I was reading the December issue of the New Era this afternoon when I came upon the article “The Forgotten Sabbath.” Tears gathered in my eyes as I read through it. You see, the story was familiar. The name was not the same, but all the circumstances were. The patient referred to as Mrs. Whitmer in the story is, I’m quite certain, my mother, Anna Christensen Whitney.
I am the youngest of the ten children she raised. I am 16 now and was 14 at the time of the story. I would like to share with you a little more of my mother’s story and finish it for you, if I may.
The Sunday she went to church at the LDS Hospital was the first time in a long while that she had been able to attend. She had been bedridden for approximately three months before entering the hospital. My father, sister, and I had just arrived in Orem the night before. My sister and I hadn’t seen mom for about six weeks because we had been in Nevada finishing up the packing. We were moving to Utah so that mom could get better medical care.
I remember visiting her there in the hospital. I was weary from the long trip the night before, but it felt so good just to see her and talk to her. Needless to say, she was pretty tickled to see us too. However, illness had weakened her considerably, and she looked very frail. She talked about a certain nurse that had become special to her and had helped her attend church that morning. She told us this nurse’s name was Janalee, and we remembered it because it was so close to the name of my sister Annalee. Mom also shared with us her simple but powerful testimony of Christ, and she told us how grateful she was to be able to attend church and partake of the sacrament. As it turned out, that Sunday was the next-to-last time she was able to renew her covenants with the Lord.
In about a week she was able to come to our new home in Orem. She was still bedridden, and we had to be her nurses, but it was just good to have mom home again. To pass the time she worked on her life history and updated the genealogy books, making sure all were in order.
She began her radiation treatments at Utah Valley Hospital soon after arriving home. Her stretcher wouldn’t fit through the narrow hallway from the bedroom, so we had to lift her through the window in the bedroom. We had a good laugh one day when someone forgot to open the window and we tried to put her through the glass.
Then came another blow. The doctors discovered she had a broken hip along with her bone cancer and arthritis. She was scheduled for hip surgery, but she was still so weak that the doctors were dubious that she would take the operation well.
Two days before the scheduled operation, her stomach bloated and dad rushed her to the hospital. They discovered that she had peritonitis and that her large intestine had ruptured. They operated immediately, but there was not much hope. Poison had spread throughout her already disease-plagued body. She never recovered from the operation, and nine or ten days later on August 2, 1981, a beautiful spirit escaped her pain-racked body and left this earth.
My mom was the neatest lady there was. She had a great testimony, which she shared with us often. She lived her beliefs and inspired and touched many lives here on earth. She was very involved in genealogy, and before she became so ill, she started the name extraction program in the Logandale Nevada Stake where we lived. I’m sure there were many spirits waiting to greet her on the other side when she left here. And maybe they love her just as much as we do.
One reason I am writing this letter is to let Janalee Gale know how much my mother loved and appreciated her and thank her for sharing my mother’s testimony with people all over the world.
We just started taking the New Era for our boys who recently became teenagers. As I sit down to read the New Era, I am always touched by the sweet spirit and have tears in my eyes so that it is difficult to finish reading the articles.
Each time, I think of Dana, a nonmember young woman who plays for our basketball team. She has such a sweet spirit that my heart is always drawn to want to share this special magazine with her. I am finally getting around to placing an order for her.
I like the stories in the New Era. Thank you.
Los Alamos, New Mexico
I want you to know how much I enjoyed “Tricky Treats” by Dian Thomas in the October New Era. The ideas were so imaginative and easy that I wanted to try every one of them. I was hoping there would be more ideas like this in the next month’s magazine.
Not long after I saw the article, I saw Dian Thomas at a stake women’s conference. I was very impressed with her. She had a lot more ideas. Why not make this a regular feature in the New Era?
I take the New Era even though I’m a mother, because I’m a Young Women’s president and also because my husband and I really enjoy the articles. I showed the October article to the young women of our branch to excite them about the New Era and encourage them to subscribe. They were particularly impressed with Sister Thomas’s article too.
Providence, Rhode Island