One of the harder tests for Mother and me has been the illness she has suffered with the tumors in her head. The last year that I was bishop she was getting some serious symptoms of dizziness, severe headaches then loss of memory. She finally was able to get it correctly diagnosed by Dr. Powell, a neurosurgeon, of Salt Lake City. He operated on her for the first time in July of 1958. I was surely scared. He said that many times people do not survive this type of operation. He sensed my concern for he came down immediately after her four hour surgery to show me the orange size tumor and to assure me that he felt good about the surgery. He felt she would pull through and be alright. This tumor was not cancerous, he said. It is called a hemangioma or blood vessel tumor. He said he tried very carefully to get it all. We learned later there were two things we did not know and which if known may have been very hard to cope with; one that this tumor does tend to grow back and two that it may become cancerous. Each of these things happened in Mother's case. Sometimes ignorance is a blessing in disguise. It was for us. Within a years time Millie had regained her memory and she took up life in a normal way. I believe our work in the temple and the prayers uttered in her behalf by our friends and family have been helpful in this restoration to good health and full faculties.
She went 16 years symptom free then she had to have another tumor removed behind her left eye. Even following this Dr. Powell felt encouraged. He said, "If we can give her another 16 years that will be all she needs." However within two years she was having symptoms and her left eye had to be removed and by now the diagnosis had taken a more somber tone. It was questionable but soon became definitely cancerous. Surgery was of no avail. We tried a cure from Mexico, that too proved futile. Eventually she underwent 35 radium treatments. Nothing would stop its growth. The years 1976 through 1978 were hard for Mother who had to go through this and for me to have to watch her go through it I tried my best to take care of her. She refused to go to the hospital at the last. She wanted to stay at home. Our daughters were super to help, without them I know I could not have made it. Neighbors and friends were kind and considerate.
On April 12, 1978, Arlene came in from Provo to be with me and help. She says she felt an urgency in coming. I was so relieved to have her that night. I went to my own bed for the first time in months. She stayed in with Mother. Millie passed away quietly in the early hours of April 13th. Arlene felt an exhilarating feeling at her passing, as if mother were rejoicing for having been set free from this heavy burden. When I awoke at 6 a.m. and was told mother had gone I went in
to see her. The thing that really impressed me was the expression of joy and peace that had settled over her face. Her eye lids were closed. Her mouth was shut in a slight smile. It was as if she had lingered to be sure she looked her best. Her request was that she not be viewed in the open casket. I expressed this to Brother Nalder, the mortician. He said, "Wait and see what we can do." Then when he called and told us to come in to see her, I was amazed and very happy. He'd removed the ugly tumor from her eye socket and repaired the area so that it was hardly noticeable. She looked beautiful, even in death. A real miracle had been performed, it seemed to me. I decided to hold the viewing with the casket open. Friends and family poured in to pay their respect and give love and support to us. The services except for four numbers was given by the family. Millie was buried in the Fielding Memorial Park Cemetery just south of Idaho Falls, Idaho.