Noel, E, Carolyn, Noel’s mom, and I went early this morning to President Hinckley’s viewing. It was held in the Conference Center which was a change from the initial plans because of the potential bad weather and the limited space in the Church Administration Building (known as the CAB here at work). As an employee I got to bring my immediate family (those living in the same house as me) with me before things opened up for the general public. E having been through the death of two great-grandparents and her grandpa in her short little life has a pretty good understanding of death, much better than I did. I don’t recall going to a viewing until my Grandpa’s early in my 20s.
I love the Conference Center – it is such a gorgeous building – just walking through it and thinking of the vision that Pres. Hinckley had to build such a magnificent building was very special. E was enthralled by all the beautiful art especially the huge painting of the Savior coming to America. She was great the whole way there too – the ushers gave a gentle reminder to us as we entered to make sure that we were reverent and limited the talking I am sure because E was so young – she was fabulous.
President Hinckley’s casket was situated in the Hall of the Prophets up on the third floor of the Conference Center. It was another testimony to me as we looked at our dear Prophet of the divinity of the soul! It was definitely Pres. Hinckley, but it wasn’t. The power, humility, kindness, and vitality that were such a hallmark of him in my mind were missing from his face. His spirit, possessor of those wonderful traits, had moved on to the Spirit World to continue his work.
As we walked away Sister Hinckley, one of his daughter-in-laws, saw E and came over and said hello and thanked us for coming and was so kind. As we walked back into the seating area of the Conference Center to exit the area they had the flowers from the family along the way. There were some tender moments as we read the expressions of love from kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. There were references to "Standing a little taller and being a little better", to the 6 Be’s, and one that referenced a statement Pres. Hinckley must have made after the passing of his wife – it was something to the effect of, "Christmas just isn’t the same without your grandmother" with a follow on statement of "Christmas just won’t be the same without the both of you Grandpa."
We also got two tickets to the funeral so Noel and I will be going on Saturday – we are so looking forward to going. As we walked out of the Conference Center I was talking quietly to E about how we saw Pres. Hinckley’s body and that his spirit had gone to Heaven. She turned to me and said, "yep and that is the most important thing!"