Goodbye to an Angel

An angel graduated and got her wings yesterday. Her pain is over, but she leaves a void in the lives of her husband, daughter, mother, father, family and those of us who had the honor of calling her a friend.

Photo by Kimmy Jaster.
Photo by Kimmy Jaster.

I was blessed to have known April Dawn Ferguson LeFevre since high school. I wish I’d known her longer, but my memory of her is of someone full of love, kindness, gentleness, and grace. April saw the good in everyone, and quickly forgot and forgave the bad. In the years I knew her, I was probably the beneficiary of that forgiveness more times than I had a right to be. She could be counted on for a kind word and a shoulder to lean on. She was unselfish to a fault. She brought joy and love into the lives of anybody who was blessed to cross her path. Her friendship is something I will always cherish.

I visited with April in the hospital twice in the days before she passed. Her equally gentle husband, Tom, was there, as were her parents, Mike and Heather. We had a chance to reminisce, talk about times we’d had, and share some smiles and tears. April, true to form, was more focused on those around her than she was on herself. She asked about me, gave me encouragement and counsel, and made me feel loved. I felt like a reverential apprentice learning at the feet of a master.

Heather, April’s mom, was a perfect example of faith and hope. She understood the Plan of Happiness better than most, and I was humbled as she spoke about how physical trials and pain give us the opportunity to grow closer to the Savior. Heather knew this would be the end of suffering for April, but that it was only a transition in April’s journey. I thought about how Christ-like April already was; I was in awe at the high bar she had set, and I was left wondering how I could be more like her.

The last time I visited April, I was with our mutual friend, Kevin. Upon arriving we were surprised to see another friend of ours, Steve, also visiting. I choose to believe this was providence because, at the request of April and her family, it gave us the opportunity to do something the three of us hadn’t done in years: sing together. We harmonized to some silly, happy, upbeat songs from our high school years. It was good to see April smile, despite her pain. We wished we could do more.

The last song we sang for April was one of special significance for all of us. In high school, it had been our most requested and performed, and April had been one of our greatest supporters. Under the circumstances, however, we weren’t sure this was the right time. With some discussion and with the blessing of April and her family, we decided it would be appropriate. And so we sang, as we did back then, our old arrangement of “Angel Lullaby”:

You came from a land where all is bright
To a world half day and a world half night.
To guard you by day, you have my love,
And to guard you by night, your friends above.

There is one standing softly by your bed,
And another sits close with a hand on your head.
There is one at the window watching for the dawn,
And one waits to wake you when the night is gone.

So sleep, sleep ’till the darkness ends
Guarded by your angel friends.
So sleep, sleep ’till the darkness ends
Guarded by your angel friends.

Rest now, April, as you join your angel friends above. When we cry, it’s for us, not you. It’s because we miss you. We miss your sweet smile. We miss your kind heart. We miss your love and gentleness, your faith and stubbornness, and your knack for making us feel special and important. You were an angel in life; now your beautiful wings are free to unfurl as you soar up to prepare a place for the rest of us. I pray I can live a life that will earn me the kind of wings you always had.

To her husband, Tom, her daughter, Kaitee, and to the rest of April’s family: we love and pray for you. Thank you for sharing April with us.