For Cindy
July 1983

“For Cindy,” Ensign, July 1983, 50

“For Cindy”

I was twenty years old and 3,000 miles away from home attending college when my mother passed away unexpectedly. I had not seen her for two years, and this added to my shock at her sudden passing.

Two months later the missionaries came to my door. During the discussions I was surprised to learn that many of my mother’s personal beliefs were the same as those of the Church—beliefs she had steadfastly held despite criticism from the church I was raised in. I readily accepted the teachings of the gospel and was baptized three weeks later.

For me, baptism was a bittersweet experience. I was happy in a way I had never known before, yet I struggled with grief and disappointment because Mom had been so close to the truth and yet I had been robbed of sharing it with her by two short months. Despite all I now knew of eternal life, I could find no inner peace. I poured out my feelings in prayer, apologizing for my weakness in not being able to come to terms with Mom’s death.

Then one night I had a beautiful dream. My mother entered my room and sat on the edge of my bed. She was dressed all in white, and although she looked much the same as when I last saw her, she was yet more youthful, for no lines of worry or sadness creased her brow. She was smiling and radiant. When I awoke, I could only remember that in the dream she had spoken to me for some time, comforting me and reassuring me that all was well.

The following week I received a box in the mail. It had been among my mother’s things in storage and was labeled in her own handwriting “for Cindy.” I was stunned as I examined its contents. There were old family portraits, some of grandparents who had died before I was born. There were some of my school papers, childhood photos, my first letter to Santa Claus. I found a small white journal my mother had kept, personal letters, and a large graph-paper chart, yellowed and tattered, with several generations of family genealogy carefully penned by Mom and started by her mother long years before.

My eyes flooded with tears, and for what seemed a long time I rested my head on that old box and wept. My sobs seemed to wash away the doubts and grief, and the peace I had sought filled my being.

With that peace came a sudden realization: it was no coincidence that Mom’s beliefs paralleled many Church teachings—or that she had collected and preserved the box of family items. Mom’s life and teachings prepared me to receive the fulness of the gospel; her faith and inspiration guided her to pave the way for me to compile a family history and perform genealogical and temple work that would unite our family forever.

I hadn’t needed to be a missionary to Mom—she had been a missionary to me!

  • Cynthia Brown Stevens, mother of three, is a counselor in the Primary presidency in her Sunset, Utah, ward.

Photography by Michael M. McConkie