After retirement and wife's death, Wilcox still teaching great lessons

Published: Tuesday, May 31 2011 4:00 a.m. MDT

"Look for a phrase to hang the application on so the story sticks with people, so they can explain or encompass the principle in their mind in a few words," he said. "Once people hear the phrase, like 'The Fourth Watch,' it is in their head forever."

The conversation then turned to the title of his new book, currently titled, "Sunset," which he hopes will help readers cope with the death of a loved one. It contains lessons he learned during the difficult, final months of his wife's life. Laura Wilcox died of brain cancer last December.

"It has been a continent shift for me," Wilcox said. "I stay extremely busy. I have an aggressive travel schedule doing LDS tours. I have been writing. For me, writing is healing."

When it was determined that chemotherapy served no purpose for his wife, Wilcox asked the Lord for what he should pray.

"Pray that she will draw all the joy out of life that she can, then she will pass quickly, was the Lord's response," Wilcox said.

Wonderful memories were made as they traveled to Italy, Peru, the beaches of Normandy, Disneyland and the national parks in southern Utah, in addition to visits with children and grandchildren. As Laura's health declined in December, Christmas was celebrated four times. In her final days the cancer took her speech, but she could hear.

"I would say things and I knew she was listening because she could cry," Wilcox said. She quietly passed away on Dec. 28.

During those final months, Wilcox carried a little black notebook and wrote down his thoughts, feelings and impressions, knowing that sacred, important things were being shared and learned. Those precious lessons became the foundation of "Sunset." The book, a memorial to his wife, could be released by Deseret Book early next year.

"Grief is love's shadow," he said. "If you are going to love, you have to put up with grief sooner or later, but grief intensifies love. Grief drives love into the deeper parts of your soul and being. Maybe the passing of a loved one is as important as the altar in making an eternal marriage."

As we concluded our visit, he shared a parting thought about the power of the scriptures.

"Every night that I pray, I thank God for the scriptures," he said. "They address just about any situation life can hand you. They don't make life any easier, but they make life easier to deal with. They help you understand everything that happens to you. They help you respond to life, face life, enjoy life and live life better. God didn't write a bad book."

Technically, Wilcox is retired, but he continues to teach great lessons.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com

Twitter: tbtoone

Connect tracking

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere