Wednesday, April 11, 2012

For Anyone Who is Affected by Death..

Recently, my Great Grandma, Ruth Vivian Cecil passed away at age 90. I truly feel blessed that she stuck around for so long. As long as I can remember, Ruthie and her sweet husband Ray (who passed away nearly 10 years before she did) have been an epic love story in our family. They spoke so lovingly to each other and it was so apparent that they were deeply in love every day that they knew each other. My Gramma Cecil was full of spunk and spirit and life, and I am sure that some of her best traits have been passed through the generations and will be cherished forever. It is safe to say that Ruthie will be sorely missed by so many of us left here, especially her children and grandchildren that were very close to her. At the same time, I believe that we can all find a testimony strengthening lesson in her life and passing.

Ruthie grew ill a little while ago, and so many of us had been alerted to go visit her for what might have been the last time for us in this lifetime.  A couple of weeks ago Maggie and I went up with the rest of my family members to visit with her. While she was obviously ill, and a bit loopy, I am greatful that we were able to see her one last time. During the Sunday Morning session of Conference on April 1, as soon as we arrived to my mom and dad's home to watch it with them, my mom recieved the call that Gramma Cecil had passed away. At that very moment, our prophet was giving this message:

"Every thoughtful person has asked himself the question best phrased by Job of old: “If a man die, shall he live again?” Try as we might to put the question out of our thoughts, it always returns. Death comes to all mankind. It comes to the aged as they walk on faltering feet. Its summons is heard by those who have scarcely reached midway in life’s journey. At times it hushes the laughter of little children.

But what of an existence beyond death? Is death the end of all? Robert Blatchford, in his book God and My Neighbor, attacked with vigor accepted Christian beliefs such as God, Christ, prayer, and particularly immortality. He boldly asserted that death was the end of our existence and that no one could prove otherwise. Then a surprising thing happened. His wall of skepticism suddenly crumbled to dust. He was left exposed and undefended. Slowly he began to feel his way back to the faith he had ridiculed and abandoned. What had caused this profound change in his outlook? His wife died. With a broken heart he went into the room where lay all that was mortal of her. He looked again at the face he loved so well. Coming out, he said to a friend: “It is she, and yet it is not she. Everything is changed. Something that was there before is taken away. She is not the same. What can be gone if it be not the soul?”

Later he wrote: “Death is not what some people imagine. It is only like going into another room. In that other room we shall find … the dear women and men and the sweet children we have loved and lost.”12"
- President Thomas S. Monson

Ok, now THAT is some good timing!! How much more comfort can you recieve than that? I can't even IMAGINE the precious reunion that was going on in the Spirit World when Ruthie and Ray were finally reunited, never EVER to be seperated again! How sweet is this gospel that we can be assured of such things! I recieve so much comfort in knowing and feeling that my brother, Andy (who passed away at age 12 when I was just a toddler) can and is in my prescence at times. I have always felt that loved ones have a way to influence our lives and be present in their own way once they pass through the veil.

Last night I found another little gem from conference that can offer comfort to many people mourning a loss..

"President Joseph F. Smith {said}: “I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. … We are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors … who have preceded us into the spirit world. We can not forget them; we do not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus we are associated and united to them by ties that we can not break. … If this is the case with us in our finite condition, surrounded by our mortal weaknesses, … how much more certain it is … to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond … can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. … We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; … their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.”1
Relationships can be strengthened through the veil with people we know and love. That is done by our determined effort to continually do what is right. We can strengthen our relationship with the departed individual we love by recognizing that the separation is temporary and that covenants made in the temple are eternal. When consistently obeyed, such covenants assure the eternal realization of the promises inherent in them."
-Richard G. Scott

I don't mean to pretend that I know what every loss feels like, because I most certainly do not. And I am sure that intense pain is inevitable with every death. But what I do know is that I feel very blessed that the gospel can bring such comfort to know that this life is not all there is, but merely a step to a greater goal. I LOVE knowing that life is not over at this life for anybody, no matter how big or small, old or young. I LOVE that our church has living prophets to remind us of these things at times when we need it most. It is really awesome that our sensitivity to spiritual things lies within our control and that we can choose to be in tune by living righteously. Seriously, what better consolation can anyone have?

So might we all remember those sweet spirits, that are so dear to us, that made it to the "other room" of the spirit world before we did, and allow their existence to leave a mark on us for the better and never be forgotten. :)

1 comment:

Mandy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma, but am so glad General Conference was so timely for you. I'm sure that was NOT by accident. Thanks for your uplifting words. You are such a great example, Niki!