I don't remember experiencing these feelings last April. Probably because April 2014 was our first April here in Virginia, and the newness of actually having a Spring overshadowed emotions. Or possibly because it was a gift from heaven to be protected that month from these emotions.
But this year, April has been emotional. All of a sudden, the white daffodils popping up everywhere weren't just beautiful, they were reminders of a raw, poignant time with Abigail on her painful journey.
This picture was taken May 2, 2013, five months after her cancer relapsed and I knew she would die. She and I had flown to Michigan for her monthly scans. Unknown to us, this would be our last medical trip to Michigan. In fact, the flight back home to AZ would be her 33rd and final airplane flight. Her scan a few days before this picture showed new cancer all over; the radioactive isotope lit up the new cancer along her entire spine like a Christmas tree. It didn't surprise me, but was such unwelcome, unwanted, horrible news.
Pain medications--strong opioids--reduced the message getting to her brain that she was experiencing pain. And so we went for a little walk outside of the hospital. We found a small grassy area to enjoy, and just down the hill from the grass, were these beautiful flowers! Now, being from Arizona, these flowers were nothing short of amazing! Abigail sat in them so I could take her picture, being careful to keep her arms tucked in so the daffodil blades didn't poke her. She made these flowers look even more beautiful.
I didn't know then that because I took those pictures, daffodils would later be painful to look at.
A dear friend told me that the second year of grieving can be harder than the first. I find in many ways this is true, and in other ways, nothing ever compares to the first year. So it's fun all around!
Today marks 21 months without her.
Thankfully, with April also comes Easter and General Conference. There is nothing that compares to the peace Jesus brings into life. Even amidst heartache. They are not exclusive.
My heart overflows with gratitude at the same time that my pain vessels overflow from the wound of her physical separation. I love the eloquent words of Jeffrey R. Holland, who said,The clamor that reverberates across the earth because of worldly wickedness creates feelings of vulnerability. With modern communication the impact of iniquity, inequality, and injustice leaves many feeling that life is inherently unfair. As significant as these trials can be, they must not distract us from rejoicing in and celebrating Christ’s supernal intercession in our behalf. The Savior literally “gained the victory over death.” With mercy and compassion He took upon Himself our iniquity and transgressions, thus redeeming us and satisfying the demands of justice for all who would repent and believe on His name.His magnificent atoning sacrifice is of transcendent significance beyond mortal comprehension. This act of grace provides the peace that surpasses understanding. The Lord is My Light
So today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins. That victory is available to us because of events that transpired on a weekend precisely like this nearly two millennia ago in Jerusalem
That first Easter sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life.
To quote myself from "Abigail's Story" on her carepage:
Eternally grateful we are sealed together for eternity. The pain of physical separation is more immense than I ever imagined. We continue on, living each day with faith.