Friday, January 6, 2012

Death, Where is Thy Sting?

I am going to a funeral tomorrow for a woman in our ward named Louis Lessner.

The majority of what I know about this woman and her husband, Brother Ed Lessner, I learned as I secretly observed them in line buying groceries at Walmart one day, shortly after we moved here.

Brother Lessner didn't know me, or rather didn't recognize me from church, but I'd recognize his smile anywhere.  I was with my kids as usual, and he was with his wife, who I only that day realized was suffering from some sort of Alzheimer's disease or dementia that is common in old age.  

She appeared more childlike than frail as he lead her around the store gathering only the most necessary items on their list.  Her innocent, timid, almost obliviously joyful nature bore a stark contrast to his alertness, his keen awareness, his humor and his vigor.

The care and tenderness with which he escorted her through the store was remarkable and lovely.  His demeanor, all the while, was completely cheerful.  To look at them, you'd think you were watching two love-struck teenagers on some sort of first date.

The way that he watched over her with such a rare mixture of strength and gentleness, and yet, he made it look effortless.  I was touched and inspired.

I wondered: What kind of man was I honored enough to witness, in the middle of Walmart, teaching me just what real love is?

I only saw Brother Lessner at church a handful of times since that day, but I know that he comes whenever he can, and he is always just as generous and giving to everyone else in church.  

I return to my original question:  What kind of man is Brother Lessner?

He is the kind of man who understands that the woman that he fell in love with, the woman who traveled around the country and the world helping people with The Red Cross, the woman who made their home, who helped raise their children, who loved genealogy, and loved being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--still exists.

He is the kind of man who knows that God's divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.  And that sacred ordinances available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to God and for families to be united eternally.

He is the kind of man who knows that the sting of death is swallowed up in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

And because he knows this he is "stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord," and I am so lucky to know him and to learn from his example.

And this is why I am going to a funeral tomorrow, to honor two amazing people who brought much beauty into my world.


  1. OH I love this.

    One of my favorite sculptures is at BYU...

    Here is a link. It is so beautiful in person.

  2. we need more couples like this in the world for our children to emulate and ourselves-touching tribute and well written. It would make a lovely addition to a card for their family....

  3. Lovely. And yet another message of "eternity" I have received this week. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and helping me keep things in perspective.

  4. This is such an inspiring and lovely post. It reminded me of my own parents. My father had dementia and it was so sweet to watch them together. During all of this my father always remembered my mother and her name. Blessings to you for this post.

  5. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story with us Jocelyn. A good marriage is such a blessing, as is the knowledge that our family ties can last forever.


  6. new mormon message about that very thing. I think you should add it to your post! It's front page at

  7. YOu have a powerful way with words. I felt every emotion and every bit of your testimony with your written words. Thank you for sharing it!
    May this wonderful man be blest for honoring his priesthood, his wife and his life's example of Christ like ove and compassion!