Friday, January 11, 2013

Be Still My Soul

Gracefully, 2012 ebbed to is close, as we honored the life of Shirley Goodman and laid her body to rest.  A funeral service was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, December 29, 2012.  A similar service was conducted in Richmond, Virgina, on Thursday, January 3, 2013, followed by a simple graveside dedication.  All five of her living children spoke at the services, and all though Bob, Sr. was not well enough to travel to Virginia, in spirit he accompanied his wife back to their home of many years.

Bobby, Chelsea, and Thomas returned to Las Vegas with us to attend the funeral.  Bobby was humbled to be invited to offer the closing prayer, and then he and Thomas were honored to join with cousins as pall-bearers.

Dad with His Living Children
Bob Jr., Tom, Kels, Connie, Dad, and Pam
Kelly Graham, Sharon and Bob Goodman, Tom and Mel Goodman, Kels and Stephanie Goodman
Connie Graham, Dad, Pam Renner
Extended Goodman Family

For the Goodman children, a trip together back to the home of their childhood was a rewarding experience.  It felt almost like a wedding celebration as friends and family waited patiently in line to greet and become reacquainted with each of the children as they expressed their love and appreciation for the Goodman Family.  The funeral was held in the same chapel that their ward members built when Bob was a child.


Being at the cemetery was a rewarding experience, as we were able to visit the grave sites of Mom's two children which passed away in two separate and tragic childhood accidents.  Additionally, Dad's brother, Thomas (after whom Tom was named) was also interred nearby.


"Be Still My Soul"
Text:  Katharina von Schlegel, b. 1697
translated by Jane Vorthwick, 1813-1897

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrows forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Having a little extra time in Richmond, Bob and I were able to see a few of the sites.  Virgina is such a beautiful and historical area!  The strange looking foil building was once the home of the "Reynolds Metals Company" - better known as the "Reynolds Aluminum Company".  Monument Avenue is always a great place to get a glimpse of history.  The trip down "memory" lane also revealed the hospital where Bob was born.  The building now appears to house apartments.

Our visit to Virgina ended with a joyful reunion with my brother, Mark, his wife, Sarah.  It was nice to see the Fairfax area where they live and to meet their adorable daughter, Sophie!  It was the perfect conclusion to this family focused trip.

Christmas Blessings

Upon our return to Vegas, Stephanie and Paige departed for Seoul, and Bobby's family arrived from Murray.  The Goodman home was a place of gathering for many of Bob and Shirley's friends and family, and the spirit of love and joy with each reunion brought peace and strength to all.  I wish I had taken more photos of all the family, but these few will suffice for now.  Grandpa loved visiting with grand kids, playing "Rumikub", and piecing together puzzles.  While Grandma was pretty much confined to bed, she surprised us one day in her last rally to join her dear eternal companion for a bite of toast and some sips of juice.  It wouldn't be long now, before she would go to that place of rest and joy.


Just as each new life joins heaven and earth in a celebration of life, so it is with the passing of each soul.  Mom's final days were filled with an abundance of the spirit as family gathered in prayer and humbly petitioned God's mercy to provide relief from the suffering and bounds of mortal life.  Grandpa asked family relative and church Patriarch Rex Graham (Connie's father-in-law) and Bob to pronounce a final Priesthood blessing upon the head of his faithful loving wife of 56 years.  It was just hours after kneeling around her bedside in family prayer, and after a series of spiritual witnesses, that Shirley Bernice Goodman passed away peacefully in bed with her daughters, Pam and Connie, at her side.  The night was December 21, 2012 (although the time of death was recorded as December 22).  The Lord's tender mercy upon his beloved daughter was one of our most memorable Christmas gifts.

With family gatherings occurring on both sides of the veil, it was time for Bob and I to gather with our own children and grand kids.  We drove to Utah and spend a couple of nights at Thomas and Chelsea's home in Provo.  Thomas's parents recently purchased a new home near Springville as a family gathering place in Utah, and Chelsea and Thomas rent and live in the basement "apartment".  Bobby's family stayed with us the first night and then we all gathered at his home in Murray for our Christmas celebration.  We missed having Stephanie, Ben, Emma, and Paige with us, but they were in Okpo and Sebu having parties of their own this year.

Our Christmas celebrations this year included attending a performance on Temple Square, "Savior of the World".  My oldest brother, Doug, and his wife, Sandra were able to join us.  We were also able to provide the kids with tickets to the fabulous Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.  But I'll have to say, that my favorite performance again this year, was the nativity as acted out by Linley and Max.  It was a somewhat comical version this year, and was witnessed through skype by Stephanie's family.

Christmas Eve dinner was Jill's traditional "Cafe Rio" fare along with Thomas' churros!  It was a nice change of palate for us Asians! A few gifts opened provided a lively evening together before cookies for Santa were nibbled on and "sugar-plums" were dancing in our heads.

Christmas morning was truly a gift opening marathon!  Thank you all for your generous and thoughtful presents!   


Christmas day was filled with the smells of delicious homemade traditional food and treats and the sounds of giggles and laughter in the powdery new snow.

The sweet final touch to an already perfect day was the much anticipated phone call from Peru with Elder Michael M. Goodman!  Our skype connection was poor, so after a few frustrating attempts to visit online, the gift of an international calling card worked beautifully.  His mission letters and photos can be seen by clicking on the other tabs at the top of this blog.  We love and miss you, Michael, but are so blessed by your sincere testimony and diligent service.  What better way to celebrate our Savior's birth than by serving him faithfully in word and deed?!  Although some of our children were thousands of miles away, this was another very merry Goodman Christmas!

 A parting poem (author unknown) in honor of "The Great Mom"

 I’m Spending Christmas With Jesus Christ This Year

I see the countless Christmas trees,
Around the world below,
With tiny lights, like heaven’s stars,
Reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away that tear,
For I’m spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs,
That people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can’t compare
With the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you,
The joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description
To hear an angel sing.

I can’t tell you of the splendor,
Or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas
With our Savior, face to face?

I’ll ask Him to light your spirit,
As I tell Him of your love.
So then pray one for another
As you lift your eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful,
And let your spirit sing,
For I’m spending Christmas in heaven,
And I’m walking with the King!