Wednesday, August 6, 2014

For him who grieves

I have a friend, Jeff, whom I "met" through blogging. (Sometimes when I cannot find anything "good" to read, I will get on blogger, push "next blog" and see what I can find. This is how I "found" Jeff.) He lives on the east coast, I live on the west coast, I have never met him (I hope I get to, someday), yet I consider him a friend.

He is an amazing man, husband and father. His life is dedicated to helping and serving others. When he is not a High School Science teacher, he is a volunteer fireman and mountain rescuer-er. He is the epitome of "McGyver", if you know the show. He is husband to Jenny and father to three girls. His best friend, Jill, died of breast cancer several years ago. Her child was left an orphan. Jeff and Jenny took that daughter in as their own, are loving and raising her and helping the world discover the stellar talents that she has.

Jeff is having a really rough go of it right now. His 8-year old niece was found dead in her bed several weeks ago. She somehow slept wrong and died from a blood clot. Jeff and his entire family (his immediate family, his brother's family, his extended family, etc.) are completely shredded by this unexpected and unwanted death. And, rightly so. They have lost one of their beloved cherubs- a cherub who brought joy, laughter, and love to all- whom they all love dearly. I can only imagine how he is feeling with this loss: saddened beyond words, annihilated with grief, stunned and angered with this sudden loss, and wondering if the pain will ever subside. I know he is struggling to find faith of any kind, least of all in a God who would take this cherub away from his brother's and his family.

I feel so sorry and sad for him and his family that they have to go through such a tough, tough time. I love Jeff and his family. They are in my prayers and thoughts. I try and send out all the good energy to them that I can. I hope they can feel comforted. I want their hopes to be restored. And, I want their hurt hearts to heal.

Jeff has read my different blogs in the past. He knows I have served a mission for my church. He knows I struggle with a very private issue related to my religion. He knows a lot about my childhood and the horrific things that happened to me. He knows what I simply had to endure in order to still be alive. He knows what the aftermath of those events did to me and to my life.

In the midst of some of my suffering from the things that happened to me as a child, I wrote the following:

Her heart is filled with fear,
fragile,
cold,
turns brittle,
then,
shatters.

"How", she asks herself, "will I go on?"
Bloodied by broken
pieces of her heart,
savaged
by cuts within,
her mind,
a battered playground of her soul.

There she sits,
hunched in a corner,
her knees
drawn up under her chin,
arms holding herself,
rocking,
forth and back,
trying to keep
warm,
trying to keep
death
from whispering in her ears.

Death's beckoning
floats across the cement
of her lonesome playground,
through the rustling leaves,
then moves upward,
through the graying sky.

The tones are hushed,
yet pierce her
already wilting and
troubled soul.

"Join us", they sing.
"Join us," they shout.
"Join us", they sneer.
"Join us", they command.

And,
she surrenders.

(My poem aptly described the severe emotional pain and suffering through which I was going as I was trying to make any sense of the things from my childhood. I know what emotional pain feels like. I also know what it feels like not to feel emotional pain.)

As I wrote above, Jeff knows that I served an LDS mission to southern Germany. When I had lived there for a short time, my companion and I met a woman whose young 9-year old daughter had just died a few weeks prior to our meeting, the result of a horseback riding accident.

My German was not yet very good, but as I sat and listened to this young mother share her deep and unhealed sorrow with us, I felt the Spirit witness to me, again, that the resurrection is true and that this mother would see her daughter again.

In my broken German, I humbly said, "If you cannot yet believe, then, please, believe on what I know. You will see your daughter again. As sure as I am sitting here, I know that is true. The resurrection is true." A change came over her. She felt the witness of the Spirit telling her that what I had said was true. And, she was comforted.

We all felt it.

It makes me weep now, even after all these years, to remember the sweetness of that moment. I think about it often.

And, I remember often the feelings I felt then and now: the resurrection is true. The Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ, atoned for each of us. And, as He was resurrected, so will each of us be. We will be united again with our loved ones who have died. They do live on now, in a spirit realm, where they are able to receive rest and freedom from the cares of this life. Their spirits, which never die, will again reunite during the resurrection with their physical bodies in a glorified and perfected state. Spirit and body will never have to be separated from each other again. I hope Jeff will feel the sincerity, humility, and love in my words, when I share with him, as I did with the woman in Germany, "You will see your beloved cherub again. If you cannot yet believe, please, believe in what I know. The resurrection is true."