The abject sorrow that comes with death, the bereavement that follows the passing of a loved one are mitigated only by the certainty of the Resurrection of the Son of God that first Easter morning (Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1995-2008), This Glorious Easter Morn, Apr. 1996 General Conference).
All of us will grieve the loss of loved ones. It is part of our mortal experience. I’m old enough to have mourned the loss of a number of loved ones, young and old. My grandparents, parents, my husband’s parents, my stepson, my husband’s nephew, and aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides have all passed away.
As a matter of fact, today marks the 33rd anniversary of the baby I lost by miscarriage. While the experience is not always the same, President Hinckley was right; the only thing that eventually eases the pain is that perfect faith in the resurrection.
Each Easter as I study about and ponder that first Easter morning and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I’m filled with joy and wonder. The knowledge of resurrection is both comforting and empowering. I take comfort in knowing that we will all be resurrected and made whole. There will be no pain, nor suffering. Our imperfect bodies will be perfected. Empowerment comes with knowing that if my family is obedient to our Heavenly Father’s commandments, we will live together once more.
Empowerment comes with action to make that happen. I don’t have to sit idly by and wonder what may or may not happen after death—I can participate in making a loving eternal home for my family.
I am humbled and awe struck by the sacrifice of my Savior, Jesus Christ. The love that He has for us is incomprehensible. As a writer, it is frustrating there are no words in my vocabulary to describe how His love makes me feel—or how it affects my life.
The older I get, the more understanding I gain. The more understanding I gain, the more the Savior’s sacrifice affects the everyday decisions I make. That first Easter morning is both a comfort and a constant reminder to me that I need to keep my focus on Jesus Christ and follow Him.
Death is a part of living, as is birth. None of us escapes either. Grief is a part of losing loved ones, and does not mean a lack of faith. Grief is a natural part of love. In that grief, however, we can feel comfort in knowing that Jesus knows our pain. He suffered all pain so that He could have the necessary compassion for us. The comfort He gives is a direct result of the suffering He endured for us.
Heavenly Father has provided a way for us to overcome death through the atonement and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We can be comforted through the same process. We can be healed of our grief.
Easter gives us something else—hope.
The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice. —Henry Knox Sherrill
The spiritual power that Mr. Sherrill refers to is hope. We have the power to hope for something better than we have here. We have hope that we will live with our Heavenly Parents, and we have hope that we will be with our families forever. We have hope that our pain is washed away and our bodies renewed and perfected.
It is that hope that gives us the willingness to do the work. Mr. Sherrill refers to work, discipline, and sacrifice. I love that he puts the burden of eternal happiness right where it should be—on us. We must do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.
All those verbs belong to us; not the Lord. He has done his part. He has atoned for our sins and suffered the cruelty and agony of the cross at Calvary. It is our responsibility to meet Him the rest of the way. If we aren’t willing to do our part, we can’t very well complain about the end result.
The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances. —Robert Flatt
As an imperfect mortal being, I make a lot of mistakes—just ask my children. Sometimes I feel like I’m 60 years old going on 15. I want to be so much further along in my spiritual development than is the reality. Easter gives me hope. The atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ is something that I think about daily, because I make mistakes daily.
I know that if I just have faith, I will also have power to pick up and start again. The resurrection does give my life meaning and direction. Heaven knows my need to start over constantly. That’s the beauty of Easter morning. It brings hope. We hope not only to be reunited with loved ones, but for comfort in our grief, guidance in our lives, endurance in our pain and suffering, and determination to keep trying.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents#.UYPhA6K.