I have known Danny Gatten almost my entire life, since we were toddlers; and he was my best friend when we were young children. I followed him around everywhere... we often walked to and from school together, sometimes walking backwards in the snow so that no one would know that we were coming instead of going; we would play kick-the-can in the street with the other neighborhood kids; we went to the movies, rode bikes, played board games, jumped on the trampoline. Every Sunday night, our family would go over to their house and the kids would all head downstairs to fight over whether we should watch "Swiss Family Robinson" (the Gatten's choice) or "The Wonderful World of Disney" (the Holso's choice)... usually agreeing to trade off every other week; our parents would be up in the kitchen - our Dads making milkshakes for everyone and our Moms chatting at the kitchen table as women tend to do.
Danny was a fun, popular, and kind person. When other kids would tease me on the playground, he always stood up for me and would invite me to hang out with him and his friends or let me sit on the sidelines while he played ball with his buddies. And, honestly, that's all I really wanted to do because I worshiped that boy! I thought he was the cutest, coolest guy in the world and he was MY friend. Oh, how I dreamed that someday he would be more!
I guess I share all this because I, like most girls, have never forgotten my first love. And I am feeling sad that although I remember the boy, I never really got to know the man... and now he's gone and I will never have that chance. And it's such a shame that someone so young (only a year older than me) should pass away. I also feel sympathy for his family who was almost like a part of my own. Nearly every childhood memory has the Gattens in it - they played such an important role in our lives.
"Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love... 'Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.' (D&C 42:45) Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life."
~Russell M. Nelson
I'm grateful for my knowledge of the plan of salvation. My testimony of God's eternal plan of happiness brings me a measure of comfort and I hope his family feels that too.