Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.
As I turned to the scriptures, I read in 2 Nephi 9:20 that God knows “all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.” If the Lord knew beforehand what would happen to our son, then the word accident takes on a greater meaning. Yes, it was an accident, but the fact that the Lord knew that such a thing could happen in mortality made it easier for me to accept and bear. I felt trust and faith in Him. I knew I could cast my burdens on the Lord and He would sustain me (see Ps. 55:22). I realized that simply because God knows all things does not imply that He is responsible for what happens. I am grateful for the Atonement that can compensate for whatever happens and can heal all my wounds.
I don’t think I could ever have coped without the hope given us throughout the scriptures and the writings of the prophets. I love and accept the Prophet Joseph Smith’s teachings on the innocence of children and their right to inherit the celestial kingdom (see D&C 137:7). These truths are also profoundly expressed in Mosiah 3 and in Moroni 8. We find peace in the knowledge that we shall have our son again.
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
“My children and I were at her bedside as she slipped peacefully into eternity. As I held her hand and saw mortal life drain from her fingers, I confess I was overcome. Before I married her, she had been the girl of my dreams, to use the words of a song then popular. She was my dear companion for more than two-thirds of a century, my equal before the Lord, really my superior. And now in my old age, she has again become the girl of my dreams.”
Hannah of the Old Testament demonstrated the power of grief to motivate in positive ways. For years Hannah was unable to have children, a condition that caused her deep heartache. As her grief overwhelmed her, she knelt near the temple and prayed fervently for a child. She explained to the priest Eli that she was “of a sorrowful spirit” and that she was praying “out of the abundance of [her] complaint and grief” (1 Samuel 1:15–16). In time, the Lord answered her prayer by giving her a son, Samuel, who became a great prophet and leader.
Hannah’s grief over her childlessness led her to pray, which in turn led to an answer to her prayer. If Hannah had not felt grief, she might not have offered that important prayer.
“There is enough heartache and sorrow in this life without our adding to it through our own stubbornness, bitterness, and resentment. … We must let go of our grievances. … That is the Lord’s way.”
Many are praying to Heavenly Father for relief, for help in carrying their burdens of grief, loneliness, and fear. Heavenly Father hears those prayers and understands their needs. He and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Jesus Christ, have promised help.
“In April 1993 our water heater pilot light came into contact with gasoline fumes and exploded into flames. Our two-year-old son, Thomas, was in the middle of it. The fire department put out the fire with minimum damage to our home or possessions, but our son was severely burned. Though I longed for him to live, I could see he probably wouldn’t. Within six hours of the accident, he died…
During the first few days following the accident, all I could feel was acute pain, though now I realize that the Spirit of the Lord was constantly with me. Through the Spirit it became clear to me that how I acted was my choice. I couldn’t change the facts. I couldn’t stop the pain and the hurt, but I could choose my reactions. I looked to the scriptures for everything I could find about death and the Lord’s healing balm. I couldn’t sleep at night, so I searched my mind for any hymns or scriptures that I could call to my memory to find even a moment of relief.
I knew I had to accept my son’s death and work through my grief. Though Thomas was gone, I knew I had the gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope of the Resurrection to help me. The strength of my testimony was of vital importance. I did a lot of soul-searching and determined that everything I had professed to believe throughout my life was indeed true.”
“Through tears and trials, through fears and sorrows, through the heartache and loneliness of losing loved ones, there is assurance that life is everlasting. Our Lord and Savior is the living witness that such is so.”