Last week was a rough one for me. Three of our dear friends/family had passed away unexpectedly. They were all younger than they should have been to leave this earth and it was not easy to take. I’ve done this before, though. Nine years ago my mother and husband passed away nine months from each other.
Death of a loved one is one of those necessities we all have to live through. We are here on earth for only a short time and then we go back. For those who go on to the next life, it’s a wonderful reunion of family and friends already there. But for those who are left behind on earth, many times they find themselves on a difficult road to travel. Life as we know it can change in a blink of an eye without the companionship of that person. But we still must go on.
I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” over the Christmas holiday and that one line the angel Clarence says always sticks with me, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Those who have passed on definitely leave terrible holes but we have to find ourselves again without that person. We have to bring some meaning into our lives even though we terribly miss those people who pass on.
For me, the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives comfort during such times such. From The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), church leader Russell M. Nelson gives some words of comfort which I need to read over and over again:
“Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Prior to our birth, we dwelled as spirit children with our Father in Heaven. There we eagerly anticipated the possibility of coming to earth and obtaining a physical body. Knowingly we wanted the risks of mortality, which would allow the exercise of agency and accountability. ‘This life [was to become] a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.’ (Alma 12:24) But we regarded the returning home as the best part of that long-awaited trip, just as we do now. Before embarking on any journey, we like to have some assurance of a round-trip ticket. Returning from earth to live in our heavenly home requires passage through—and not around—the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.”
In a nut shell, this is what the LDS Church calls the Plan of Happiness. We lived as spirit children before we came to earth and then will return to where we should be with our Father in Heaven. Our
earthly experience gives us the chance to make choices and we exercise our free agency. These experiences will help us to learn what is really important.
Death does not become us because we don’t die. Not really. We pass on to the life we knew before we came to earth. This is home. We all want to be there when it is our turn to go back; we just have to be patient for that time and do all we can to touch the lives of others we love. We need to blossom on earth.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.