While working on my never-ending list of duties in the house, I enjoy listening to stories about the rich history of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It brings my soul joy to know that so many of our forebearers gave everything they had to follow the Lord’s prophet for the sake of righteousness. Some of the sacrifices they made were absolutely heart-wrenching. As I think about how many children were buried in shallow graves along the handcart journey, my heart aches for the mothers and fathers who had to lay their little ones down, not having a permanent place to rest their small bodies until the resurrection of our Lord. Those surely were Abrahamic sacrifices.
Death is a part of mortality. We experienced our own loss of a member of our household just weeks ago. It came as a shock, but the knowledge of the gospel plan has helped with our grief. It seems that over the past year and a half, more people have had experience with loss than normal. Death at the end of a long life is easier to accept than the loss of a young life. We feel sorrow for all that could have been. Children, in their purity, seem too innocent to have their lives cut short.
My dear friend lost her sweet boy over two years ago. I was able to wrap my arms around her recently. As I spoke with her about her family’s experience, I grew teary. I could feel the weight on her shoulders, her sorrow, and how she struggles to get up and be present for the rest of her family. She said something so beautiful and profound that I knew I wanted to share it. This wise mother expressed her appreciation for the veil which keeps us from remembering all of the details of our previous residence. Her longing to be with her son again makes her anxious for the day when she can hold him once more. Comparing that to fully knowing Heavenly Father and the Savior without that veil of forgetfulness would be torture here in mortality. We wouldn’t be able to grow because we would be so focused on what we were missing.
While the gospel helps us have peace by understanding what happens to our loved ones when they depart earth life, we still go through a grieving process and should not feel like we are doing something wrong by struggling. The Savior said in the 42nd section of the Doctrine & Covenants, “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die...”
When the loss feels like too much to bear, it is important that you seek help through a grief counselor, support groups, or a close friend who can open their arms and heart when you need it. You do not need to struggle through this kind of pain alone. Most importantly, seek the comfort of our Redeemer who descended below all things. He truly is the Master Healer.
President Steven Lund spoke at conference not long ago. He said, “A few years ago, our little family went through what many families face in this fallen world. Our youngest son, Tanner Christian Lund, contracted cancer. He was an incredible soul, as nine-year-olds tend to be. He was hilariously mischievous and, at the same time, stunningly spiritually aware. Imp and angel, naughty and nice. When he was little and was every day bewildering us with his shenanigans, we wondered if he was going to grow up to be the prophet or a bank robber. Either way, it seemed that he was going to leave a mark on the world. And then he became desperately ill.”
No prophet, apostle, member, or servant of the Lord is exempt from suffering. President Nelson also knows the pain of losing a child, but he is a wonderful example of looking forward with faith to the joyous reunion promised through the resurrection and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
- “Finding Joy in Christ”, President Steven J. Lund, October 2020 General Conference