Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dealing With Death

Of the trials that can shock us to the core, dealing with the death of someone close to us has to be about as difficult as anything else. For a few months now I've been collecting my thoughts on this subject, and now seems as good a time as any to share them.

First, I want to say that in my estimation grieving is necessary, helpful, and appropriate. I have heard some say that if you believe in the potential for eternal life then death doesn't need to be sad. I agree that death won't be sad forever, but there are people I certainly wish I could see again. There are inputs I won't have any more in this life, and to me that is sad. I have learned the hard way that refusing to confront emotion can be very damaging. The bard was onto something when through MacDuff he affirmed the value of "[feeling] it as a man."

Different experiences I've had bring me comfort on the subject. I remember my Uncle JP, when he was dying, said that he saw his parents waiting for him. I don't believe that this was a hallucination due to a failing physical body; I believe that the veil is thinner as you approach it. It comforts me to know that those who leave loved ones here on earth will be with loved ones still when they pass from this life. We cannot directly comfort them nor they us but others can, and to me that is beautiful. The sealing powers will take ailing bodies home to ancestors - including in many cases parents - who long to be closer to them, to know and to make known. None are alone in the eternities.

The mother of that same uncle, my sweet Granny Karnes, suffered for many years preceding the end of her life. For many years rheumatoid arthritis gradually took more and more of physical health; dementia came later to attack her mental health. Most of my memories of her include a hospital bed which was in her living room. When I picture her now, I see her flying. I know that none of these diseases can hurt her or cause her pain any more. I among others mourned her death but I take comfort that she is free from pains that never left her all the years I knew her on this earth. Not all that die suffer chronically before their death, but all become freed from physical pain, including the cruel pains of mental illness, and to me this is also beautiful.

Finally, I know that through the Atonement, all accounts will eventually be settled. Many in this life are born into poverty, tribulations, handicaps, or what have you. Nothing is more common to mankind than trials. Death is one of the steps towards rectifying everything that happens in life. I do not know how it works or why things happen how they happen, but I know that there is a plan. All of us experience what we need to have the opportunity to return to live with our Heavenly Father again, and I believe that more of the plan will be knowable and comprehensible after death than before. To put it differently, I believe that many who cannot feel the warm embrace of Christ's love now will feel it stronger after passing through the veil, and to me that is profoundly beautiful.

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