Two years ago this month, we lost a granddaughter who, with her parents and siblings, had lived with us almost the last 2-1/2 years of her (just shy of) 4-year life. What I learned then, was how little we know of death. Not just the process, and about where our spirit goes, etc, but how little, on average, Americans today are acquainted with people in their lives dying.
It was interesting to me to see how following WWII, deaths of mothers in Utah declined, mostly, I suppose, due to antibiotics.
When I look at my family history, I see where just one generation back, the death rate was much higher than it has been during the 64 years I've lived.
My father-in-law turned 102 last month. He has 12 children, and only one has died. He has 63 grandchildren, and only one has died. He has over 150 great-grandchildren, and only 4 have died.
In my parents', grandparents', and great-grandparents' generations, the rate was considerably higher.
I also have learned how important having deaths occur helps to remind me (if no one else), how fragile, short, and unexpectedly life can (and does) sometime end. Not everyone lives into their 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and beyond.
I believe we will see the day when death (again) will happen more often. I don't hope it will. But, from what I read and understand (in prophecies), I think it will return, sadly, with a vengeance.
The Joni Mitchell song, "Big Yellow Taxi" puts the blessing of relatively low death rates (for me) in perspective—
"...don't it always seem that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...?"
Absence makes our hearts grow fonder; and hopefully more tender.
Death is part of the "...opposition in all things..." stuff Lehi mused over with his family. We better know to prize the sweet (often what we have), when we're more acquainted with the bitter (like death).
Our granddaughter's passing was a blessing. I wish in one huge way she hadn't died. Her death was a loss. But, we gained so much from leaving us. My perspective of eternity became even much clearer than I thought I already understood. She's in the Celestial Kingdom. We're NOT, at least 'not yet' (if ever?), unless we actually (& fully) repent!
It is all so very sobering.
This morning I awoke and for the first time turned on my I-pad and read my e-mails. Your article popped up and I began to read it. How grateful I am for people like you that can articulate their feeling you truly are a blessing to all of us. I have not lost a child but I have had the experience of a child being severely injured to the point of almost death in an accident and still suffers 10 years later with the effect of that accident. We have moved close to her to help her continue to raise her family. Witnessing her continue pain and suffering has brought me to my knees so many times. It's at those moments that God sends his tender mercies and comfort that helps me to continue on. Thanks you for sharing your grief with us my prayers will be with you and your family.
I, too, want to add my deepest feelings of sympathy for you and your family. My heart hurts for you. Thank you for the comfort you have given to me from your gracious words. God bless all of you.
I have read your article over and over and thank you for writing. The last part is especially meaningful as it confirms the "messages" we have received from our son who died early and unexpectedly at age 26 two years ago. So much here that I relate to. Much love and prayers to you.
I made a comment on Dec. 2nd and have been reading others as well, and just want to add that I am starting a small group of mothers who have lost children (all ages) so we can talk about what has given us comfort, an article, scripture or book, etc or activity. One of my talents has always been bringing women together ---all ages--- and now THEY are here for me when I need them and now I want to get us together to help each other. As a mother who lost her child 6 months ago, I need to know what is normal and what to expect too---I had NO idea that I would have physical symptoms as well as emotions and mental! My group will be called a: Hope and Healing group. Maybe this would be a good thing to think about for yourself as well...
I have not lost a child but I want to share with everyone that even though our children may leave us, Christ never will. He is in the Sun shining brightly. Just change one letter and it becomes Son. It is 43 degrees in the greenhouse but 23 degrees outside. He is in the greenhouse. He is in the air we breathe. Why do EMTs tell us to breathe slowly and deeply when we are in trouble? Because Christ is the Air and the deeper we inhale the more He can Fill us. He is in all things, knows all things, and has Arms big enough to carry all of us the same time. We cannot put our arms around our children on the other side, but Christ can and does always extend His Arms to us. All we have to do is fall into Them.
Oh Maurine, my heart goes out to you, and to all those who have commented here with their own grief stories. I have had similar spiritual experiences relating to the passing of our infant son nearly 30 years ago, and several in the intervening years. A young family in our Ward recently experienced the premature death of their expected 5th daughter. My husband was unexpectedly comforted by their examples of faith as he searched for words to comfort them.
Your heartfelt essay reminds me to make time to flesh out my story, which I wrote to family and friends shortly after our son's passing, and wrote a blog post on coping with the death of a child a couple of years ago. It is important for our family and friends to know our thoughts and feelings.
Thank you so much for this. and thank you to all who commented. I, too, and recovering (?) from the loss of my son, age 40 who died by suicide this year. - 25 years after his twin brother died the same way at age 15. The pain of the first was shattering. The loss of the second is unfathomable. I am numb, can't express it, too numb to feel the Spirit or Heavenly Father's love. Reading your article and the comments reminded me that I am not the only one suffering and, I see I need to press on in therapy as well as the need to ask my home teacher for a priesthood blessing (regularly). Sorry this comment is so rough. I am ordinarily a good communicator, but am so rattled. Surviving is also hard work. The hard work of going on every day with no strength. completing all the tasks of living, laundry, vacuuming, still have to provide, still have to speak to people, while struggling to process the loss. Again, thank you Maureen and all the comment which are helpful to read..
Maureen, thank you so much for opening up yourself to others! You have made an impact on me with regards to my husband. He passed away suddenly & I can't seem to get past my life of just existing to actually living my life, if that makes sense. You never know who else you will impact!! I shared the link to your article in the 'Remembering Annie Schmidt' FB group because I thought it might impact someone in there!
Yes,your searingly honest essay caused me to shed tears. About 10 months ago ,my son Zachary just dropped dead in his tracks adpfter arriving at work in SLC. He had a number of good books in print,on Amazon,best being Sins of Prometheus . He had a sweet wife that he had looked long and hard for,of 11.5 months. He had graduated from best LDS college-SVU. He had survived two grueling,deadly tours in Iraq ,along side his twin brother.. He was on cusp of great success ,in the worldly sense and was happy. To say we were stunned would be an understatement. Even before I knew he was DOA,I had a brief manifestation of him on other side,being greeted by my parents and his mother's parents. That gave me a blanket of comfort that I can not describe. My faith was not shaken,I was not inconsolable ,as some were,and are. I weep about him frequently,but that is just natural,I guess.
We also lost one of our daughters on September 25 this year just before her 34th birthday. This was due to complications from her lupus. I have also received many tender mercies through this time. She was given the choice as to whether she stayed with us or went home. I know that the Lord loves us and is watching out but us but we also miss her dearly. We are doing ok but sometimes the grief just slaps me in the face.
Thank you for your beautiful article it was comforting to me in so many ways! When I first started reading it I thought that you were writing to me. May the Lord bless you for your efforts and continue to bless you throughout this time.
You have received so many comments that I will be surprised if you will even be inclined to see this let alone read but please know that I have suffered many family tragedies in my life but nothing has ever touched me as much as your sweet words! Thank you, thank you for allowing yourself to share your feelings and give this wretched heart of mine some Comfort! This article will be treasured in my heart for a very long time
Over 100 comments, all of them positive. Look on this, Maurine! You listened to the Lord, and all these people are listening to you. I am listening to you. I have not lost anyone of my immediate family yet. But I know grief, much of it that which I have caused through my sins. Having a daughter leave for the other side is one thing. Seeing yourself lost in the darkness because you have caused such pain to your family is another. It hurts, bad. But it also helped and helps me to realize just how powerful the Atonement is. To know that Jesus Christ loved someone like me enough to suffer through what I have suffered through because of my sins is overwhelming! And to know that my family still loves me (a lot) also overwhelms me. I cannot allow myself to let them down. I cannot! And yet I have, and seem to continue to often. Repentance is real, it is powerful, and I love it. I am grateful that you had and have such a daughter. A righteous daughter of God who lived up to her potential and is realizing it on the other side. I hope to be such a son. Keep being that wonderful mother you are.
When we lost Cameron, I cried out to the Lord so many times for his comfort. One particular time I was overwhelmed with the feeling of his presence. Immediately on my heart, I felt the words " I understand my child, I too, lost a son." Oh my that layed heavy on my heart. He really did know what i was going through.
Shortly after I had a dream of him being so healthy and happy. While he will always be on my heart, I have found peace. I pray the same for you and all people who have suffered a lost.
My cousin sent me the link to your article hoping it would help me. It has been 6 months since our only daughter was killed in a car accident. It was a hard Thanksgiving last week, and I felt I didnt have a lot to be thankful for. I have been doing sooo good with angels holding me up as I planned a funeral, wrote an obituary and went through 8 bins of her pictures and things for a display table. The funeral was on Memorial Day. My own mother had died 1 month before. Mindy sang in church with a beautiful angel voice. when she was growing up. My favorite was when she sang, "his Hands'. She played piano beautifully as well. She was pure . But along the way she was scarred and left the church and became an atheist. She moved out in her Sr. year of HS to live with her boyfriends parents. I lost my baby girl. I grieved for her mentally but this was harder because no-one sends you sympathy cards and you wonder what you did wrong. And though she never came back to church, we became closer as she matured. The closest we were was at her grandmother's funeral the month before. I was shocked and thrilled that she would even walk inside the church again, wear a dress and she got up with the 17 grandchildren and sang: Families can be Together Forever'---I can never sing that song again without crying. I KNOW she is not an atheist anymore, and I KNOW we will someday be together forever. Its the NOW that is hard. I wear a bracelet that I bought from Avon that says: 'One day at a Time'. And I ordered 10 of them for others. I have given 2 away. If you could PM me your address, I would be happy to send you one or anyone that have left comments. It has helped me to read some of them and not feel so ALONE. Thank you sooooo much! I needed this today!
Thank you for sharing this Maurine,
I wish I had known your daughter. even though we don't want to endure such pain and agony, I truly believe it is in our greatest sorrows that we really come to know the Savior. He ceases to be an idea and a belief, and we truly come to know him personally as a friend. Thank you for sharing such personal experiences and I'm sure we are all blessed by your ability to express them so profoundly. Thank you for sharing this gift in such a meaningful way!
I am stunned by the eloquence of your writing, of the clear love of the Savior and his blessings to you. I find my heart lighter, my burden less, my hope more, my desire to lift other increased, all for you sharing your testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and how he carried you and helped you. Thank you for sharing the light, the golden glow so clearly communicated in pain, tears, and love. May the good Lord continue to bless you and your husband Scot. Thank you for sharing this sacredness.
Condolences on your great loss. I knew Melissa during her time in Princeton and respected her being outspoken, and so very intelligent. May you be surrounded by love and sweet memories this Christmas and throughout the year.
Beautifully written Maurine, you expressed so well the grief of losing a precious child. How blessed I was to have a sweet haven in your home during my first year after losing my sweet Jordan. How grateful I am to have been surrounded by the love of your sweet family from the Amazing angelic voice of Melissa, to the fun antics of Eliot and Thomas and the best friends of the Rachel and the girls. I only know the savior will send you the comfort you need, just as he sent your family to comfort me. Thank you for sharing...prayers and hugs and gratitude.
Beautiful, Maurine. Thank you for sharing your pain, your faith, your journey with us. God bless.
Maurine, I am so sorry. I did not know about Melissa's death until this blog popped up in my Facebook. She was my next-door roommate in Jerusalem. She was an unforgettable person! May God continue to bless your family.
As the mother of a beautiful two year old who left us on Christmas Morning many years ago, I have sobbed through this stunningly insightful article. Your depth of testimony resonates with my soul & the things that I have learned over the years. How beautiful, how touching, how loving of You to share with us, your sisters! We are surrounded by sorrows & trials on many sides-it is part of our journey back to our Father, our Home. These gifts; the Spirit of comfort, the knowledge of eternity, our testimonies of our Savior, His Love & His atonement, are the treasures that lift us up & give us the courage & will to continue. Thank YOU so much for sharing, especially at this time!
Thank you for this beautifully written testimony. You have masterfully expressed feelings that I have about loss and the Atonement. I am grateful that you listened to the prompting you received.
Through my own loss of a precious one, I have come to understand that we do not come to mortality to be tested but to be changed. Unfortunately, only terrible grief seems to have the power to change us. I am more tender and forgiving, far more aware of the sufferings of others than I was before grief changed me. Grief acted as a giant excavator, carving out room for an expanded heart.
May you enjoy more tender mercies of God as you complete this difficult part of the journey. I think all of us looking back at that time can see God's sustaining hands helping us through. And we acknowledge that without His support, we would not have survived.
CS Lewis was right. God is turning each of us into a mansion, but oh, the construction is painful.
Thank you for sharing your deepest personal feelings with the world. I too have known loss and so my heart needed to hear your story. You have a gifted way of sharing your grief and testimony. I am sure that our Heavenly Father wanted you to share this to give hope to so many who do not have it. Hope in the atonement, and hope in the comfort and love that can bring when we let it. Thank you. May you always have the comfort you need.
You and your husband Scot are such a gift to the kingdom. Your abilities to share your deepest feelings with your pen and your camera just bless and strengthen us all. You have blessed our world with your incredible, faithful family and your account of your suffering after the death of your beautiful Melissa had me awash in tears. I have not been tried with the untimely death of a child and I don't know how I would respond, but your emotional account helped me to feel just a tiny degree of the depth of such a loss. You perfectly describe the great blessing of our Savior's atonement and you demonstrated the strength you received in how you were blessed to be able to keep forging ahead. Thank you for your beautiful words.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful message. Reading it at the start of my day put all the details of my life into perspective. I have been spiritually fed this day.
Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts and feelings with us. I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Melissa while studying at the BYU Jerusalem Center. She became a good friend and I fondly remember her kindness, her intelligence, her goodness, and her laughter. I remember that she laughed a lot, and she had such a cheerful, contagious laugh. Alas, I have not seen or spoken to Melissa in many years, but I still feel a profound loss now that she is no longer on this side of the veil. I take a little bit of comfort knowing that I have one more friend to look forward to seeing on the other side.
This is a beautiful article. I'm so sorry to hear about Melissa. We were in the same ward at Yale. She taught our oldest nursery and he is now serving a mission, so it's been awhile ago. She was a good and kind friend--and a great nursery leader. We always joked that he got a good start in gospel instruction with a teacher who was a student at the Yale Divinity School. Thank you for sharing your story.
Dec 29, 2011, Our bishop called us at Grandma's house. "There has been an accident. Your daughters are dead. All three of them. " This is the first time I have had the courage to share in writing. Thanks for helping.
God loves you. He knows your sorrow. He will always be with you. Melissa loves you. She will always be with you. May you always feel her love.
Our son, Alexander. died 19 years ago from SIDS on November 29,1997. It was very hard to lose such a beautiful soul, but we know God loves us because he has provided so many tender mercies over the years. Thanks for sharing your tender mercies.
I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter! I pray that healing and peace will eventually come. Your expressions of pain and loss speak for many others who have those empty places in their lives; and to many others who have variations on that theme because of one circumstance or another. Thank you for putting into words what so many others feel.
ON LOSING MY ONLY SON...............Christopher John Scott Couzens-Moore was a little over 20 years old when his life here was cut short by a traffic accident. I watched him lie on life support 3 days with not one voluntary movement and being a nurse I knew his body was dead. Signing the papers to remove the machine breathing for him was the hardest thing I had ever done. But I knew I had to release the body to let my son's spirit move on. I had the Elders give him a blessing and they came out to tell me "Chris will be ok" and all I could say was "I know he will be". I was an excommunicated member at that time..... but I still had my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel to give me strength. That was December 9th 1982. His son was born on April 3 1983, Easter Sunday that year. And Chris grandson was born at 24 weeks on December 9th 2007. He lived! I have since been rebaptised and am fully active again.
I feel you. We lost our 16- year-old two years ago. He is dearly missed, but through the Atonement, we have peace and are buoyed up. God bless.
Dear Sister Proctor , Thank you for this beautiful message . It has helped . We continue to mourn our daughter who while in labor with her first child six years ago was diagnosed with a fast moving leaukemia . She died four months later at the age of 27 . My husband and I seek to hear our daughter's voice just one more time . We strive to drink deeply from the faith that we carry but it is and always will be a struggle . We have great faith that she is well and thriving but our hearts remain battered by the sudden shock of losing our daughter Megan and not being able to watch her grow up with her little girl . Thank you again . Much appreciated . We wish you and your family all good blessings and the Saviors comfort during this Christmas season , Thank you , Pamela Boyack
Thank you sister Proctor for sharing so beautifully .. something that's so intimate and personal. And I was touched by the two things you said you wanted Heavenly Father to know, you know. So many times I've said those words in a prayer when things happen I can't explain in answer to a prayer or a problem but I know came from God. Lovely small things that happen that some would write off as coincidental, but I have known better. That spirit of gratitude you have shown through such a profound awful Gethsemane you have had to go through is why God gives us just enough to let us know we are not alone and he knows us. And thank you for the pictures. She is a beautiful young lady who oozes with light and spirit. God bless you through your anguish and difficult times. I've lost both parents I love, but I don't think anything could compare to losing a child.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you. My husband passed away a year ago and I know that the answer is to rely upon the Savior and his atonement.
Thank you for sharing. Melissa was beautiful, undoubtedly filled with exceptional abilities.. I lost a son 18 yrs old 47 years ago, and it is wonderful to be reminded of the blessings and comfort that I have received through the years.
When Rhonda's life went to the Spirit World, I was comforted with the fact that She was Heavenly Father's daughter before she was mine. He loves her ......
This article means so very much to me, as I lost my oldest daughter 'Jenny" in a horrific car crash in 2008. She was hit exactly head on by a car headed west on the eastbound lanes of interstate I-70. Her 4 week old son Alexander was in the back of the car, but miraculously survived. He is almost nine now, but has cortical blindness, and head injury. He has the mind of a 24 month old, isn't potty trained, and can't talk, just makes baby noises. My husband and I took him, as the father didn't want the responsibility. He is a sweetheart for the most part, as we have poured a lot of love into him. I believe without a shadow of a doubt, that he has seen his mother countless times over the years. I believe that my precious Jenny is working on the other side of the veil, to help me make sure that our family gets their work done. I held all the pain inside when she died, and so my journey of grief is taking time. I too know, that I am being carried day after day in the Saviors arms. I firmly believe that Jenny is exactly where she is supposed to be in the Father's plan, and that the Lord will make up to her the time that she missed raising her babies. ( She also had an 8 year old daughter at the time of her death, that we also raised ). Thank you for this article, as it has very much touched my heart.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I lost my son at age 29 in a tragic construction accident and really needed to read your words. AI empathize with much of what you wrote and some of it, I had not thought of. I too, will not hear the knock at the door... see his sweet smile... and hear him say, "Hey Mom!" My advice to other parents is to hold your children tightly. You never know when it will be your last talk, last hug, and last I love you. I tell God that he has what is most precious to me and that I know he is taking care of him better than I ever could, but I still cry because I miss him and there is such a void in my life. I know that with God, all things are possible. I will endure and I will see him again.
Thank you for sharing your grief and pain, and especially for your beautiful testimony of the Savior and His Atonement. This had me misty-eyed because, despite the nineteen years since my mother's death and the four years since my father's, I too will wait for a Christmas visit that will never come in this lifetime...and will try to struggle through the holidays alone. I have a good friend who recently lost her 23-year-old son in an accident. She is not LDS, so I hesitate to send her this link...but my heart wants to, because in your words I hear her pain and devastation, and I want so much to help her and give her comfort...but worry how she might not understand and be left, perhaps, less able to cope. My heart aches for her loss, and for yours, but is also filled with gratitude for the knowledge that our separation from our loved ones is temporary...and that there is the promise of joyful reunions waiting for us all.
Powerful and Tender...So saddened and sorry for your loss.
Thank you Maurine. I was sweet Melissa's roommate in Jerusalem. I have thought much of her these last few months and of your family. I appreciate you sharing your feelings in this article - they helped me to contemplate the loss of a friend and remember Melissa for the amazing person she was. Much love to your family during this time.
I don't have any children, but I have lost loved ones, but not a child. There are probably few things tougher than that. I am an old Jack Mormon, but I am well aware that the veil is very thin and that she is just on the other side and you will see her again. Bless you and your family.
Merci. We are grateful to you for your willingness to share with us.We have been profoundly touched. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Dear Maurine - Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. I was deeply touched, and am so grateful for your literary gifts so that you could give it, as a gift, to all of us blessed to read it.
This touched my heart. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your perspective inspires and teaches all of us. May that healing power of the atonement continue to sustain you and your family. Thank you for sharing something so raw and personal.
My dad and I had problems when I was in my teenage years and we didn’t get along well.
I left home at 18, glad to be out from under his rule. I was soon married and creating a lot of problems in my new life of “freedom”.
My troubles grew and eventually they proved to be a great embarrassment to both my parents.
I was ashamed for some of the things I had done and didn’t want to be around them .
Nearly a year went by without seeing them and one day my mom called and asked me to come by the house to help her out with something.
Dad was supposed to be at work, but he was there instead.
All I could think of, was that I wanted out of there. It was terribly awkward for all of us, pretending that nothing had happened.
When I finally made it back out to the car, my dad followed me and wanted to talk. It was a 10 minute conversation about love and forgiveness and missing me. I was invited to come back home for visits with them and to bring my wife and new son.
Humbled by my own foolishness and bad choices, I listened to what he had to say, hoping that he was sincere.
Eventually I went back for a visit to see what would happen. I was accepted, with no reservations or condemnations and the visits became more frequent. Something began to change between my dad and me. I was accepted and treated like an equal, like a man, rather than a boy.
Over the next four years he became my very best friend.
Then, in the blink of an eye, he was gone. He died of a massive heart attack while teaching at school. He was 44 years old.
Two years later, my mom died of the same thing.
Many of these feelings you describe in your grief are familiar to me and I hurt for you.
I was 24 years old when dad died, I am now 69 and the pain is always there. I just keep it buried. Reading of your agony brought it all back to the surface.
I ask myself, what is life all about? It’s for the experience, for the feelings, for the discoveries, for finding out about ourselves, and about others. It’s about having ourselves opened up and finding out what is really inside us.
I think it’s all about the contrasts of the experiences of life. Pleasure and Pain...Health and Sickness...Sorrow and Joy...Death and Life.
So I count it a blessing to have both sides of the experience, as painful as it may be.
That is what gives value to the experience of being alive.
I take solace in the verse in Corinthians:
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
It is swallowed up in the work of Christ.
May God bless you to find peace in your suffering.
Our love and prayers will be with you and Scot this Christmas season. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your story has given me some understanding of the loss you, and others who have lost their children, feel.
Maurine, thank you for writing so honestly and tenderly about this most personal part of your journey through life, and thank you for sharing the healing scriptures along with your personal testimony of finding and hearing answers as balm to your grief, pain and incredible loss. Thank you for following the promptings to share and celebrate your beautiful daughter Melissa with us.
Oh, Maurine! Thank you so much for your sweet, heart tugging testimony & experience! You are amazing! May you continue to feel those hugs from our Heavenly Father when you least expect them. Those are truly answers to prayers! God Bless you!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, for sharing this intensely personal story of your grief and how your life has been since the passing of your precious daughter. May our Lord continue to bless you and uphold you sustain you. My words fail to convey the impact that your article has had on me so please just know that I am overwhelmed with emotion at your faith that feels, even palpable, to me, as I read this. Much love.
I will save and share this beautiful article. I know I will come back to it, to again be uplifted and taught. Thank you for the insight - it helps me better be able to mourn with those that mourn.
This is such beautiful and poignant truth and emotion. thank you so much for eloquently penning your testimony of grief and pain, coupled with comfort and relief through our Savior's eternal and promising Atonement. I was reminded when, in my own time of grief, I was carrying my burden, until I, too, came to know the fullness of this far-reaching sacrifice, including all sorrows. My heart was once again full of that love that permeated my soul when I needed it the most. thank you, and God comfort you and bless you.
Thank you for your story. You expressed so many words and emotions that I myself am experiencing. I lost my husband suddenly just 3 years ago. It feels like yesterday. The grief is overwhelming. We were together since sophomores in high school. Married for 44 years. We grew up together and it's hard to know who I'am without him. I too have waited on the Lord and cried out "Why have you abandoned me" but in his time he sweetly comes to me and testifies that he was here all along. Without him and our knowledge of the atonement life would cease to exist for me. He truly is our Savior. Thank you for your beautiful story. Prayers for you.
I want to testify, that if you are listening carefully, a very quiet knock will come. SHE knows your desire and most importantly HE does too. If you are looking for her, you will see her, hear her, feel her. How do I know this. Because my story is opposite of yours with similar tender mercies. A broken home, a childhood without a mother, a brief reunion. suicide, and the wrenching of every kind that you have experienced only backwards. Because just as you are attached to Melissa as her mother, I was attached to my mother as her daughter. Joseph Smith said "all our losses will be made up to us." And my favorite scripture which is a companion to the one you quoted in Revelation is found in Revelation 7:
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Blessings to you Maurine.
Your terrible painful Journey is expressed so beautifully and I thank you for your writing and sharing this most deeply personal experience and process. I will now bookmark this to return to when I must experience terrible loss that I know will come, because this is life. And losses do come. I have dreaded, Dreaded, so deeply and actively dreaded, losses that did not come-- miraculously did not happen-- with my youngest son deployed three different times --a full year each time-- to Afghanistan. I do not understand how mothers get through their children's deployments if they are boots on the ground. It was tough enough for me with my boy flying a Chinook helicopter and landing on pinnacles and rescuing troops amid battle. I know the losses will come and when they do I will refer again to this beautifully expressed testimony, and gain strength. Thank you Maurine.
It took so much courage to share. Thank you.
This was such a tender and beautiful piece. Tears were streaming down my face as I read this in the early hours of the morning. I am so sorry for the loss of beautiful Melissa. I am grateful to you for sharing your testimony of pain and trial and anguish, which I am sure may dim, but the loss is real and grief finds it's own place to settle in the heart.
Thanks for your wisdom and sharing at such a difficult time. I am grateful I knew Melissa as a young one, in our little playgroup, back in the day. Maurine, you are ever a mentor in my life and I will always be grateful for associations and friendship with you. Best love and may the Lord continue to soothe your heart and soul.
"A child you have born and known and raised is connected to you in every cell—and each one was feeling the wrench and tear of disconnection".
What an insightful and tender description! I haven't walked the painful road of losing a child, but this article helped me have a diminutive glance to the sorrow and grief that accompany such experience. It also helped me strengthen my testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the real hope, peace and tender mercies it brings. Thank you so much for writing this beautiful article. May the Lord bless and comfort you, your family and those who mourn.
I cannot thank you enough for such profound and tender thoughts. My brother-in-law was killed in a car accident this last spring, and our family has walked a very similar path of grief. The night he passed away in the hospital, I could hardly bear the silence and the waiting at home, and the only thing that quieted my mind and brought comfort in between the hours of kneeling in prayer was "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables." I couldn't bear much of any music, but there was something in that song that answered my sense of unspeakable grief. Christ truly is the only balm that can soothe this kind of hurt. His atonement has become much more real and personal to me.
As I read your article I could relate totally to how you feel as tears streamed down my face. As others, I too have those pains of death after my beloved wife of 40 years was taken from me. Every day I would talk to her and tell her how much. I missed her with no resolve to my soul. Her favorite time of the year was Christmas. She loved to sing with the Ward choir at that time with her professionally trained voice. It has been terribly hard for me to live without her. I still hear her voice singing on occasion when the Ward choir sings. A few months after she passed away, I was almost beside myself. Why had she been taken from me? In my evening prayers I told the Lord of my quandary and asked if I might just talk to her again. I went to bed and asked her if there wasn't some way she could just let me know she was around. Nothing. I dropped off to sleep. I felt something pinching my big toe, a joke she always pulled on me when she came to bed. Then I had a realistic dream. She stood before me dressed in white, smiled and then she said, "Sweetheart, this will be the only time I will be able to come and talk with you because we are so busy here. ". She made me feel as if she had been working on family names to be prepared for the temple. She expressed her love for me and then the dream was gone. I awoke, cried out my thankfulness to my Heavenly Father for such a blessing, and 13 years later I still know my wife is around me at times;however, she is too busy to visit me and now I understand that.
Thank you for sharing with us your story. How beautiful the gospel is with the restoration of all truth.
Maurine, I have never read anything better. Your words are inspired and your example will shine in my heart forever. I am sharing this with many and am eternally grateful to you. What a perfect reminder of the real power-- the healing power-- of the Atonement. And at Christmas-- perfect. May God bless you and your family now and always.
I woke early this morning to find your posting in my in-box. After reading, I printed it and shared with my wife, when she first awoke.
I feel fortified by your story, and your circumstance; fortified by what the Spirit has taught you that you have now taught me; the certainty of the love Heavenly Father has for you and your family as you go through this loss; and by your courage to stand and witness of these truths in such a moment as this.
Maurine and Scot: I am so sad to hear this news. Our prayers are with you and the entire Meridian Family. God Bless.
Thank you for sharing your grief and pain, and especially your beautiful testimony of the Savior. This had me misty-eyed because, despite the nineteen years since my mother's death and the four years since my father's, I too will wait for a Christmas visit that will never come in this lifetime...and will try to struggle through the holidays alone. I have a good friend who recently lost her 23-year-old son in an accident. She is not LDS, so I hesitate to send her this link...but my heart wants to, because in your words I hear her pain and devastation, and I want so much to help her and give her comfort...but worry how should would not understand and be left, perhaps, less able to cope. My heart aches for her loss, and for yours, but is also filled with gratitude for the knowledge that our separation from our loved ones is temporary...and that there is the promise of joyful reunions waiting for us all.
For your sharing these sweet, spiritual, tender, loving, gentle, powerful and “witnessing” feelings with us, “Thank you hardly seems enough to say.”
But thank you, nonetheless ~
Maurine this was beautiful. Even though I haven't experienced this great of sorry yet in my life, I know I will. Your message has uplifted me and has prepared me for what is to come and I am truly grateful for that. Thank you for your words!
Maurine and Scot, I was on the Church history Tour of which you spoke. I knew but because you did not share until the last day I didn't say anything to you. I was still dealing with the loss of my Husband, my Eternal companion, my Best Friend, in March, only 6 months before. He is still very involved in my life. When I heard the announcement of the Tour, I heard my husband say, "Go, GO" so I went to the phone and called to make arrangements to Go. all through our WONDERFUL tour I found pennies. "Pennies from Heaven" I called them. Terry always picked them up noting if they were "heads up" or "tails". I have made a collection of the pennies I've found from him. I can not hold them all.
I can hardly type this through my tears. The tears started when you spoke of the texts you found on your phone. I realized at that moment that I have his voice in my messages on my phone. I had not remembered them. I bought a new Smart phone for our Tour. I feel it a gift to realize that they are there and I can go listen to his "I Love You, Girl"
Thank you for sharing Maurine. You have encouraged me to write of my still tender feelings. A smile can cover a lot of what we feel deep inside. With Love, Linda
God's Blessings be upon you, I have read and been inspired your work for years but never until now have I felt the completeness of what "Love and Loss" means in my life. I have lost many Friends and Family members and have accepted God's will but you have helped me understand the Atonement like no-other. I have been widowed for many years. Thank you and may God continue to bless you both.
Dear Maurine, thank you for your beautiful and tender expressions of grief and love, especially during this time and season. For 15 years we have walked in these shoes after the loss of our 17 year old son. Time will allow you to grow into your new life - but it is not a comfortable "new" place to be... our prayers are for all those who suffer with losses felt so acutely at this time of year. Our Savior's Atonement is real. His love is real, otherwise we could never endure this awful pain. We are not alone.
I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for being willing to share your experiences and testimony with us. I pray you find the peace and comfort you need. When my brother died unexpectedly 10 years ago at the age of 22, peace and comfort were the things I prayed for. So now they're the things I pray for when others lose a loved one. <3
Simply beautiful in so many ways!
Beautiful and poignant dear sister. It touched our hearts as we have been through this experience three times with adult children and twice with younger children and grandchildren. What would we do without the perspective of the gospel and the hope we have in the Saviour? Our prayers go out to you especially at this tender time for you and your family. By the way you were our RS president when we lived at 833 Buena in Chicago....we have been following you from afar! You are amazing still....
Thank you for sharing your personal feelings of pain and anguish. Thank you for describing your experiences and your process of healing in ways that allowed us to connect with you. I sobbed as you said you cried out and the Lord said "here am I!" I needed to hear that! Many times the Lord provides me with that blanket of comfort but sometimes I wait and trust Him. I, too, relate to trusting in Him like Nephi and 2 Nephi is one of my favorite scriptures! Thank you for taking the risk to be vulnerable! Your message reminded me again of how much the Lord loves us and provides tender mercies to strengthen us through His Atonement!
I am so sorry for your loss.Thanks for a beautifully written article.
I'm so sorry. I empathize, as I lost my 21 year old son 15 years ago on October 7, 2001. Where you say that you see your daughter in everything, I completely understand. Me too! Every little baby boy, young boy, teenager and young man reminds me of Gary. I didn't realize until after Gary died that I belong to a huge 'club'. The Club of Mothers that Have Lost Their Children.
Heavenly Father has helped me to survive, eventho the grief is almost too much for me sometimes. I thank Him for giving us his Son--our only hope of being with our precious children again. Love and peace, Maureen
My husband and I also lost a child. Because of that, I read your beautiful article. It made me cry. Thank you for your wonderful testimony of the Atonement! May God continue blessing and comforting you! You are right - comfort comes only through prayer, scripture reading and temple attendance. You now have a guardian angel in Heaven! God bless you and your family!
Dear Maurine, I whispered a silent amen after reading your article this morning. We are sisters in ways you cannot know. I, too, have lost a daughter...and a husband. "Homeward Bound" had powerful, spiritual significance for us during his last days of struggle against cancer. I, too, have never felt self pity, or anger, or bitterness. Rather, I have felt the tangible presence of the Comforter and been wrapped in the arms of my Savior as I have wept in the night. Even though I have felt at those times that I could never be happy again, and even though the longing and loneliness for my eternal companion is a daily constant, I find joy in Him whose birth we celebrate this season. I testify that I know my name is known in heaven and that we are in the hollow of His hand. In His time "this, too, shall pass away."
Thank you for sharing such beautiful, heartfelt and touching message. Your faith is inspiring.
Thank you, Maurine!
I too have been in your situation. 10 years ago while we were on vacation we received a phone call from the Orange County Coroner telling us that our daughter had died from an overdose. With our two younger children, it was hard to remain calm. I remember crying at the picnic table all night and reading my Book of Mormon. Somewhere in it I was led to a scripture that eased my grief. I can't tell you where it is and I have not been able to find it again, but I knew it was the Lord giving me solace. Even though it has been 10 years, I still miss her and wish she could be here to see her son and our family. God bless you in your time of sorrow.
Oh, Maureen, what a heartfelt article. I am so sorry for your loss. My only sister died when she was 46 years old and I remember my mom saying, "It is not right for your child to die before you." Thank you for sharing such intense, personal feelings. I am saving your article for future reference. Have a blessed Christmas, even without your Melissa.
Thank you for opening up your broken heart and thank you for your devotion to Meridian Magazine. Having lost a daughter myself I can relate, even though each person's trial and experience is very personal. God bless you going forward.
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank-you for sharing.
Maurine, thank you so much for having the courage to write this tender and poignant article. It certainly has touched my heart this morning as I read of your faith and The Savior's tender mercies for you. Please know of my gratitude for all the good that you and your husband do with Meridian magazine. May the Lord continue to bless and strengthen you. My heart to yours!
We lost our oldest son, 30, in an accident two years ago last summer. Your experience resonates with ours: the soul-crushing pain, the tender mercies, the periodic dispensations of peace, and the growing hope for a future day. Prayers for you as you travel this broken road.
Thank you so much for sharing your precious, inspired moments of revelation. Before my daughter died, I did not know how closely joy and sorrow were related. The Spirit brought me the greatest joy I have ever felt as I concurrently felt the greatest sorrow I had ever known.
This was beautifully written. My son passed away two years ago, so I empathize with your loss. Thank you for sharing how Christ's atonement has helped you through this difficult time. I too have been lifted by his love. I pray that in time you will feel the blanket of comfort and light you desire.
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Our Heavenly Father has helped me with my sorrow in losing our babies and my Mother.
I've have had such blessing as songs or the smell of my Mother's perfume. It does bring comfort.
I'm am thankful for the knowledge of Eternal Life and that Families are Forever!
May you have a beautiful and peaceful Christmas.
Oh Maurine, I can barely see through my tears to type a few words of thanks that you were willing to share such personal feeling while your grief is still so fresh. I am strengthened whenever some shares a testimony of the Savior, but when they are able to do it in the middle of their deepest trials it makes the words particularly powerful. That is what you have done with your writing today. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing the these precious and sacred experiences of grief and comfort, Maurine. The truth of your words are a steady flame of testimony to all who have and are yet to experience the searing pain of loss that demands our turning our whole hearts to the Savior. Or be lost.
Thank you for sharing these intimate, tender feelings. They will be a strength to many. I'm so sorry for your loss.
I put my own daughter who died of Cancer at the age of 51 in the words which you wrote. The emotions and the love are the same. Jesus is the answer. Thanks,
Thank you for this message! I also know what it means to lose a child, No one can decribe the pain that comes from it. But worse than that is loosing a child because of transgression.
Thank you for being willing to listen to the promptings of the spirit encouraging you to share your inner life, that takes great love and faith. I have not lost a child, spouse or parent...but I'm not unacquainted with grief, so I thank you for taking my heart and mind to a sweet and tender place today.
What a beautiful telling of your story of loss and faith. Thank you for sharing it so profoundly.
So raw. So beautiful. So tender. So brave. THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts and the stories of those two "gifts"... the texts under, but not under "M" and the pianist following the spirit to play the song. Wow. Just. So. Powerful. May you continue to be blessed!
How eloquently you have written about your intense personal grief for your lovely Melissa. I, too, have experienced deep, all-absorbing grief in the loss of our daughter this summer. I have been unable to move forward with Christmas and this grief has cut so deeply. Your article reaffirms to me that the atonement is for each of us personally and completely. Thank you for sharing such difficult spiritual pain. It has blessed my life to move on.
such a beautiful article. Since, I, too have lost someone, my husband, and I, too, wish for a knock on the door, I was so touched by this article and the words. thoughts and impressions I share also, Thank you for an amazing article and story. Our loved ones are really with us and surround us. May your Christmas be filled with the spirit of your daughter and may we all have wonderful memories of our loved ones gone before.
Some years ago there was an auto accident and Pres. Faust's daughter-in-law and one of his grandchildren were killed. He was scheduled to visit our stake the next weekend. He came anyway. We could see the agony of his soul but he came to teach us all. We just press on. I have experienced the unexpected loss of loved ones several times. I don't know how it is endured by those who don't have testimony.
Thank you for sharing your experience.
I am sorry for your loss and I grieve with you and your family.
My wife and I suffered the death of our son six years ago. The pains you are feeling are real and are expressions of the love you have for your daughter. As hard as those pains are to bear, I know that the Savior is equally as real and that he loves you. His infinite atonement will make you whole.
Because the pains of grief are manifestations of love, it is unreasonable to expect that they will ever completely go away. Even six years later, I find that I have days of sorrow. Over time, however, the Lord has also taught me about life and death in ways that have helped me understand his ways and his will. From this I have learned that death is temporary and life is eternal. Because of my son’s death, I have grown much closer to my Heavenly Father.
One last thing: I was amazed to discover that working together through sorrow has made my relationship with my wife stronger. Yes, we grieve, but we look forward to that great day when all shall be made right.
Thank you! You have such a gift with expressing things that are in my heart. As I read, I felt the oneness (3 Nephi 19:23, 29) The Lord spoke about. Love you, Ana
I was moved to tears as I read your inspired words.
They will be a blessing and a guide to many others who suffer the pain of the loss of a loved one.
Thank you. Bless you.
What a marvelous, touching, spirit filled tribute. It brought great comfort to me as I thought of my son who died a year and half ago.
Thank you for sharing such intimate, personal thoughts. I cannot even imagine the depth of pain and loss you must feel. I wept as I read your open expressions. Your observations give me insight as to how I can approach my own trials--particularly during those times that feel so dark and heavy to me. My heartfelt prayers go out in behalf of you and your family.
Beautifully (and faithfully) written. Thank you for verbalizing your grief so we can remember your experience when we face similar devastation and know we are not the only ones. Most of all, thank you for sharing sacred communications of the Spirit so that we too may know how to recognize His ministering. So sorry for your loss (what paltry words!).
Thank you for your words. They strike a chord with all who suffer loss--which really is all of us.
Thank you for sharing the deepest feelings of your heart -- and the healing balm that comes from a loving Heavenly Father. It inspired me -- as I am sure it will for thousands of others. This is a great gift to others, that comes from your afflictions. I have not lost a child, so I don't fully understand -- but your insights and experiences have blessed my life this day.
May God continue to bless you.
Thank you for sharing your intense thoughts and feelings in this excellent article. I am sending it to my daughter who recently "lost" her husband.
Thank you so very much for opening your heart. Both of you are in my prayers.
This article brings light to the world in every way possible. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having the courage and strength to write it. Thirty-seven years ago,on 13 December, twin girls were born to our family and died within days because they were premature. I know a little of your grief, but we had such a short time together, it was different from yours. Still . . . your story has brought peace at a time of tender reflection as it is every year. Thank you for following the promptings of the Spirit . . .
Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal and tender story. It has truly lifted my heart.
Sorry for your loss. Sorry for the blandness of that first sentence, too, but I am sorrowing with you. What a loss. Your wrote beautifully about the pain and recovering. Thanks.
Thank you for sharing your personal and very beautiful testimony.
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