Sept. 2 was one of those days I will never forget.
What a roller coaster.
The morning started out with an e-mail that made my heart stop. A note from Clover Autrey, the mother of a little boy named Chase, who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. You see, we worked with the Wish With Wings foundation back in December to grant Chase's dying wish to hear the secret of the final Fablehaven book before he died. Miraculously he rebounded (despite doctors telling him he had a day or so to live). In March, he was still doing relatively well, so we flew him to Utah to attend the launch party of the final Fablehaven book. We surprised him by bringing him on stage and making him an honorary Knight of the Dawn.
This morning, Clover e-mailed with sad news:
I don't have Brandon's email because Chase didn't let anyone have it, but can you please let him know that Chase passed away yesterday evening. Also let him know that coming out to see him and be part of the launch party was a thrill for him. His Knights of the Dawn costume is still hanging above his bed. He loved being the center of attention for that. Our family will always, always think highly of Brandon for that gift and his kindness.
And thank you as well, for all you did to make that happen. I can't express to you how much it meant.
My warmest regards,
Watching Chase's face when he received his Knights of the Dawn uniform and making him an official Knight is a memory I will never forget. The moment almost didn't happen, as Clover was worried he wouldn't be able to walk up to the stage. He was having a lot of trouble breathing. But then it was like he was never sick. As soon as Brandon invited him on stage, he practically jumped out of his seat and ran. I had to chase him. It was so inspiring.
Now to hear he has passed breaks my heart. When I think of all the things I’ve been able to be a part of at Deseret Book this has to be one of the most rewarding, most fulfilling experiences ever.
A few hours later, Sheri Dew's secretary called me and asked me to run over to the store right away with my camera. Sheri wanted me to take pictures of President Thomas S. Monson as he toured our store and looked at the display window honoring him and his lifetime of service.
How can you say no to an assignment like that?!?
As soon as he walked in, he came up, shook my hand and greeted me. I then followed him, his wife Francis, and Sheri and they all looked at the artifacts and timeline with photos of President Monson's life. I just kept snapping picture after picture.
Customers slowly started gathering at a safe distance, and just watched President Monson. Then, everyone broke out into song. "We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet." I stood behind him, with tears in my eye and sang with everyone in the store. Sheri sang right along with me at my side. It was amazing.
After the song, he turned to the crowd and started telling a story. While speaking, the television on the tribute wall started showing the video of when he was first sustained as an apostle years ago. He turned to watch. After a few minutes, he stopped watching and started telling stories again. I then went to turn the television down so people could hear what he was saying.
"Well now I can't hear it!" he said.
"I'm so sorry!" I replied, and ran around back to the television to put the sound back on. Instead of sneaking back near Sheri, I sat right down in case he wanted me to change the volume again. It was the perfect spot. as President Monson continued watching the video about his life. I didn't watch the movie. I just watched him. His eyes, smile. I snapped picture after picture. He originally started watching from the middle of the show, and went through to the end, and started watching from the beginning so he could see the whole thing. Then we finally caught up and were watching parts we had already seen. He then looked at me, "I've seen this already, haven't I." "Yes, you have President," I replied. He then motioned at me with his hand. I interpreted that as a sign to turn the volume down again. "Now what did you do that for?" he teased. "Do you want me to leave?" "I'd happily stay here all night with you, President," I responded. I promptly turned the volume back up, and he kept watching the stuff he had seen just 20 minutes before. A few minutes later he turned to me and said, "I really have seen this, haven't I?" "Yes you have."
He smiled, and gave me the cue to turn the volume down.
President Monson then told the story of meeting his wife. He testified about service. He wiggled his ears. He told a young boy that he'll go on a mission when he's 19. He asked another boy, who was 7 years old, "Do you know what will happen next year?" After a long pause, the boy finally answered with what seemed like a question, "My baptism?" "Good answer," President Monson said.
A young family from Germany just happened to be in the store and were able to meet the Prophet. I snapped pictures of their children telling President Monson about an act of service they did, and then giving him a s "warm fuzzy." I emailed the mother all of the photos I took so they could remember this great experience.
I've been thinking a lot lately how much of a privilege it is to be able to work promoting President Monson's upcoming biography. I would have never dreamed part of that would have included a day like today.
I've always said I love my job. But this? Nothing tops this. It was amazing.
I'm just glad I remembered to bring my camera!
I ended my night with more work, but it was fun work. I attended the table reading of the new movie, "Midway to Heaven." It was fun to see the behind the scenes of a movie. Oh and (this one's for you, Kelly) Kirby Heybourne gave me a big hug. I admitted my inner fan girl-ness and said how much I loved "Sons of Provo."
Have I said I love my job enough yet? Because I do.