Loving Memory from the life of Stewart Seager
Contributor: dkblack Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
May 1998 - from journal of Barbara Seager
A recent visit with our Stake President Horton has caused me to reflect again on some spiritual times in our family.
When Stewart was born, it was obvious he had physical problems, but the doctors never said what they were, only that we should arrange to put him in a state facility and forget we ever had him. This, of course, was shocking to us and completely unacceptable. His bright eyes and happy smile told us otherwise.
On a visit to Salt Lake City to visit with my parents (Lee and Helen Winward), mother could see the struggles we were having in caring for Stewart. She asked if we would like her to call Apostle Marion G Romney, a childhood friend of hers, and see if he would give give Stewart a blessing. He of course readily agreed to do so. I knew beyond a doubt that Brother Romney had the power to heal whatever problems Stewart had. So it was with some sadness and questioning that during the blessing it was never said that Stewart would be made whole. But one statement in the blessing stayed very clear in my mind for all these years. It was that at a later time we would understand why his body was in this condition.
I felt that meant we would find the medical person who could bring about his recovery. This, of course, was not to be.
Stewart was always with a bright and sunny disposition. He struggled with his body that would not allow him to verbally communicate his needs - a very frustrating experience for him. Fortunately we were usually able to determine what he wanted us to know.
When Stewart was about 20 or 21, I was cleaning out a cupboard and found an old ward list that had the members listed in their Sunday School classes. I looked at the group that was born the same year as Stewart, and was shocked when I realized there was only one of the class members that was still active in the Church. All of the girls had children out of wedlock, and none of the boys had gone on missions or were now active. I suddenly realized that these would have been Stewart's friends and classmates as he grew up! Would he too have followed the same path? Then I knew that he had been given that body to protect him from the power of Satan! But because of his condition, Satan could not tempt him. It was not until after Stewart's death that I understood even more fully how important this was.
For several months before Stewart died, I would drive to Pomona each day to be with him as he struggled with the slow process of dying. (This was probably more for my benefit than his, as often he would become agitated at my being there and he wanted me to leave.)
Several months previous to this time, I had signed up to take a 2 week training course at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. This was for those who worked in the Family History Centers and I knew I could benefit our new Center if I took this training. So I made my reservation for the class and for my flight.
As the time for the class approached, Stewart began failing and I was very reluctant to leave. I felt that I must go and that I must stay, struggling to make a decision. One particular Sunday as I was driving home from my visiy with Stewart, I again pondered if I should make the trip when I needed to be with Stewart. The decision was more difficult as Bob was struggling with problems with his job, as well as with learning and performing his responsibilities as a new Bishop. He was overwhelmed with trying to fill all his obligations as breadwinner, Bishop, husband and father. We agreed that I would be with Stewart and he would do that which I could not do.
As I drove and pondered the situation, a voice very clearly said, "You will attend the class - not for yourself, but for the service you will render others." It was so audible that I turned to see if someone else was in the car, then pulled over to look in the back seat. The words have stayed with me to this day. I shared this with Bob and he agreed that I should go.
The day I was to leave, I spent with Stewart. It was obvious that he would soon be leaving us and I felt it was my responsibility as his parent, to remain with him. I called Bob to tell him of my feelings and he said, "You must go. You were told to go." I told him I would come home, pack my suitcase, and on the way to the airport we would stop and see Stewart. If Bob felt that I should still leave, I would go on to the airport. When we arrived at the hospital about 10:00 pm, Bob took Stewart in his arms and explained to him that I had to leave for awhile but that I would be back. I too held him and kissed him goodbye. That was the most difficult thing to do and I kept thinking I could not leave him. At the airport I told Bob that I could not go. Just then a member of our Stake saw us and came to see if I was going on the midnight plane to Salt Lake. He was so relieved when I said,"yes" because he had a young daughter he was putting on the plane and was concerned about the layover and change of planes in Las Vegas. He then asked if I would watch over her and Bob told him I would be happy to do so. No chance to stay home now!
So it was that Stewart was now free to go. His sister Kathy and his dad were with him when he left the next morning. I had our son Steven take me to the airport where we were waiting for the next plane out. As we waited, I had a strange feeling. It started at my feet, then progressed up my body and out my head. It was the opposite feeling when receiving a blessing. I looked at my watch and knew he was gone. I think the strange feeling was that my stewardship over this special son was now over.
I sat on the plane and wept at the loneliness I felt. The plane climbed for some time through a heavy cloud bank, then came to a brilliant clear blue sky. I felt as though I had traveled with Stewart to his place of rest, and was overcome with a feeling of joy and peace.
As time has passed, the reading and studying of our life in the next world has become clear to us that certain spirits have been given these bodies to protect them from evil and temptation.
Stewart touched many lives and hearts. His whole 25 years he was a missionary to many. It is humbling to know we were entrusted with the care of such a valiant and choice son of our Heavenly Father.
I must return to the day Stewart died. While I was in the airport returning home, I called my brother Bob, and told him Stewart would soon be gone. A few weeks later we were all in the temple together and he related the following experience: He was in the garage when I called. He hung up the phone as he wept and prayed aloud asking why this choice spirit had to go through such an agonizing time. As he walked into the house it was made known to him that Jesus Christ himself, was there to meet Stewart and take him to the other side.
What confirmation and testimony - to know that we are spirit children of a loving Heavenly Father. He knows each of us individually and knows our struggles. What great joy will come to us if we allow Him to guide us.
My greatest desire is to be worthy to see our dear Stewart -- watch him run -- hear him talk -- hold him again and feel his strength. This joy will be full if we are all there as a family -- eternally.