Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Canada - day 8 - July 3, 2010

Today was the day we'd all been waiting f0r. The purpose of the whole trip. Today was when Landon was sealed to his family in the Temple of God. We got up early and tried to get on the road early enough to give us time to stop at the cemetery. As you may have guessed it didn't happen. We were on time for the temple however. As I was parking the car I walked past this couple who made a double take and said in an uncertain voice, "Fred?" Well if they weren't sure it was me I certainly had no idea who they were. I told them I was indeed Fred but they would have to help me out. It was Arnold and Linda Pitcher. They had been in our ward in Edmonton when we were newly weds. How cool it was to see them after so many years.

The sealing took place in the same room where Lisa and I were married twenty nine years ago. It has been changed a lot since then. The Alter used to be on one end of the room but now it is dead center. The walls were also completely white when we were sealed but now they have a lot of wood trim. I suspect that was done during the remodel in the 1990's. The sealing was beautiful. Kira and Justin knelt across the alter from each other and then Landon was brought in and sat on the alter between them. Kira's greatest fear was that Landon would refuse to sit still or be quiet but her prayers were answered. Landon just sat there calmly on the alter and looked at his parents. It was very touching and very spiritual. It was as if he knew what was happening. They also brought Evan in for the ceremony and he too sat calmly (actually he was being held by a temple worker). After the ceremony was over they all (Justin, Kira, Landon and Evan) had a group hug and cried. Yes, even Justin had huge tears streaming down his cheeks. Actually we all did. The sealer then suggested that we might all want to go up and "reverently" congratulate the new family. Mothers of course went first but fathers were right behind them.

The coolest thing about watching a family get sealed is that you get to witness a new and eternal family being formed right before your eyes. It has to be the most spiritual thing I've ever witnessed.

After the sealing we all went out side and joined poor Sarah, the only member of the family who couldn't be there (other than Alex of course). I know she felt very left out but she's such a wonderful girl that she would never complain about it or say anything. She will certainly be blessed for all her faithfulness. We all hung around the temple for a long time taking pictures and then the biggest part of the group headed back to Waterton for a special luncheon that Justin's aunt had prepared.

The Leavitt family (minus Kira and Justin who had to play host) went to visit my Aunt Orva. Aunt Orva was my mothers only sister and I've
always really loved her family. She looks nothing like my Mom but she still reminds me of her every time I visit her. I was very surprised by how old she looks but I keep forgetting that she is in her 80's now.

I then drove by the house that I grew up in. The address of this house is 432 2nd avenue west. I'm surprised that I still remember it. It doesn't look anything like it did when we moved into it when I was seven years old. My dad was a carpenter and that house was continuously being remodeled until the day that he sold it. In addition to all the rooms he added he also added all these fun little gadgets like solar heating and a wood burning furnace. He never paid anything for gas except what little the gas cooking stove used. The house and all the water was heated by the sun or wood. I'm not talking about a wood burning stove either. This was a regular furnace and the heat was controlled by a thermostat on the wall. Very cool.

We then stopped by the cemetery on our way to Waterton. It is a shame Kira and Justin couldn't be there but I guess you can't do it all. I've always been torn by the whole cemetery thing. I would
love to be buried in the Leavitt plot. We looked around and there in that area were Mom and Dad, Grandpa and Grandma, Great Grandpa and Grandma and of course Thomas Rowell Leavitt. Nick was even there right by Mom and Dad. I would love to be buried there with them all. The problem is that I have lived in San Diego for nearly twenty years and this is my home now. Besides, if I croaked first then Lisa would want to come and visit me once in a while. And who's going to haul my remains all the way back to Canada? Thats why lately I've been favoring the idea of cremation.

Ben's good friend Abram was tragically killed a few years ago in a hiking accident. He was cremated and they sprinkled some of his ashes in the ocean, some of them in the Canadian mountains where he died, some of his ashes are in a cemetery close to home here and some were made into glass beads to be given to his friends. I have a bead on my keychain and every time I use my keys I think of Abram. I'm thinking if I was cremated I'd have some of my ashes put in the ground with mom and dad, some of them in a cemetery here in San Diego, some would be in a real cool stainless steel sphere that Lisa could keep on the mantel and some would be in beads for my kids etc. I'm really warming up to that idea.

Enough of the morbid topic and back to Waterton. We had a wonderful luncheon and every one had a good visit. There were a few pictures that I wanted to get so while people were visiting I took the camera and took a few pictures. I loved this sign warning that the deer might kick you. When I lived here tourists were constantly getting kicked by the deer.

This is a picture looking across Emerald Bay towards the Prince of Wales. This water is freshly melted off a glacier and is very cold but Lester and I used to go swimming in this bay all the time. brrrrr.
We built this motel when I was about twelve. We named it the Windflower Motel because of the crazy wind in Waterton. It was also the name of the street that we were on. When we built it, it had a flat roof. I guess I kind of like the peaked roof.

After a few years in Waterton the motel next door came up for sale and we bought it too. It was called the Ponderosa Motel. That is Crandel Mountain in the back ground with Bears Hump in the foreground. We ran both of these motels. The cabins in the Ponderosa also had flat roofs. The best thing about the Ponderosa is that it had a Sauna. We would come up in the winter time sometimes and fire up the Sauna. We would then dive into the snow drifts stark naked. It is a weird feeling to see all the steam rise off your body and what a refreshing feeling it is.

The two motels are now called the Aspen Lodge and they've built a new building between the two
where we used to have living quarters for the house keeping crew. Oh what fond memories I have of this place.
Since we had to drive back to Calgary for the blessing the next day it soon came time for us to leave. I left with great reluctance. Landons birth mother and father were at the luncheon, their names are Caleb and Sarah. Before we left Kira asked Caleb to sing a song that he'd written about the whole experience. The song was a rap song and I'm not too much into that sort of thing but the words were straight from his heart and very touching. This song could be famous some day. It was very tragic to listen to him sing this song about a boy that another man will raise. It was quite surreal to watch Landon in the arms of his birth mother sitting next to his birth father singing about him. Leaving the whole morality issue out of it, this was a real testimony about why you don't have sex until you're prepared to welcome children into your life. Caleb and Sarah are great people and I'm sure that some day they will be wonderful parents but they're only teenagers right now and giving up their baby was a very brave thing for them to do. They're obviously mature enough to want what is best for their baby but you could tell it was killing them. By making this move they've blessed the lives of many people but most of all Landon and that is what it is all about.

We then hit the road and made the three hour drive back to Calgary. As you can tell, during this entire week I was only getting more and more tired but my heart was getting more and more full.


Lynn said...

Oh my goodness! Where does one even start after reading this post?!

What a beautiful and FUn day for Kira and Justin and your entire family!!! It brought huge tears to my eyes just reading about it. It brought back memories of when my 3 adopted siblings were sealed to our family. I still remember both days like it was yesterday. And then I though of my brother Mike and Tonya and their sealing day with Charlie just 3 or 4 years ago. And then I thought of Dean and my dad with our oldest baby girl. And then I thought about how she and her husband have started the paperwork on their adoption hopes, when just recently they found out that there is a miracle baby on the way......but they will someday still hope to follow through on that adoption.

Anyway.....I really enjoyed this post. I loved all the history you have up here in Southern Alberta. I use to be TOTALLY against cremation.....but now I can see why some people would do that, after reading your post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that. Truly.

Lynn said...

Okay.....clearly you can see that I have tears in my eyes still because obviously I can't even see to type!!! Oops!

Typo correction one: "though of my brother" obviously should be "thought of my brother"

Correction two: "Thought of Dean and my dad" obviously should read "Dean and me" -- have no clue why I wrote my dad, other than he was the driver our our vehicle that day. LOL!

Lisa said...

This was truly the best day while we were there and the sole purpose in going up. It still brings tears to my eyes. I'm so glad that this time more of our family could be there to share in this wonderful and spiritual experience with Kira & Justin.

Peter and Mandy said...

What a beautiful experience! I bet Evan remembers it enough to tell Landon about it when he is older.

Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

It was such a beautiful wonderful day! There is nothing like a family sealing. I feel so lucky to have been there and to be apart of it.

Justin, Kira and Evan said...

it was my favorite day :-)