Tuesday morning Mother (Caroline Webb) was still sleeping with regular breathing. I (Emily Esther Sperry) got ready to go to work and Jeanette (Jeanette Sperry) prepared breakfast. Just before we sat down to eat; I stepped into the room where Mother was sleeping. Her breathing had changed. I called Oscar (Alfred Oscar Lunt) and Jeanette to come quickly as Mother’s condition changed. Oscar said, “Mother is dying.” Jeanette rushed to the phone and called Art (Arthur David Sperry) and Dr. Callister…before she had completed her calls, Mother had passed away.
The few moments of Mother’s passing will always be a sweet memory – one of quiet and peace. We stood by her bed and watched the last flicker of life, in a breath and a pause; then a breath and a pause, then one more breath, which was her last. Just like the flicker of a candle or the last echo of a beautiful song. No struggle, no death rattle – just a lovely passing to sleep. She had always said that was just the kind of passing she wanted. The Lord was kind to her – she didn’t have to taste death.
How I wish she could have told us how she felt when she was released from that worn-out body. I felt very close to the other side when I realized Mother was with us one moment, and gone the very next. I held her hands as she passed on…they were cold, blue and damp. There was no movement in them. She hadn’t worn her lower teeth for a few days, so I washed them and placed them back in her mouth and tied her chin up. Jeanette and I straightened her body out and it remained warm for quite a long time. The body was then taken to the Deseret Mortuary to prepare for burial. At twelve, noon, Art, Jeanette, Vera (Vera Lucille Daley) and I went to the mortuary to choose the casket and burial clothing. Her dress had been made for many years – also her underwear, which was trimmed with beautiful tatting which she made herself. The dress was of silk crepe trimmed with tatting made with fine spool silk. I made the dress and mother made the underwear. Her veil, robe and apron were beautiful and in harmony with the dress. Her shoes were crepe like the dress and her feet looked like a girls. For all she was nearly ninety, she didn’t look over sixty. One of the ladies said they had never handled a better preserved body of that age, or many years younger. Everyone said how beautiful she looked in the casket. Art said she looked like a bride.
January 1, 1941, Fred (Fred McLaughlin) and Della (Emma Della Sperry) McLaughlin drove into Salt Lake City from Santa Monica, California, reaching here in the evening. They had a very cold trip. They were not used to the cold weather. After they got warmed up, Karl (Karl Farnsworth), Della, Lillian (Lillian May Sperry) and I went to the mortuary to see Mother. We met other members of the family there. January 2, 1941, Retta (Retta Sperry) came in from Los Angeles and Wallace (Wallace Joseph Vickers) and Pearl (Eva Pearl Sperry) came down from Logan. When we reached Nephi, we met Ruth’s (Ruth Sperry) husband and daughter, Lindsey (Lindsay Boyack Snell) and Maurine (Jane Maurine Snell) Snell.
We held two funerals, one January 2, at the Deseret Mortuary in Salt Lake City, and the other one in Nephi, Utah where Mother raised her family.
To Be Continued…