It was too hard to block pain. It meant I had to harden my heart against feeling, and I couldn’t keep that up. It broke apart on Sunday, and it wasn’t very pretty. But having a soft, feeling heart comes more naturally, and I think I need to feel whatever pain this year holds for me.
|March 2010. Abigail at ten months old.|
I won’t be posting much more this month. I need to process my emotions without dragging others through the lows and highs. I’ve done a good enough job of that already.
I belong to a group of mothers who’ve lost children and recently one mother shared a thought that was expressed to her, something along the lines of "stop thinking about what you lost and think more about what you gained." Not that we are supposed to stop thinking of our children. That's absurd, and that wasn't what was intended.
So I contemplated that. I thought and prayed about it. I wrote down a list, and I'm still working on it. I'll share some of it with you. You can't look at it and see that one category is bigger than the other, and therefore better, because Abigail's physical presence is pretty dang huge. But there are some principles here that are really good to ponder on.
What I have LOST:
Abigail's physical presence
worldly cares or aspirations
desire for unimportant things
What I have GAINED:
network of pain vessels
years of sorrow
a daughter whose future exaltation is secured
a personal guardian angel
possibility of greater joy
deeper appreciation of life's precious moments
deeper love and relationship with my Father and Savior
greater appreciation for the Atonement
more longing for service
more of a missionary mind
a stricter obedience
more patience than before
children with stronger testimonies
a stronger marriage
less propensity to judge, and
an unbreakable magnet back to heaven.
Looking at that list looks like I should be a really good person. And that is why I feel like the prophet Nephi, when he lamented because of his sins. We know better, and yet we are still sinful.
“16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul… Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever…
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.”(read it all here)
Amen and amen. What a prayer. The things I have gained is not a brag list. Indeed, I prayed for the opposite: for Abigail to stay. But apparently He had other plans for both her and me. Not only did her death bring about a new heart for me, but her intense, lengthy fight was a factor as well. Both of those broke me—broke my heart.
Broke my heart in order to build a new one.
I trust God. All of the things I have gained are gifts from Him. It is not to my credit at all, and I can lose them if I’m not mindful and watchful and prayerful and careful.
“Be still my soul, thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past…”
I know He WILL wipe away all tears. And there will be joy and happiness, exceeding the trials and sorrow of this life. I have to live worthy to receive those blessings, as all blessings are predicated on obedience to His laws. And if I’m going to have joy and happiness then, I’d better get in practice now. An unhappy person doesn’t become happy just because they die.
Thank you for your prayers for our family. There is not a doubt in my mind they help. Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for taking this bit of a window into grief and using it in how you react with others you may know. Thank you for being kind and nonjudgmental.