Friday, February 20, 2009


Below is the talk given by Shalaine. This is the last talk that was given at Ricky's funeral. We hope you have enjoyed remembering this remarkable young man through the words of his siblings. We owe much as a family to who we are to the challenges overcome, the lessons learned and the pure pleasure of being a part of his 24 remarkable years. We hope that there have been some memories here for all of you. We truly appreciate all that you have done and continue to do for us as a family. We want you to know that through it all that the Hendricksons continue to "MOVE FORWARD WITH FAITH."


“Just let him die,” was the prognosis when Ricky was born with a 3-inch hole in his back. Every doctor, specialist, internist and technician at two hospitals felt Ricky Hendrickson could not survive the myriad of complications accompanying Spina Bifida. His parents, Blaine and Sharon, heard the advice and prayed, talked and considered their other five children, ages 5 to 15.
They chose life.
And because of that decision, a boy who doctors said would not live past his first birthday, lived a full and rich life for 24 years. They chose life. Thus, allowing Ricky the opportunity of a lifetime of choices.
Ricky’s life was far from easy. It was a life peppered with doctor’s visits, hospital stays, major surgeries, many illnesses, and a wide variety of limitations due to his handicap. But mom was always quick to remind him that he was “handicapable” and to not let these things get in the way of his ability to learn, dream and live his life. Ricky’s surgeries ranged from having a shunt put in his head to having every vertebrae in his back broken so a metal rod could be inserted in his spine, allowing him to sit up straighter and breath better. When Ricky turned 8, we stopped counting his operations. The total at that time was 40. But never once did I hear Ricky complain He never grumbled or whined about having to have another surgery, another visit to the doctor, another tube, another medicine, another limitation placed on him. Ricky was not afraid of what lay ahead or what he had to go through to get there. Ricky chose courage.
Also at the age of 8, Ricky was chosen by the Make A Wish Foundation to have a special wish come true. Ricky’s wish was to have his whole family together in Las Vegas to see the Oak Ridge Boys, Siegfried and Roy, and “Starlight Express”. He rode in a private jet and limo, ate great food, stayed in a hotel for the first time, and was able to meet the cast of each show backstage. All of this he chose to share with his family. There is nothing Ricky wouldn’t do for each one of us. He loved having family over to visit, taking his nieces and nephews bowling, and playing monopoly with his big brother Greg (or anyone else he could con into playing with him). Ricky knew and understood the value of eternal families. Time with his mother always ranked at the top of his “to-do list”. Whether it was going to the movies, riding the rollercoaster’s at Disneyland, or just snuggling on the couch, the two of them were inseparable. There was nowhere he would rather be than at home with the people he loved. Ricky chose family.
Ricky was not ashamed of who he was. He made no excuses for his handicap and was never embarrassed. In fact, he would often use it to his advantage. It was not an uncommon sight in our house to see Ricky run over someone’s toes only to laugh hysterically after. He made the most of riding the elevators when everyone else was walking up the stairs and had no problem cutting in the front of the line at Disneyland. Another one of his favorite things to do was race. He, of course, always won. I can still remember the time when our family met soon after taking a family picture to look over the proofs. The photographer, with what I’m sure where the best of intentions, had taken Ricky’s trachea out of the picture. I don’t know if I have ever seen him so angry. He wanted that trachea back in the picture right away claiming, “That’s who I am!” Ricky chose confidence.
Ricky is by far the kindest and most generous person I know. I had the special privilege of being able to be his caregiver for several years. During this time I came to know Ricky better and more intimately than ever before. He loved to talk and sing. Though he was very much not a morning person, when I would wake him up singing and dancing around the room it was not long before he broke into a big smile and sang and danced along with me. Ricky was also an amazing listener. During this time he became one of my best friends as we shared our thoughts, dreams, triumphs and heartbreaks with one another. I saw first hand as I cared for him how there was no room for pride in his life. There were few things he could do without assistance, and he always accepted the help with grace and dignity. One of the things we often spent time doing was going out to serve others or buy thoughtful gifts for friends and family. Ricky loved to give. And one of the things he gave most freely was his warm and infectious smile. He was kind to every one he met and I can honestly say that I have never heard him say anything bad about anybody. Ricky chose love.
But the one thing I will always remember and admire Ricky for was his positive attitude. Ricky was a fighter to the end. The phrase “give up” was not in his vocabulary. In a newspaper article written in 2000, my mom told the reporter, “Ricky is the happiest of my six children and has brought our family the most wondrous, love filled, tender years.” The one with the most problems, the hardest trials, and the greatest limitations, was always the happiest. He truly embodied our family motto “Hendrickson’s Never Say Can’t”. In that same article, Ricky, at 15 years old, puts life into perspective. “I have learned you have to be happy”, he said. “If you aren’t happy, nothing is worth it. You just have to deal with your problems and get on with it.” How much we have all learned from Ricky and his positive “can-do” attitude. Ricky chose to be happy.
When Ricky was in elementary school he memorized a poem by William Ernest Henley. This poem titled “Invictus” quickly became his favorite and he never forgot it. At anytime you could ask him to recite it and this is what he would repeat:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit form pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Ricky truly was the captain of his soul and the maker of his destiny. With God beside him, he made good and righteous decisions throughout his life. Because of his choices and the opportunity we had to know him, we will never be the same. Ricky had the ability to imprint himself on everyone he came into contact with. Whether we needed more courage, confidence, perspective, love or cheer, Ricky helped us to achieve it. Ricky lived his life to the fullest that it allowed taking us all along for the ride. Ricky chose life.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I hope that you continue to enjoy the talks given at Ricky's funeral. Please enjoy the talk given by Jon. We continue to appreciate your cards and letters and all the support we receive from all of you each day. We are overwhelmed by the friendship exhibited by so many.

I’m still in a bit of shock: Ricky could’ve gone anywhere and seen anyone and he chooses Siegfried and Roy! It was a great vacation though. One week in Vegas with the whole family. We have one-liners that we still use today from that time…I just can’t get Starlight Express out of my head.

My memories of Ricky are many and I have tried to limit them to 5-7 minutes. For those who knew him intimately, then you know that is a hard task. When I was eleven years old, and I found out Mom was pregnant, I couldn’t wait to have a younger brother. Not that having 2 younger sisters wasn’t great, it was…but I really wanted a younger brother and I knew I would soon get my chance. I could hardly wait to teach him all about sports, play catch with him, and show him how to look up fantasy stats in the LA Times sports page. However, sometimes life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect it.

With apologies to Benjamin Button, I believe Ricky’s life could be summed up in the title The Curious Case of Richard Hendrickson because like Benjamin Button, Ricky’s 24 years on this earth were truly miraculous. In the movie, Benjamin was born old, wasn’t supposed to survive the night, but was loved unconditionally by the mother who raised him. Because of that love, Benjamin not only survived the night, he grew younger as the years went on and was able to experience life in his own way. There were many pitfalls for Benjamin but he understood them, accepted them, and grew to love them because he was living life as only he knew how.

My brother Ricky was Benjamin Button 24 years ago. He was born with many complications, wasn’t supposed to survive the night, but because of the unconditional love of my father and mother, he not only survived the night…he survived for 24 years. Even knowledgeable doctors called him a breathing miracle. Because of my parent’s love, Ricky grew in wisdom and glory as the years went on and was able to experience life in his own way. Through the countless surgeries and painful pitfalls that came his way, Ricky’s knowledge of the gospel became clear as he understood them, accepted them, and grew to love them because he was living life as only he knew how.

One distinct memory I have of Ricky was when he was around 2 years old. My brothers and I decided to grab a blanket, put Ricky in the middle, and throw him in the air. We knew we weren’t supposed to do this especially when Mom came running into the room but we knew he would love it. And love it, he did; however, I think we cursed him for life because as he grew older, any roller coaster with a severe drop in it struck a sudden dread in him probably recalling the fear/joy he felt during that time when he was only 2.

As my brother grew older, we learned as older siblings that he just wanted to be part of the group: whether it was playing Nintendo, eating dinner, going to church dances, or doing his one of his favorite pastimes, playing Monopoly. Many pictures we have are ones with him smiling from ear to ear just grateful for being included. And this never went away. When his nieces and nephews would visit in his later years, he loved being the Pied Piper giving them rides in his wheelchair, showing them how to play Wii, and of course breaking out his multiple versions of Monopoly. My kids loved playing with him and Ricky loved being an Uncle.

In D+C 88:123-125, it reads: See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires. Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated. And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.

This was my brother’s creed…..well, except for the sleeping in part. Us Hendricksons love to sleep in. Ricky loved everyone unconditionally. He never coveted what he didn’t have. I don’t remember him one time saying, “Whoa is me. I wish I could walk. I wish I could breathe. I wish I didn’t have a shunt on my head. I wish I didn’t have a trach in my throat.” As a matter of fact, in one of our family pictures, the photographer thought she would do him a favor and photoshop his trach out making him appear, I guess, more “normal.” I don’t think I’ve seen Ricky more upset….well except for the time when he was told by my parents that he would have to stop eating BBQ chips, cheese, and ketchup. Now that was not a pretty sight. Anyway, he was upset because he knew he wasn’t “normal” and he never wanted to be. The trach set him apart from others and I believe he saw it as a symbol for who he was and who he had become.

Ricky’s “mantle” was charity. He loved to serve others. When told he wouldn’t be able to serve a “normal” 2 year mission, he decided to go on a “service mission.” He would get up early, put on a shirt and tie, slide on his nametag, and have my father, mother, or nurse drive him to the Family History Center. It was there where he would spend many hours a day serving others for the next 2 years. Those might’ve been the happiest years of his life just like they are for most missionaries. He felt close to our Heavenly Father because he knew just like King Benjamin taught that “when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God.”

The veil was very thin for Ricky. He knew where he came from. He knew why he was here and he knew where he was going. I truly believe that there are those special spirits in this life who are waited on by others and it is those same special spirits that will again be waited on in the next life in a much different capacity. My brother was and is one of the special spirits. I feel proud to have known him so intimately. I feel proud to have learned from him. I feel proud to have him teach me all that he did about strength and perseverance. I feel proud to call him brother. And I will feel proud to wait on him in the next life.

Near the end of the movie, Benjamin Button says:

"Along the way you bump into people who make a dent on your life. Some people get struck by lightning. Some are born to sit by a river. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim the English Channel. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people can dance."

If you knew my brother, he made a dent in your life. Some people (like Ricky) get struck with spina bifida. Some people (like Ricky), have a trach so they can talk. Some people (like Ricky) go through countless surgeries in order to live life. Some people (like Ricky) serve 2 year missions. Some people (like Ricky) love to play Monopoly. And some people (live Ricky) love to dance.”

I know he’s up there dancing circles around everyone and smiling from ear to ear and I can hardly wait to be reunited with him and see him in his full glory.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Below is Stephanie's talk from Ricky's funeral. I hope you will enjoy reading and remembering this terrific young man.


Reman: He was my baby brother. Reman, Shalaine, and I were what was deemed the “2nd Family” around our house…or the “spoiled ones” as my brother’s call us. Being only 6 when Reman was born I didn’t understand the severity of his condition. I think that was also due in part to how my mom continued to make life as normal as possible for my sister and I. Shalaine and I loved dressing up Reman like a girl, making him play barbies with us, and laying on his bed watching movies for hours. I took many trips to LA Children’s hospital with Reman. He endured the many hospital visits with a cheerful attitude while I looked forward to the Yoshinoa afterward. I don’t know how a child as sick as Reman could endure it with such an amazingly positive attitude. A remarkable trait that he carried throughout his life.

Rickster: He was an oldies fan. More than that he was OBSESSED with the Beatles…I like to think I introduced them to him. He has posters of them covering his walls, he knows every word to every song, I even think he has nesting dolls that look like the Beatles. Everyone in the family inherited some form of OCD from my mom, and Rickster’s was definitely manifest in the Beatles. Rickster also loved all things having to do with crime drama’s. CSI, Law and Order, Crossing Jordon…he has seen every episode of every series. We considered having the Law and Order theme song as our opening song…but since it has no words we opted for something else. Rickster loved Harry Potter. He has read every book…5 times, plus listened to them on tape, plus watched all the movies. I’m sure he is in heaven right now upset that he hasn’t seen the forth coming movies.

Slickdog: He was the Ultimate Gamer. Slickdog loved Monopoly. He would take on anyone at anytime. It didn’t matter if it was beatles monopoly, golf monopoly, wizard of oz monopoly, or Utah monopoly…he loved it. The only person he couldn’t beat was my brother Greg, then just this Christmas he masacared him at Wii Monopoly. Slickdog loved video games and bowling as well. Anything he could play and enjoy with other people he was up for…as long as he wonJ Slickdog loved the Anaheim Angels. He would go to the games any chance he got. Slickdog would participate in our family baseball fantasy league only if he could have Vladamir Gurrero and Garret Anderson. I remember him chastising my mom for going to the games just for the food—how could she desecrate his players like that? Although I think part of the reason he loved them is because the team wore his favorite color in the whole world-Red.

Richard George: He was the serious side. Although I will go on the record that he hated to be called his full name. Richard George was stalwart about the gospel. When he was 8 he wanted to be baptized. Not because everyone else was doing it…but because he knew it was an important step in his progression in the gospel. It seemed like an impossibility to all of us since he couldn’t get any water in his trach and total immersion in the water was what was required. But Richard George perservered—he found a way to do it and was baptized. When Richard George was 18 he wanted to serve a mission. Again this seemed impossible to us. How can someone with 24 hour nursing and constant doctor visits serve a 2 year mission? But Richard George found a way to do it and served a 2 year full time service mission in the family history center. Richard George also wanted to be temple endowed. Many of us told him he didn’t need to do that, that it could wait until later. But Richard George knew he needed to make those important promises in the temple to progress and so he did it. Richard George served faithfully in all his callings and attended his meetings and activites. I remember him scolding me once for leaving after sacrament meeting—although it irritated me at the time I knew he was right. Richard George loved the Lord and wanted to follow his commandments and serve him.

Rick: He was the stubborn, enduring side. Rick and I thought we were the most stubborn people we knew…and we were right! But without that stubborn streak I don’t think he could have made it through 40+ surgeries, physical limitations, constant illness and pain, and several near death experiences. He fought for life with every breath he took. He didn’t want to just lay in bed he wanted to battle his limitations and enjoy life. Even when he was extremely sick he would tell us “I’m Fine”. Rick did not want to be seen for what he couldn’t do, but for what he could do. He graduated from high school, attended college, he traveled, and he served at the Children’s museum and at the nursing home. Even in his last few weeks on earth he battled against all odds. He made improvements the doctors never thought he could and continued to amaze us all. Rick truly endured till the bitter end.

Ricky: what he always wanted to be called. Ricky was the social butterfly, party animal, the thoughtful friend. Ricky started having parties at age one: it was a Disney party and everyone that knew him came to the house to celebrate. He went on to have Power Ranger parties, pool parties, game parties, chocolate fountain parties, oldies dance parties, catered parties, and surprise parties. Ricky never met a party he didn’t like and he was the life of that party. He was zooming around in his wheelchair talking to people, dancing, making sure there was enough food, and having fun. Ricky loved people. If he couldn’t be around people, he was calling people, he was emailing people, he was texting people. He craved social interaction and it fueled him. Ricky always had other’s best intentions in mind. He wanted to give all his friends and family gifts for every occasion. He was constantly giving advice to his friends, family, and nurses. No wonder he wanted to be psychologist!

I will remember my brother as all these things: as Reman, my little brother with a positive attitude, Rickster: the guy with great taste in music and in crime dramas, Slickdog: who would do anything for a game of monopoly or a night at the stadium, Richard George: who loved the Lord and sought to serve him, Rick: a guy who fought against all odds, enduring till the end, and Ricky: the thoughtful social party animal. I know that he is with my mom right now, throwing a party in heaven, smiling, knowing it was all worth it.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Posted below is Jeff's talk at Ricky's funeral. Once again thank you for all of your cards and letters. We really appreciate your thoughts and prayers at this time.


As Ricky’s eldest sibling and oldest brother I have a unique perspective on his life. Being 16 years his elder I have distinct memories of his birth and early years of life in addition to his young adulthood.

With being his eldest brother comes the unique responsibility to set a good example and to incessantly tease him. This was not only my responsibility but also an oldest brothers right. I had all kinds of fun with my brother thru the years. I’ll share just a couple of my favorites.

When Ricky was young and just learning how to talk he was outfitted with a “valve” for his tracheotomy. For those who are unfamiliar, the tracheotomy, or trach for short, is a hole in the neck that allowed my brother to breath more effectively. The trach is actually set below the vocal cords so in order to speak he would have to cover the trach with his finger or a “valve” is secured on top of the trach which allows air to come in but not out. Therefore, when he would exhale the air would be forced past his trach, past his vocal chords and out his mouth…so he could speak.

Now this valve was not only a blessing for Ricky so he could speak but a blessing for his siblings as well…since its simple removal “turned him off”. My brothers and I would also play an entertaining game with Ricky and his “valve”. We would make him laugh. While this sounds harmless enough, the game was to see how violent the laugh would be. The more violent the laughs the greater the initial exhale. This would force a large amount of air, quickly, past the “valve” causing it to pop off due to the pressure. The game of course was to see how far the valve would actually fly.

As Ricky got older, he was outfitted with an electric wheelchair…which all who knew him knew he “drove” way to fast. That wheelchair never met a wall or a door jam that it didn’t like. This electric chair gave my brother independence…it gave me, a wealth of opportunities to have “fun” with my brother. I loved switching the speed from the picture of the turtle to the rabbit when he wasn’t looking. I suspect from the look on my brothers face when he moved the joystick that this was not just exciting for me.

Additionally, whenever I would sit next to him I would casually switch the chair to the “on” position without him noticing…wait for a bit…and then move the joystick when he wasn’t looking. Again, this produced the look of excitement on both our faces…and maybe a few excited words from my brother.

I could go on and on sharing stories about the great fun we had…

My fondest memories of my brother though are founded in the person that he is. You see, my brother never viewed himself as having physical handicaps. Not once, in twenty four (24) years, did he vocalize to me a negative comment about his physical limitations. He was confident in who he was, a son of God…his Eternal Father. He knew he was special and that he could have a positive effect on people.

This knowledge moved him forward. It inspired him to help others. He loved to serve in the church and always magnified his callings. Receiving a calling and serving others in the church was the highlight of his life…he loved every opportunity to serve.

A favorite parable of mine, taught by The Savior at the end of His mortal ministry, has always reminded me of my brother and the service he gave. The Savior taught the value of service to our fellowmen when he said to the righteous:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Ricky’s life has been and will continue to be a driving force for good within me. He is the bravest person I have ever known. He inspires me and always has…he is my hero.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I have received a number of requests to post the talks given at Ricky's funeral to the blog. The first post is the talk given by Greg. We certainly appreciate all the support that we have been given during this time. We are doing well as a family, and know that it is through your faith and prayers that we are able to move forward.

“Joy to the World, the Lord is come;Let earth receive her King!Let ev’ry heart prepare him roomAnd Saints and angels sing.”
This rapturous hymn by Isaac Watts expresses the heartfelt conviction of all devoted Christians in the divine nature of Jesus Christ. The song was a favorite of Ricky’s. I believe that it best expresses his testimony of implicit hope and faith in the Savior Of The World and of his enthusiasm for our Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness. With this hymn, like Ricky’s ever-present smile and characteristic thumbs-up, there is so much more there, there. Ricky loved to have Joy to the World sung on many occasions including at his baptism. I rejoice in the opportunity to stand and sing it with you at the close of this great celebration of Ricky’s life today.
Upon first hearing the good news of the possibility of an earth life and a Heavenly King willing lead us to toward godliness, my brother and I “shouted for joy” as “the morning stars sang together” (see Job 38:7). We stood with all of the throng of the family of God in a council where the plan for mankind’s progression toward unbounded happiness was presented (Abraham 3:22-28). We were spirits, perfect in form, having all our faculties and mental powers unimpaired. (See, Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., 5 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979, 3:19.) We knew that the progression we craved required us to be subjected to the cruel and indiscriminate circumstances upon the promised earth that would render some lame, some blind, some deaf, and others subjected to all manner of infirmities. Perhaps we knew at that time the limitations of body and mind that would be ours in mortality, but we certainly knew that whatever our earthly afflictions, they would be limited to our temporal/earth life experience and would, therefore, be temporary. (See e.g., Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith , comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft Inc., 1955, 2:292-294). We knew that the pain, suffering, grief and misery of all mankind would be borne by Jesus Christ and that those who reached with faith toward his healing grace would find peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come (See e.g., 2 Nephi 9:21-22; D&C 18:11-13; D&C 59:23). Joy to the World!
Following the eternal pattern we were entered into earth life through families. It was the intention of our Father in Heaven that we receive in our families his reflected love, care and compassion. That in our families we would learn to respond with dignity to the impulses of the light of Christ or conscience with which all mankind is endowed from birth. (See e.g., The Family; A Proclamation to the World, The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, (This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah)) . When there are those that belong to our family, or that are otherwise close to us, that suffer from some impairment, we are rightfully saddened and we spend endless hours pleading with the Lord for miraculous healing. However, Apostle Boyd K. Packer reminds us, “The very purpose for which the world was created, and man introduced to live upon it, requires that the laws of nature operate in cold disregard for human feelings. We must work out our salvation without expecting the laws of nature to be exempted from us. Natural law is, on rare occasions, suspended in a miracle, but mostly the [disabled], like the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, wait endlessly for the moving of the water.” (Boyd K. Packer, The Moving of the Water, Ensign, May 1991, pg. 8).
And though we wait and watch with our loved ones as they endure the cruelty of their physical condition we must remember that disease, deformity and age render our bodies no less sacred. They were created in the image of God and are the crowning creation of Deity. The function and capacity of the individual parts and organs, from the fingers to the heart, to the brain and so on are miraculous and represent the divine, omnipotent genius of God, who is our Eternal Father (for more on the miracle of the human body see, Russell M. Nelson, The Magnificence of Man, New Era, Oct. 1987, pg. 44).
The question is often asked how a loving God could allow some to suffer so much in life. There are even those that frame their contention against the existence of God around such questions. To do so, however, places the myopic reasoning and logic of man above the expansive love and plan of God. The Lord has said:
Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings, wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet but is nigh at hand. . . .
After that cometh the day of my power, then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come. Behold I, the Lord, have spoken it. (D&C 58 3-4; 11-12)
Apostle Neal A. Maxwell, a man familiar with suffering related to disease, once stated:
So much of life’s curriculum . . . consists of efforts by the Lord to get and keep our attention. Ironically, the stimuli He uses are often that which is seen by us as something to endure. Sometimes what we are actually being asked to endure is His “help”: help to draw us away from the cares of the world; help to draw us away from self-centeredness; attention-getting help when we have ignored the still, small voice; help in shaping our souls; and help to keep the promises made so long ago. . . .
There is clearly no immunity from such stimuli or other afflictions, whether of the self-induced variety or the divine-tutorial type. Either way, however, the Lord can help us so that our afflictions can be “swallowed up in the joy of Christ” (Alma 31:38). The sour notes are lost amid a symphony o f salvational sounds.
(Neal A. Maxwell, Thy Will Be Done, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft Inc., 1988, ppg. 118-119). Joy to the World! Certainly my brother responded well to his often received “stimuli”. He was rarely consumed by the cares of the world, self-centered, or insensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Many of the infirm, though they move through life seeking the enlargement of mind and spirit, await the day of blessed release (note that Joseph Smith once stated, that “all the minds and spirits of God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 354). They recognize that once they have finished their sojourn upon the earth, that they will, as the prophet Alma tells us “be restored to their proper and perfect form” (Alma 40:23). Modern day revelation states “Their sleeping dust [will] be resurrected to its perfect frame, bone to bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they may receive a fullness of joy.” (D& C 138:17)
Likely due to its universal application, the gift of resurrection is often given secondary significance with the grandeur of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Without it, however, the atonement would have no meaning. Perhaps the disabled and infirm understand and appreciate the interdependent miracles of atonement and resurrection better than the rest of us. They know that through the resurrection they will be restored and made whole, never to suffer disease or affliction for all eternity. They understand that through the atonement they are provided with the day to day healing power of Jesus Christ and the ability to live forever in the comforting presence of our Heavenly Father. In and through Christ are these miracles available. “Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: . . . [He] was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. . . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. . . . He poured out his soul unto death and he was he was numbered with transgressors;” (Isaiah 53: 4-5, 12) “and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).
He is the Great Healer, the Deliverer, the First Fruits of them that Slept, the Second Comforter, the Balm of Gilead, the Joy of the World! Of him I sing praise, in his holy name, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Richard (Ricky) George Hendrickson of Rancho Mirage CA passed away on January 23, 2009 in SanBernardino CA at the age of 24 after a heroic battle with Adult Pulmonary Distress Syndrome. He was born January 14, 1985 in Mission Viejo CA to Blaine E and Sharon S. Hendrickson. He attended school in Laguna Hills CA and Cathedral City CA, graduating from Cathedral City High School. He also attended College of the Desert. Ricky was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints and served a two year Service Mission. Ricky struggled throughout his life with physical ailments, but had a quick mind and an engaging personality the endeared him to everyone that he met. He will be remembered most for his passionate desire to be of service to others and his refusal to let his handicaps get in the way of leading a full and productive life.
Ricky is survived by his father Blaine E Hendrickson of Rancho Mirage CA, 3 brothers, Jeffery (Jennifer) of San Clemente CA, Gregory (Becky) of Kealakekua HI, Jonathan (Lou Ann) of Laguna Beach CA; 2 sisters, Stephanie (Eric) McClellan of Redlands CA, Shalaine (Cort) Green of Rancho Mirage CA. He also leaves behind 14 wonderful nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his mother Sharon.
Services will be held on Friday January 30, 2009 at 11:00 AM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel Located at 72-960 Park View Drive Palm Desert CA. There will be a viewing on January 29th from 7:00 to 8:30 PM and on the 30th from 9:30 to 10:30 AM at the same location. Dedication of the grave will take place at Desert Memorial Park at 2:00PM 21705 Da Vall Dr., Cathedral City CA. In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made to the Orange County/Inland Empire Chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We Love You, Ricky!

Last night at 11:45 PM, our brother, son, and friend passed away. His pneumonia had been getting rapidly worse and his oxygen levels had dropped significantly. Doctors and nurses did all they could, but Ricky's time had come. He passed away quickly and peacefully with his father, his sister Stephanie, his nurse Monica, and Cort and myself by his side. Though we are all greatly saddened by the loss of our dear Ricky, we know this is also a joyous time as he returns to his Heavenly Father freed from the body that so tried him. We knew as soon as his spirit left that he ran straight for his mother's arms.

Ricky was the heartbeat of the Hendrickson family. He was the glue that often held us together. How grateful I am for all the things that he taught me by his words, example, and love. There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of Heavenly Father's choicest spirits and the light he brought daily to us all will be greatly missed. Thank you for all of your kind words, your thoughts and many prayers throughout this past year and a half. They have been a strength to us all.

Sharon loved the Make a Wish Foundation because of all they did for Ricky and the experiences they worked to provide for him and the joy they brought when his "wish" came true. So, as with Sharon, we ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to this special charity. You can visit their site and make a donation at If you do chose to donate we ask that donations be made to the Orange County Inland Empire Chapter. Information and details of Ricky's funeral will be forthcoming.