Sean walked in and got his name badge. It looks wonderful on him. Page was already in tears, but Lacey, Sean and I were trying to keep it together. We then walked down a hallway to the chapel where all the missionaries and their families were to report at 12 noon. We were almost all the way in the back and the place was packed. We heard form the MTC President and his wife, but I have to admit I was hearing too much of it, I was numb. I just kept looking at people already crying and hearing lots of sniffles and sobs. We then watched a movie "Called to Serve", which was really good but way to short. Sean leaned over and said to his mother, "The movie could have been longer", then a sister missionary got up to say the closing prayer. It might have lasted 20 seconds. Sean leaned over again and said "The prayer could have been longer", I'm sure he was saying that to tease his Mom who was in full tears. They told us to take only a minute to say goodbye. A minute?!? A minute and we wont see him for two years? I gave him a big bear hug and told him I loved him and I was proud of him. He told me he loved me back. I was so happy to hear those words one last time. He was anxious to walk through the doors to get registered but we wanted to have it last longer. He walked up a few steps to the door and I was just standing there in a daze. He looked across the room at us with the biggest smile on his face and waved. I frantically started waving back and threw him a big kiss, then in an instant he walked through the door and was gone. Did he have to walk so fast? I was happy and sad at the same time. Is that possible? I walked slowly back to the car with Lacey and Page. It didn't feel good. Nobody told us it would be this hard...
This was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life !!!
We then drove by Hope's to pick up Sean's TV we left when we picked him up from BYU 6 weeks ago. Then we were back on the road to drive 8 hours to get home. We didn't leave Provo until about 3:30 and got back to Wyoming at midnight. The whole way home I wanted to talk about Sean and I definitely thought about Sean the whole way home. We walk in the door and Sean's pants, shirt and shoes are laying in the middle of the floor. It about knocked the wind out of me. Then I'm pulling some clothes from the luggage of his that he didnt want to take with him but he wore on the last couple days before going into the MTC. Man, this is so hard. I want to cry. I actually did while saying my prayers. Big sobs.
Now I know this is a joyous thing. I know that this is where he should be. I know that he is happy and excited. I know that he will have the greatest experience of his life. I know he is prepared and ready to serve. I know the Lord will bless him. I know that before we even know it, he will be coming home and will say, has it been two years already? I know we will love to see the growth in him and hear of his conversions. I know the people of Argentina will love him. I know we would be more sad if he decided not to go on a mission. I know I am proud to be a Missionary Dad. I know the Church is true and he is doing the work of the Lord. I know all these wonderful things, but my heart still aches for him and misses him.
He was gone almost a year at BYU and we didn't see him much, but this is feels much different. I'm sure if you have sent off a missionary you know what I am feeling. Page is feeling the same things.
So Elder Gilmore, we LOVE you and miss you, but are so happy for you. This will be the Best Two Years of your Life. May the Lord bless you and watch over you. Do good!