This week’s post has a bit more of a somber tune. This morning at 6:05am, our beloved Prophet, Thomas S. Monson’s sweet wife passed away. My heart and my prayers are with the Monson family as they cope with their loss.
The times that I have experienced loss in my life aren’t anything I’d call heart breaking or anything. I feel sad for others who lose loved ones, but when someone I know passes on, I don’t feel sorrowful. That may seem like a horrible thing to say, but I am not a horrible person. I have been lucky enough to not have anyone so close to me die. The times that I have had to deal with death on a personal level are very few. Sure, I’ve been to a few funerals, but mostly when I was a baby and I don’t really remember them. The only deaths that I can remember that affected me at all, may seem like they aren’t that important. However, they were and are important to me.
The first one was my kitten, Chuckie. He was MY kitten. Growing up on the farm, we always had a gaggle of cats hanging around, because we could take care of them. Chuckie was an outside kitten who- like most cats- was curious. His curiosity got the better of him one day and he decided that it would be a good idea to climb up under the hood of my dad’s car. When my dad left for work that day, he heard a thump and a bump and stopped the car to see what he hit. Chuckie wasn’t dead, but one of his paws had a hole in it. My dad brought the cat inside and my mom and older brothers took care of him while my dad went to work. When I found out about it, I was really sad that he had been hurt, but happy that I would get to spend sometime with him inside of the house. He started to get better over the next few days, so we decided that he could return to live outside. Unfortunately, his paw became even worse, to the point that we had to put him down. Since I grew up on the farm, I understood that it was better to kill the animal, than to let it suffer. I was the deciding factor when I finally told my dad I was okay with Chuckie being put down so he wouldn’t suffer. I cried for a long time after that because he was my little baby kitten, but in reality it was better for him to have his final rest quick and almost painless, instead of waiting for him to die of infection or because a coyote ate him.
The only human death that affected me- or I should say that made me tear up- was the death of a good family friend named Wayne. When we first met him, he was living in his van. My oldest brother promised that my mom would crochet a blanket for him, because it was Christmas time and getting colder. Because of the kindness of my brother with the offer of a blanket (and the act of receiving an actual handmade blanket) and other kind acts, he eventually joined the church. He was able to get back on his feet and start his life again! Over the years he began to travel in his RV and called us every once in a while, since he was a part of our family. He would visit every now and again as well, which were always fun times. The unfortunate part is that he stopped going to church because of some unknown reasons. We knew he still believed that God loved him, he just wasn’t willing to admit that he knew it too.
When we got the phone call from one of his relatives saying that he had passed away in his RV a couple of years ago, it hit me. It wasn’t a breakdown/meltdown, but I did tear up and cry a little. He had been like a brother to my mom and an uncle to the rest of us. An old bulldog that was really just a big teddy bear. He held a special place in each of my family member’s hearts. The first thing that came into my mind after hearing the news was what I could see being Wayne’s first thought as he crossed over to the other side: “Crap! Those Mormons were right!” I told my family that and they laughed and said that it sounded like something he would say.
The reason I am bringing all of this up isn’t so that I can have a sad moment, but because I know that there is life after death. When someone’s life on earth is ended, it does not mean that that is the end of them completely. Our bodies are fragile and are meant to decompose. We get injured, sick, grow old, we die. Our spirits are what live on. We lived before we came to this earth and we will live again after we die.
I think the reason that death does not hurt me so deeply is because I know that if I am righteous on this earth and do what I can do to be the best me and have faith in Christ, I will see my loved ones again. (I don’t know that necessarily means I’ll see my cat again, but it would be amazing if I could.)
Knowing that fact keeps me going.
There are two more deaths that have affected me. They both happened before I was born, but they have touched my soul so deeply that it is hard to express how I feel about them.
One was the death of my brother, Ammon. I never knew Ammon, since he was the baby before me and he had died in my mother’s womb due to a doctor not listening to the instructions my mother gave him. From what I have been told by my parents, if Ammon had been born, then I would not have been tried for. At this point, my mom had already lost 3 other pregnancies, but Ammon had made it further than the others. Right before he left this life, my mother said that he kicked once really hard. Although I have never met him, I have so much love for him. I know that my mom will still get to raise him after this life, so I am not sad that I never met him while I was here. In a way, I almost feel that he gave his life for me. My mom had so many difficulties when she was pregnant with me, that she was worried that I would also be lost. For some reason, I made it. I only hope that I do my part to be worthy of being the one who came to earth.
The last death I will tell you about that affected me, is the death of our savior, Jesus Christ. He came to this earth to learn and grow, just as we did. He came here to gain a body, just like us. The difference is that he was- and is- perfect. He never sinned. Not once. And even though he did not have to suffer in order to gain eternal life, he did. He suffered for us. He suffered for YOU and he suffered for me. In the garden of Gethsemane he bled from every pore because of the pain that he endured. He suffered every pain, every sorrow, every depression, so that he could be the perfect advocate in our times of need. He knows EXACTLY what you go through, because he has literally gone through it all. He has felt your pains. And after all of that, he was crucified. He DIED for US. How much love would someone have to have to sacrifice their life for another person? More than we can even comprehend. His life and death are a testimony to me that it is possible to love everyone. Even greater than his death is the simple message that HE LIVES! He lives again! He was resurrected three days later! Because of him, we too can one day be resurrected and live with the Father again.
I want to leave you my testimony this time that I know that He lives! I know that he is there to comfort us in our times of need. No matter what you are going through, he understands. Just pray for his comfort and you will have it. I promise you! Test it out! Let me know if it worked for you, or keep the happy knowledge to yourself that Jesus Christ loves you. Use that knowledge to bless someone else’s life in some way.
If you find that you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, remember: It IS possible to see them again.