I had the privilege of helping his wife put together a slideshow for the funeral/visitation. It was an honor to be so trusted by her and to have a concrete way to help ease her burdens just a little. I was able to help the Relief Society sisters set up the cultural hall with food and whatnot for the family and loved ones. They played a beautiful song at his funeral, Love Remains by Collin Raye.
The pain from Brother Bladen's passing comes not from thinking that we'll never see him again, but just from knowing that so many people are going to miss him and the wonderful influence that he had on our ward for good. I look forward to seeing Brother Bladen again someday. During our stake conference adult session, we sang a hymn that made me think of Brother Bladen, and I'm going to end on that note.
1. Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.2. What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.3. When such a friend from us departs,4. For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.
Devotion to the Savior’s name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.