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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dealing with Loss

[Joyful Finds Series]
Brought to you every Monday;
Beginning the Week with a Little Happiness

My mom holding my one week old daughter, March 2011.
A year ago this summer my mom passed away. What a painful time for our family! I felt all the emotions that accompany a life lost so suddenly: Sorrow, confusion, grief, regret, anger... But, at the same time, I felt so many other, more comfortable emotions. Gratitude for all of those who reached out to our family in countless acts of kindness was one of those, but another- more resounding emotion- was that of peace. A calmness that overwhelmed me and allowed me to smile and refrain from bitterness. A calmness that allowed me to move on and rejoice in this beautiful life. My attitude did not mean I didn't miss Mom. It didn't mean I wasn't heart broken over her death! But, how can I explain why I feel such happiness amidst such sorrow? I came across this short article today and was overjoyed because the author expressed everything I have felt, and yet have been unable to put into words, so eloquently. 
Picture courtesy of Jacob Myers
 If I were to highlight every piece that I can completely relate to in this article, the whole page would be smeared yellow! If I have to pick though, my favorite paragraph is the last, and my favorite line reads this: "Our mourning is a result of our love, but our hearts don’t have to be troubled." I have mourned, but I have not been troubled, nor do I believe that my mom would wish that upon me. 

 A River of Peace, by Lanise Heaton.

The day our oldest son died in an accident, the loss opened a piercing wound in my soul. Yet I knew I could count on the Savior’s atoning power to help carry my heavy burden of sorrow and pain. My husband and I asked our home teachers to give each of us a blessing. We knew strength would come to us beyond our own. Our Savior has promised He will not leave us comfortless (see John 14:18). I have clung with an iron grip to that promise and testify that so has He.

Isaiah teaches that the Savior was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). If anyone could succor us, I knew He could, on a very personal level. Yet I also knew that if He instantly snatched our grief from us, there would be no growth, no dawn of understanding.

Despite the heartache, I have experienced a constant underlying river of peace that flows from the Savior (see 1 Nephi 20:18). At particularly hard moments, days, or even weeks, His peace has carried away my sadness. I have but to ask for it. Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to go through mortality alone.
As I reflect on the accident that took my son’s life, an Old Testament account comes to mind:
“Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods” (Daniel 3:17–18; emphasis added).

The important part is “But if not.” We must keep the faith no matter what happens. Heavenly Father could have sent angels to carry my son out of harm’s way, but He didn’t. He knows what it will take to sanctify us so we can be prepared to come home to Him. Everything will turn out OK. But that doesn’t mean we will never mourn or cry again. Our mourning is a result of our love, but our hearts don’t have to be troubled.The greatest gift we can give those on both sides of the veil is to move forward with our heads held up in faith and hope in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, even if each step is taken with tears streaming down our faces. For we are promised that “the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ” (Mosiah 16:8). One day “the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces” (Isaiah 25:8).


  1. Beautiful thoughts and pictures! Kari was a special person an will be remembered by many. My life has been blessed by having her in it and the wonderful family that she so lovingly cared for shared with me!

  2. BEAUTIFUL post, Jessica. :) Your Mother is beautiful, I can see so much of her in you! I know she must be so very proud of such an incredible daughter. :)