Dear family and friends: I thought you might enjoy reading this email that came from a sister in SLC who is in the same ward as Elder Richard G. Hinckley, President Hinckley's son. There are a few details not heard on the news reports that this sister shares here.
Elder Richard Hinckley bore his testimony in Sacrament meeting today. He thanked everyone for the notes, calls, food, flowers, and all they had done for their family.
He said President Hinckley had been diagnosed with cancer early in 2006, and was not expected to last until the end of the year. He and his five children met with Dr. Ward, his cancer doctor, to discuss options. The doctor said they did not know how chemotheraphy would work in a 95 year old, as they had not tried it before. President Hinckley said he had three questions, and had them written down on a paper. The first question was "Will I still be able to live on my own?" "Yes", the doctor answered. The second question was "Would I still be able to put in a full day's work?" "Yes", the doctor answered. President Hinckley's final question was "Will I lose my hair?" "No", the doctor answered. President Hinckley then agreed to have chemotheraphy. He said his life belonged to t he Lord, and He would take him when He was ready. President Hinckley said he needed to do all he could do to prolong his life, for he had work to do.
The doctors discovered the chemotheraphy was not working in January (2008). Again, the Hinckley family met with the doctors. At 97 years of age, recommended President Hinckley do nothing. President Hinckley replied again his life belonged to the Lord, and that he needed to do all he could do. He received the more aggressive chemotherapy the Tuesday before he died. On Wednesday, he went to the office and did a full day's work. Thursday morning, he did not get out of bed.
Elder (Richard) Hinckley said he was scheduled to go preside over a stake conference in Henderson, Nevada that weekend. Before he left, he talked with his dad, and felt prompted to give him a blessing. He also said he would take his cell phone, and keep it on. Saturday, after meetings, around 4pm, President Packer called and told him he needed to come home. He did, and stayed with his father and other members of his family until his father died.
Sunday afternoon, Presidents Monson, Eyring, and Packer came and gave President Hinckley a blessing. About 7pm, President Hinckley took his last breath, and passed away peacefully.
Elder Hinckley shared some anecdotes about his father. He said one of his dad's favorite pictures was a picture of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with a photo of a singing President Hinckley electronically placed right in the baritone section. He would show it to everyone who came to visit. Elder Hinckley said this photo was something family members would fight over. Thursday night, after their practice, members of the Tabernacle Choir asked for their own private viewing. After, they presented each member of the Hinckley family with that photo.
Elder Hinckley spent a lot of time at the Conference Center during the viewing. One of the ushers shared a moment with him, which he thought was sweet—a small girl came through with her father. She asked her dad "Do you think President Hinckley has met Nephi yet?"
Elder Hinckley said true to form, his father had his funeral planned down to the last detail, leaving no decisions to his children. He planned the speakers, the hymns, everything. He said his father had "every button buttoned, and every knot tied"—as always, prepared.
Some of the things Elder Hinckley said about his father were that "he was reverent, faithful, humble, and true". As a family, the Hinckley's said, "We hope others will turn their hearts to the Savior".
He said a new prophet would be announced tomorrow, around 11am, and, although the Hinckley family had never tried to be in the limelight, they were ready to step back and fade into the background as this new prophet takes his place.
Elder Hinckley said there were many flowers at the funeral, so he brought up two arrangements to our chapel for us to enjoy. One arrangement was from President Hinckley's counselors; the other from the quorum of the seventy. He said they didn't need all of the flowers at home, and that they were going to die anyway, and invited all of us to come up and take a flower after sacrament meeting. Many of us did so after the meeting, and we have made a bouquet we are enjoying here at the house. We are planning to dry as many as possible.
Annie babysat this morning for Michael and Heather Hinckley while they attended Music and the Spoken Word. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was singing a medley of President Hinckley's favorite hymns. They had reserved 100 seats for the Hinckley family, and Heather and Michael (they are the ones who lived in our house while we were in Honduras), went.
It has been a very spiritual day for me, and something I really need during this dreary winter. We have had snow about every other day this January, and cold since the first of December. We have four feet on the side of our driveway, and two feet in the yard, and it is snowing again. I am glad I have these beautiful flowers, and memories of President Hinckley, to lift me up.