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Carmen Rasmusen Herbert
Reed Hallows, Jarem Hallows' younger brother, and Brad Herbert in Puerto Rico with the "Light Up Puerto Rico" humanitarian group in 2017.

Several nights ago, I awoke around 4 o’clock in the morning with a song in my head. This was a song I had been thinking about for quite some time — several years, in fact — when I found out our dear friend Jarem Hallows was diagnosed with cancer. I wrote about Jarem and his family last April, and we all hoped and prayed that he would soon be “flying the W” as his favorite sports team, the Chicago Cubs, does after a victory.

I quietly slid out of bed, and walked into our music room where I softly sang into my phone the tune and lyrics that were playing in my mind:

All your love/All your life/Helping others do it right/

Passing through the vale of tears/Like a soldier without fear

I wrote until the inspiration stopped, then climbed back into bed. On a whim, I decided to log on to social media where I saw the post from his wife, my friend Camilla, that Jarem had passed away only hours before. I shook my husband awake and told him the news while we held each other and cried. Jarem didn’t need to leave this earth to earn the title of “angel.” He was one of the best I’ve ever known, and the same goes for Camilla and their five beautiful children.

Jarem’s younger brother, Elder Reed Hallows, is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Puerto Rico — the same place Jarem served — and is an exceptional man, like his older brother. My husband, Brad, and I had the privilege of traveling to Puerto Rico with Reed last year with the service group Light Up Puerto Rico that Jarem put together after the island was hit by two hurricanes.

Reed was able to call home and talk with Jarem before he passed, a beautiful blessing I’m sure he’ll remember all his life. His mother, Lisa Hallows, posted a snippet of Reed’s email home on Facebook after he talked with Jarem that has stuck with me:

“Jarem said he had beaten cancer and that cancer hadn’t beaten him. That’s kind of hard to understand, considering that he passed away not shortly after. But as I have been pondering and thinking about his words I know that what he said is so true. His cancer, his trial, was something that could have easily turned him against God, something that could have easily changed anyone to have feelings of resentment, anger or feelings of being cheated. Rather than feel or believe any of that, Jarem used this experience of fighting cancer to strengthen his faith, reliance, and relationship with God.”

Praying for His embrace/And to pass through this with grace/

All while drinking from that bitter cup and never giving in …

Jarem didn’t become bitter while he endured this unimaginable trial that eventually took him home to his Heavenly Father. He became better, as did we, as we watched him pass through his personal vale of tears with grace. He expressed time and again that he loved his Savior, and he loved him enough to trust him. His faith was unshakable, his goodness remarkable, and his life an example of someone who, like the Savior in Gethsemane, told his Father, “not my will, but thine, be done.”

I call that a win.

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“No matter how difficult life can get and no matter what challenges we have, we always can choose whether or not we win,” Reed wrote. “Like Jarem, I plan to win.”

Jarem, thank you for showing me what true faith and trust in God look like. Thank you for always making my boys feel loved and safe, whenever they were with you. Thank you for the friendship and the memories we will cherish forever.

I can just see him/As you approach his throne/

Wrap you in his arms of peace,/A winner’s welcome home

Fly the W, my friend.