to have a happy marriage and family life.

For all this digression, it is the latest death that prompts this (too-rare) post. My mother left a voicemail yesterday telling me that a former member of the ward, and one of my parents' dear friends (one-half of a couple with whom they traveled quite a bit in their younger days) had died. This was not entirely unexpected: Lucy (NRN) had been doing poorly for a long time, and she and her husband only recently moved into an assisted living place not far from their home in SW Utah. As group admin, it fell to me to announce her passing.

I knew Lucy as a teenager, she being charged at one point with hauling us girls around to various stake (diocesan) basketball and volleyball games. We called her "Mama Gort" (I have no idea why), and we were Gort's Warts. She was a good sport and full of vigorous enthusiasm, and I am certainly not the only one who has very fond memories of her. I am grateful that while I was visiting my parents a few weeks ago, I had the chance to see Lucy on one of her last truly good days: she was lucid, fairly mobile, and seemingly not in a lot of pain (which obviously might have had to do with painkillers, given her disintegrating spinal column).

Anyway, when I called my mom back to find out a bit more, she told me that my dad and Lucy's husband had given her a blessing the day before in which they "released her from this life." I do not know the exact wording of the blessing, though I know of other blessings in which sufferers are "sealed up unto death." While I am no longer a religious person and have a hefty degree of skepticism about all of this, there is a part of me that likes to think that Lucy, unconscious as she was at the time, nonetheless heard those words and finally could let go. She was such a believer, you see, right up until she took her last breath.

May she rest in peace, and may her husband and family and friends be comforted.