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Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category
I woke up this morning thinking about Valerie and in the process of those thoughts I decided to share some of them with you. Many of you know that Valerie Lynne Wilkes, our seventh child, was born June 13, 1972 and died August 30, 1973 which coincidently was Beverly’s and my 15th wedding anniversary. Two days before she died we had arrived in Salt Lake. We were moving to Salt Lake from Eugene so I could take a job, all part of a plan to get some much needed help for our family.
When we arrived, we began moving into a house we had rented in the East Mill Creek area of Salt Lake. As part of the move, my parents (Roy and Eva) had driven down from Eugene in my dad’s pickup to bring a few of our belongings that were needed so we could survive until the main part of our belongings would arrive later by moving van.
The day after we arrived we had gone as a family to spend the day on Snell Johnson’s property located adjacent to Deer Creek Reservoir in the Heber Valley. There were some family activities there, mainly centered around dirt bikes and three-wheelers which our children enjoyed. My parents were planning to leave for their return to Eugene later in the day but they had accompanied us up to this location. Later, when they were getting ready to depart, several of us including Valerie had gathered around Dad’s pickup to bid them farewell.
Fourteen-month-old Valerie had climbed up into the truck and onto the seat next to my Dad when my Mother handed her a cookie. In a manner that was very characteristic of Valerie, she instinctively broke the cookie into two pieces and offered half of it to her Grandpa whom she adored and who, in turn, adored her.
For me, this was an unforgettable moment. It not only tells us a lot about Valerie and the kind of person she was even at the age of fourteen months, but it teaches us some of the great lessons of life. I believe that life is lived best when it is lived with as much compassion and concern for others as we have for ourselves. Valerie was demonstrating this when she divided the only cookie she had so she could share it with her Grandpa. This morning, as I was thinking about this incident, I wondered if I am following Valerie’s example and doing enough to share the “cookies” I have received with others.
Valerie died the day after this incident. I honor her for teaching me this lesson.