Mildred

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This is an excerpt from I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring by, Robert I. Eaton, and Henry J, Eyring.

In typical fashion, Mildred took charge as their two-day visit came to a close. Though they both sensed that it would be their final opportunity to talk in this life, she prevailed upon him to take an earlier flight home so as to be well rested for a professional presentation he would make the next day. Hal held her hand and knelt beside the bed with the intent to pray, but he felt his throat swelling and feared that his voice might break. She matter-of-factly suggested that he not kiss her, as she had self-diagnosed an infection that she didn’t want him to catch. The moment for prayer passed.

As he was leaving, Hal paused in the doorway. “Mother,” he asked, smiling, “don’t you have any more criticism for me?”

“No, Hal,” she replied with a smile of her own. “You’re not that bad.”

“I’ll see you soon,” he said.

“Yes, dear.”

Mildred slipped into a coma two days later and was gone in a little over a week. The quiet dignity with which she endured her final trial left no question in Hal’s mind that for his mother “the plan of salvation was reality.” As he would explain in a BYU devotional address:

She knew and I knew that the greater the test the greater the compliment from a loving Heavenly Father. She died after a decade of suffering with cancer. At her funeral, President Kimball said something like this, “Some of you may wonder what great sins Mildred committed to explain her having to endure such suffering. It had nothing to do with sin. It was that her Heavenly Father wanted to polish her a little more.”

I remember as I sat there at the time wondering what trials might lie ahead for me if a woman that good could be blessed by that much hard polishing.

(Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring, I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013], 19–20).

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