"One cannot selflessly love another person and not grieve at his suffering or eventual death. The only way to avoid the grief would be to not experience the love; and it is love that gives life its richness and meaning."
One of the things that is wonderful about funerals and the gathering of family and friends after the death of a loved one is that surprisingly we can laugh about the wonderful parts of their lives, review those tender moments with them that we cherish and feel the peace of knowing that they are no longer in pain or suffering, but that they are with a loving Heavenly Father. We grieve because we miss them, and we will miss them throughout our lives. But the funeral helps us realize that we can also be happy knowing that they are in a better place and we will see them again.
If you already have a church or belief system, remember what you have learned and lean on that knowledge for comfort and peace.
- I have felt distinct comfort and overwhelming peace as direct answers to prayer that I cannot deny. My husband has expressed the same thing to me. One moment that had a profound effect on him was when he held Elodie after she had passed. He had an overwhelming feeling that she was safe in God's hands and of gratitude for having had the time with her that he did. He knew in that moment that he needed to retire and begin spending more time with his grandchildren and doing temple work. That inspiration has been a blessing to both of us.
- I was 19 when my father and niece died. My younger sister was only 14. My family was all gathered in my mother's house and of course we were all very distraught. That night, my sister and I shared a room and she was asking why this horrible thing had to happen. I began talking to her and trying to comfort her and explaining the purpose of life and God's plan for us. Soon she was asleep and wasn't hearing a word I was saying. She doesn't remember it to this day, but I do and I recognize that in trying to comfort her, the Lord was giving me comfort and helping me to vocalize and remember the things that I knew were true.
- It was a tender mercy that when Glen's Aunt Mary died, there were plots available right next to Glen's mother who had died before her. They were so close and it meant so much to Aunt Mary that she should be buried near her.
- Others have been His hands in so many ways of service and comfort.
- Seeing the love expressed by my children toward their sister and from my SIL siblings to him have been so heartwarming and comforting.
- In the midst of the pandemic, Elodie was allowed to go home and we were able to meet her and hold her and love her.
- One of the smallest, seemingly irrelevant things that had a big impact on me was that the hospice nurse who came to the house at Elodie's passing was of the same faith as we are. She knew what we believed and was able to comfort us from that place. Also, she had herself lost an infant and knew what my daughter was going through. Then, if that seemed coincidental, the Bishop of Lindsey's ward, (or church group) came to give support. He saw my son's HS football shirt and told us that he had graduated from that same HS! All of my children had graduated from that HS, so it was an interesting connection. Then, the nurse came into the room and told us that she had graduated from the same HS! It was just a connection that seemed to give a little lightening relief in the midst of sadness.
Sometimes, when people express their sympathy to you during sorrowful times, it is apparent that they aren't sure what they should say and they almost seem to be grieving as much as you are. One way to serve them and also to help ourselves is to offer them words of comfort as you relate the blessings you have felt through your trial or to express your love to them or to simply forgive them their ineptness and allow them to grieve with you.
As time goes on, you will find opportunities to serve others who are also going through sorrow and your empathy and listening ear will be a comfort to them and to you.
One reason that I am writing this post about grief today is in the hope that if there is anyone out there struggling with sorrow and pain, you can know that you are not alone, but that there is hope and joy still on your horizon. Lindsey expressed the following in her writings about Elodie: " It may be hard to believe that losing your child can be a spiritual experience, but I am here to tell you that it is, if you let it. Yes, you will feel the deepest darkest grief you have ever known. I will miss Elodie for the rest of my life. But I have also felt the closeness of my Savior Jesus Christ, and have felt deeply the truth of His Atonement and Resurrection, and the promise that it brings that death is not the end." I know that her words are true. Joy and Happiness can come again if you let them. "Little by little, you'll feel better again."
I love you. Thank you for your love and support.