Thank you for your courage. Thank you for the goodness you bring to the world. You freely acknowledge the pain that we can experience here on earth, while still allowing the sustaining power from heaven to be a powerful force in our lives. Your testimony & example is felt all over the world.
Appreciate this article, I too need to trust the Lord and with lots of faith. I lost my sweet mother in October 2016 and my mother in law the same year in February. This young family especially the mom has taught me a lot. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Joleen, my husband died 15 months ago and I have felt the same experience during the first six months. Then there was a let down that continues. Thank you for your perspective. While I have been so sad at the change, you have made me see it in a different light.
I totally agree with what you both have said in all respects to the death of someone close to you. I think it is common to feel strengthened in the beginning, as you said Sara Tonon has, and then have the experience change with time. I agree, Joleene, that EXPERIENCE is a big reason for this life, and how could we come to learn all we need to know without it? If we want to become as He is, we will have to walk the path He walked...who would ever say the Savior's life was all peace and comfort?!My experience was like both of yours and it troubled me that I wasn't the ideal person walking with perfect faith that allowed me to always be at peace with my husband's death. I was helped by the following experience.I’m sure we all remember that sad day at the end of April Conference in 2004 when Pres. Hinckley stood and said, “Some of you have noticed the absence of Sister Hinckley…She is now 92, a little younger than I am. I guess the clock is winding down, and we do not know how to rewind it.” We all knew what he was saying and sensed his sadness. Two days later Sister Hinckley passed away. Only 3 months later, in July of 2004, Elder Maxwell passed away and President Hinckley spoke at his funeral. However, we were out of town at the time and so I never heard his remarks that he gave at that funeral until later.
In November of that same year,2004, my husband passed away and I came to know that loneliness is lonelier than I have ever thought possible and emptiness is emptier than I had ever realized. They go deep! I had been raised in the Church. I had a testimony of the Plan. And most of all, I knew the joy of the Savior's atoning sacrifice! So why did I struggle with the pain of it so badly? By the end of 2 years, not only was I still hurting more than I thought I should be, but I was feeling like I was failing at my trial. Surely if I really had the faith I should, I wouldn’t be feeling the pain like I was. I was ashamed for still hurting like I was because I had always had the impression from people in the past that knowledge of the Plan of Salvation would save you from this much pain at someone’s passing. And then, a good friend gave me a little book—“ Marjorie Pay Hinckley Letters” for my birthday. That night I read through some of the letters and then I turned to the end which they had called the “Afterword”. There I read the following words spoken by Pres. Hinckley at Elder Maxwell’s funeral only three months after Sister Hinckley’s passing.He said: “ At funerals we speak words intended to give comfort. But in reality they afford but little comfort. Only those who have passed through this dark valley know its utter desolation. To lose one’s much-loved partner with whom one has long walked through sunshine and shadow is absolutely devastating. There is a consuming loneliness which increases in intensity. It painfully gnaws at one’s very soul.”With those words, who could not recognize Pres. Hinckley’s overwhelming grief?! Can I tell you what I thought when I read those words? I first was sorry for him because I understood his pain, but then came the following comforting and releasing thought, “This is the prophet of God! He has walked and talked with God and knows all he knows, and yet, even he, a prophet of God, aches to the core over the loss of his wife…maybe I’m not failing so miserably after all.” I found personal validation as he was honest about his own pain.He went on to say, “But in the quiet of the night a silent whisper is heard that says, ‘All is well. All is well.’ And that voice from out of the unknown brings peace, and certainty, and unwavering assurance that death is not the end, that life goes on, with work to do and victories to be gained. That voice quietly, even unheard with mortal ears, brings the assurance that, as surely as there has been separation, there will be a joyful reuniting. And so with that firm assurance you will go on. There will be days of loneliness and nights of longing, but the sunlight of faith will shine again and the fires of love will warm you.”What peace came when I knew the pain was part of loving, not an indication of my lack of faith in the plan of eternal life. I found peace in his closing words and knew Heavenly Father was okay with where I was at after all.One more reason to pay close attention to the words of the prophets!Yes, “whether by His own voice or by the voice of His servants, it is the same”. I had felt Heavenly Father's love and approval through the words of His prophet!
Many years ago, I went through a shattering personal trauma, and I felt insulated from what could have been the full measure of pain, wrapped in the arms of my Father in Heaven's love. It seemed to me as if I was above it, looking down as if at a distance at the storm...I knew the Lord was carrying me. I could not have managed otherwise. There came a day when I felt Him put me down, like saying to a young child, you can walk now. I wanted to wail, "no, I'm not ready yet to get down and walk," and the answer came,"Don't worry, I am still holding your hand." I had to have some space to see my way forward, and then I had to 'walk' on the path I saw. But it has never been alone, that heavenly love and help has always been near me. I think we do have to process and own that pain, but as we are able. It happens over time, and there are 'ambush moments' when something unexpectedly clobbers you, but all things can work together for good with the Lord's help and presence. When we experiece that succor, we learn how we may also succor others, and someday all those lessons will be answered with great blessings and eternal glory.
Beautiful story, incredible woman. I also felt great peace and comfort when my husband left me, but I had 3 weeks following his massive stroke to prepare for what I knew was inevitable. Five years later there are still moments when I feel that added strength and love from Above. Knowing that Eternity awaits is a great blessing.
I lost my son in July. The first few months, I felt a measure of peace that surprised me, which is not to say that I wasn't grieving. After about six months, the grieving intensified to the point that peace was harder to come by. It was possible, as it always is, but I had to seek it out very actively, and it didn't stay with me as long. My experience has been similar to Joleene's, and I agree with her assessment of the reasons for that.
I agree Joleene. All of our experiences with grief are not the same. I hoped for that comfort when we lost our daughter, but I had to open my eyes and look for the Lord's comfort, and I found it. But comfort did not come in the exact way I expected it. Yet, when it did come, it was profound.
It is amazing the love and support you can feel when you turn to the Lord for strength. I had a similar experience after my husband’s death 18 months ago. For the first 6 months I felt the Lord (and my husband) very close. However there came a time where I felt that support withdraw slightly. I’ve always known the Lord is there, but I felt like he gave me a chance to feel more of the “negative” emotions associated with grief because there is much to be learned from them. I believe it’s important to be ok with feeling the full range of our emotions as I believe it’s what the Lord wants us to do. I also believe it’s important to acknowledge in public forums that it’s ok if ones experience is not like the sister’s experience in this article. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person or don’t have enough faith if you don’t feel the same amount of comfort this sister did initially. I have a feeling that if you were to talk to her in another year this article might be very different. We do each other a disservice sometimes by making it appear that the ideal way to live is to always be in this state of peace and comfort. That is not Heavenly Father’s plan for us. He gave us the full range of emotions to experience for a reason. These moments of peace and comfort are just as important to experience as the moments of grief and pain.
Thank you for this story! It gave me strength too! Bless this sweet young family!
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