Grief

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946566_10151951212643916_1076515923_nIn my last post I talked about how stressed I’ve been lately, what with school and work and all. As such, I’ve been falling behind in my social media intake, there’s just not time. I usually get on once a day, usually late at night. Last Sunday I was taking advantage of the slight break I had between church and work and was pursuing my Facebook page. The first thing I noticed was that a good number of my friends had changed their profile pictures to the same image of a bunch of yellow balloons and the message to pray for the son of one of my friends. Not knowing of anything desperate health wise for him I scrolled down quickly and it didn’t take me long to discover the original post saying that my fiends son, who was almost three, had gotten into the pool at a family party the previous day without anyone noticing and had drowned. He was still alive, but in critical condition and was in desperate need of prayers.

I didn’t know him personally, but I knew him by sight. His mother posted pictures of him all the time. He was a ham, he had the best smile. That night at work I tried to find as many times as I could to check Facebook and see if there was an update on his condition. Things were looking up on Monday, he’d received a blessing with the promise of a recovery, he was breathing mostly on his own, the medication was controlling the seizures in his brain.

Tuesday dawned without a post from my friend, and I felt my heart sinking. I was at work when I got the e-mail with the alert that a message had been posted to the Facebook page that they had created for him. He had died early that morning. I could feel my heart breaking. I couldn’t imagine the pain that my friend was going through. Late last year she gave birth to twins three months early. One of them had had almost a dozen brain surgeries in the few short months that he had been alive and had been so close to death himself so many times. Her oldest son had just been baptized into our church. What should have been a time of celebration had turned into a time or mourning.

What’s worse, is that I don’t know what to say. Everything I can think of seems so hollow and empty.

I’m sorry for your loss.

I can’t imagine the pain you are feeling right now.

If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know.

All I have is my words. My faith that she will be able to see her son again through the atonement of Christ and the restoration of the church. They are sealed in the temple, they are an eternal family. I know this isn’t my “religious” blog, but I don’t care.

The woman I work with in the morning lost one of her sons when he was ten years old. He wasn’t feeling well one morning and less than a week later he was dead. They had a stake wide fast for him, he got blessings, the doctors tried everything they could, but he still died. She told me once that she couldn’t understand why God would take him form the earth at such a young age. He was kind and gentle and had a sweet spirit. He had no bad habits and was helpful and loyal. She was bitter for a time, stopped going to church where every hymn that was sung reminded her of him and every speaker reminded her that he was no longer with them.

And then, one day her oldest son, who should have been at church passing the sacrament, came home early and said that he couldn’t bear to think of his mother sitting all alone at home mourning. That he missed his brother as much as she missed her son and he loved her. And if she needed to be home then he would be there with her. She hadn’t realized the impact she was having on everyone around her. She went back to church, she cried when they sang the hymns, she cried as she played the organ at funerals for older people in the ward. And she kept going. I don’t doubt that 60 years later she still thinks of him everyday. His loss has never gotten easier.

She tells a story about how shortly after she returned to church President McKay was in town and for some reason had cause to meet with her husband and give him a blessing, or set him apart. After their meeting President McKay was inspired to ask if there was anything he could help him with, that he had seemed troubled. He told the president about his sons passing and the struggle that both he and his wife had been having comping and coming to grips with the death. President McKay told him that he was writing a book that had a chapter on the very topic. In short, his told him that his son was only needed on earth for that short of time. That, no, we couldn’t understand why, but that he was a kind and pure soul and that he was with God.

I don’t know if I can share these words with my friend, I don’t know if they would be of help. But I do feel for her. Her sons funeral is tomorrow. He would have been three next month. Please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers, or whatever equivalent you have. And wear something yellow. It was his favorite color.

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