"Thanks to Jesus, death is a comma and not a period" (Elder Maxwell) as well as, "In order to take the mourning out of death is to take love out of life."
I thought both of these thoughts were fitting for how I have felt over the past six days. Even with all the planning that goes into a funeral, life has slowed down a bit and I've had many more quiet moments to reflect and pray.
Losing Tony temporarily in this life has been the most difficult thing I have experienced so far. And as everyone who has lost someone close due to a terminal disease has told me, even with the time you have to "prepare" and come to peace and acceptance about it, there is no way to be fully prepared for it. That is most definitely true.
I'll have time in the months to come to really dig down deep and share all the thoughts zooming through my head. But these two are some of the most important that I have continued to learn this past week:
-Because of Jesus Christ, and only because of Him, death is a comma. Without Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness and the Atonement of Christ, we would all die and cease to exist. This life would be in vain and would have no true purpose. I know without a single doubt in my mind that Tony and I will be reunited together again as one, with our precious children and all the family we love so dearly. Even though Tony is no longer here with me physically, I will forever remain his wife and he will always be my husband, and together we will raise our children in light and truth. The gratitude I have for my Savior has increased exponentially as I recognize the hole in my heart and know that it will be pieced together again through the Atonement and the Resurrection. And how great our joy will be as Tony and I can walk hand in hand again one day and kneel at the feet of our Savior and weep with tears of gratitude. All the pain and heartache will be worth its cost, and Christ will bare more than His share for me in the many years to come. We are all so loved.
-Grief is essential to our spirits, just as much as love is. There have been moments where the grief seems unbearable, where I want to cry out in pain as I feel my chest collapsing in sorrow. That's how it feels to me, and I hate when it comes crashing in. But I am thankful for this deep emotion as it's a reminder of how deeply I love Tony, how full and enriching our marriage is, how we were really able to connect "as one" over the past decade. I would do it all over again a thousand times to be with him forever. I will welcome the grief to continue to have all this love. We will be together again, and until then, I never want to forget how Tony makes me feel as a wife, mother, and above all, a daughter of God.
Thank you to everyone who continues to reach out to my family and me. I'm overwhelmed and grateful for all the love and support, and within time, hope to respond to all the beautiful and comforting words that have been written to me. Sometimes there are no words and a hug can make all the difference. Thank you.
Here is Tony's obituary for those who are interested in information about his services this weekend:
Daryl Anthony Means, also known as Tony, age 31, of Orem, passed away on December 2, 2016 (glioblastoma brain cancer). He was born December 29, 1984, in Orem, Utah to Daryl Von Means and Sharese Thompson Means. Tony married his eternal companion, Erica Alyse Kendall Means on June 8, 2007 in the Nauvoo LDS Temple.
Tony completed his bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University in health education and pursued a career teaching seminary for the LDS church at Orem High from 2012-2016. His passion for the gospel, his Savior and his students impacted hundreds of lives while teaching. Movies, music, camping, and anything Scottish filled his time but above all, spending his days with his family was his favorite pastime. Being a husband and father was his top priority in all he did.
Tony is survived by his wife (Erica Means) and children (Daryl Landon, Emma Alyse, Lily Kendall, Sophie Mae, Tanner Fielding, Amelia Rose, and soon to join the family, Caleb Anthony); by his father (Daryl Von Means); his sister (Lindsey Rebecca Means); his brother (Andrew Warner Means). He was proceeded in death by his mother (Sharese Thompson Means).
Funeral services will be held Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 11 a.m. in the Northridge Stake Chapel, 1660 N 200 W, Orem, Utah. A viewing for friends and family will be held Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the church as well as Saturday morning from 9-10:30 a.m. Burial will be in the Orem City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers you may donate to Huntsman Cancer Institute’s elephant and cancer research at huntsmancancer.org/donate and indicate the gift is for Dr. Schiffman’s lab in the notes section of the online donation form.