"It is no small thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us." -Hans Christian Andersen
I love Ethan. I love his family. I also love his ward and neighborhood. I am one of his aunts, Julie (hacking Jen's account with her graceful permission), and I have the honor of going through all the posts from over the summer to update this blog. To relive this by retracing the posts from Jen and from Merrill has been bittersweet. I am so thankful to have been even a small part of his extraordinary life. It has given so many of us a window into the souls of him and those of his family, and that has changed us all for the better. Merrill is my big brother, and one that I have always looked up to for what is right and good. Every time I have had a problem, Merrill comes quietly and gives me a scripture, a hymn, and the words of modern prophets. That sense of perspective has permeated this experience for me, and for so many who have had the opportunity to get a window into this experience.
One time, during a recent relapse, I sent Merrill a text and told him I wished I could have the ability to take this all away from them; that I could wrap them in a warm fuzzy blanket and make everything all better. Merrill responded, "I do too, but Someone has already done that for us." At first I felt a little less than smart, but I realized he was not saying this to make me feel bad, but to give me perspective. The desperate feelings that I had to remove this burden from them is not unlike what the Savior must have felt for each of us as He went through Gethsemane. His desperation to save us from all the injustices, infirmities, and limitations of mortality must have been a driving force to accept the will of the Father and continue, performing the supreme act of love for all humankind, the incomparable Atonement. It is in this that we have our strength, our hope, and our purpose to endure with Him by our sides. We have the incredible examples of these kind friends, neighbors, and family that shows us how He would have us live and love each other. May we always remember the impact this family and this amazing little boy have had on us, how they have brought out the best in so many, and touched so many more. Well done, Ethan.