Thursday, January 07, 2016

Remembering

My posts haven't had much rhyme or reason lately, and I suppose I'm still getting back in the habit of blogging here more regularly, but tonight I feel like writing. 


I've had 2 full days of quiet at a friend's house, and I can feel my brain settling down a little bit after all the travel and the holidays, even though I've still got 5 days till I actually go home and I have a full weekend of work ahead of me.

I guess I've had time and space to let my thoughts just do their own thing. So, this is what I'm thinking about.

Today was January 6, and two years ago on this day, my very young cousin died because of a car accident. I wrote about it more poetically here. Today I lack the poetry, but am still feeling the sadness.

In our family, the generations cross over each other in all kinds of ways. My dad's youngest sisters are only a few years older than me, and my youngest sister is only a few years older than my oldest child. So, this cousin, the third child of my dad's younger sister, was actually younger than my oldest son. Have you got that?? She and her brother joined my aunt and uncle's family after many years of waiting for more children. I remember when she was born. I remember talking with my aunt about choosing her name. I remember what she looked like as a baby. I even changed her diapers and took care of her a few times. I remember her sweet, loving spirit a few years later as she held my youngest child when he was only a few weeks old and we were visiting Arizona for my brother's wedding. She loved my little baby and asked often to hold him during that trip. I'm really grateful to have those few, sweet memories of her.

Because I always lived far away,  I didn't know her well as she grew up. But here is what I did and do know: She is beloved. She was hoped for, wanted, and cared for as a child, and she is cared for and missed in her absence from this life. That matters, and it really helps me to understand what life is about. It's about relationships and learning to love each other. Even when we can't do it perfectly, it counts, and it binds us together.

I am comforted by my faith and knowing, with a surety that I feel as tangibly as these computer keys, that her eternal life continues and that she is now experiencing the love and caring of her heavenly family, including her ancestors who died before her, as well as the closer influence and love of our Heavenly Father. The feelings of missing her that my aunts, cousins and grandmother experience every day touch me deeply because I'm a mom and a sister and a grandma. I wept on the day I heard the news--I remember someone coming upon me in the hallway at church when I got the call and finding me crying--and part of that first, keen shock was for those left behind. It is so hard to lose someone. I appreciate this thought from Russell M. Nelson:
Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.” (D&C 42:45.)
But I also like picturing this lovely young lady in the spirit world, with her personality intact and her memories as well. I like thinking of her continuing to learn and grow and, most importantly, continuing to feel beloved. She is not beyond the love of her family, and now, I believe she is even more aware of her eternal, individual worth and her continuing potential. Elder Nelson continues:
Our limited perspective would be enlarged if we could witness the reunion on the other side of the veil, when doors of death open to those returning home. 
I'm grateful for the faith I have that she can be with family forever and continue to progress in that family life. I look forward to an opportunity to get to know her better. For now, I love her because of a fundamental connection that comes of just naturally feeling the love of my extended family as I grew up, even when we were far apart. She is part of my family, and that is enough for the moment.

We need not look upon death as an enemy. With full understanding and preparation, faith supplants fear. Hope displaces despair. 

I pray for that small relief for those who love her best, and who feel her loss most painfully.


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