A Little Closure

Anyone who has ever experienced a loss will tell you that all the things “they” say about grief are not true. You can run from it all you want, but eventually grief catches up to you. You never stop thinking about and missing those people you love.

Case in point, my kiddos were asking about my dad on the way to church a few weeks ago. I was overcome with sadness and started crying and missing my daddy who has been gone for more than 20 years.

Time does not heal all wounds.

The atonement, on the other hand, can provide comfort that can’t be found in any therapy session or bout of writing.

It’s been four-and-a-half years since my second dad, Lloyd, passed away, (it’s overly documented here that I’ve had a little bitterness about it) and I’ve finally been open enough with God to get some answers. Or one answer. An insight really. A very small but powerful insight.

I’ve been selfish.

Every time I’ve complained in my head about Lloyd being gone, which is every time I work on a project, something goes wrong with my car or house, I need parenting advice, my boys have any kind of event, or they are sad that he is gone, I’ve been complaining for selfish reasons.

But Lloyd is gone because that is what was best for him.

That small insight provided by the Spirit has taken away the bitterness of Lloyd’s loss.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t still have heartache about him being gone, or my dad and brother. It just means that I don’t feel angry at God about it any more.

I had a similar healing experience years ago.

I was a lost teenager repenting of the mistakes she had made while trying to navigate the angst-filled years of her youth without a father and then with a man trying to come in and be her father.

I’ll be forever grateful for that repentance process because it gave me a closeness with my Savior that I don’t think I would have achieved otherwise. Because of that closeness, I had true communication with the Lord and had been praying that my dad would know I loved him. I could only imagine that someone who had chosen to end their own life had to suffer the consequences of those actions and he must have seen the suffering his children were going through because of his choice. Anyway, I wanted him to know that I still loved him and started asking in my prayers that Heravenly Father would tell him.

I know it was because I was experiencing the power of the Atonement very strongly then that I was blessed with another small healing moment.

It was right about the 5th anniversary of Dad’s death and I was traveling down a back road with my mom. Suddenly, I could smell him. He had a very distinct smell of Old Spice, engine grease, and a stinky lunch box. I loved that smell. There was no mistaking it, and suddenly it was there. I knew right then that he loved me very much, which, if you can imagine, I had questioned.

It was like when the sun breaks through the clouds after a long, dreary winter. My heart was lightened. I wasn’t weighed down by what I didn’t have.

These two healing moments haven’t changed that I feel sad when I think of them, but it does make the weight of sorrow lighter. It doesn’t mean I’m not side-swiped by sadness occasionally, but it does mean that I have hope and joy in the thought of reuniting with them some day.

 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so,… righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. – 2 Nephi 2:11.


Back to Prayer

I sat in a beautiful testimony meeting yesterday.

Some of the sweetest and simplest testimonies I’ve ever heard about prayer were shared.

A mom with an inactive teenager shared how her son had gone on an activity with the Young Men and lost something valuable and important to him. He and a friend searched and searched, and just as they were going to give up, the friend suggested they pray. The boy said sure to not be rude, and then, not 10 seconds after the prayer was offered, the missing item was found in a place they had searched together many times.

His heart was touched.

Then some sweet little kids got up and shared about a time they had lost something, prayed for help to find it, and quickly found it.

Finally, a man arose and shared about a time when he was a boy and had prayed for a lost item and then found it, and how sometimes those prayers and answers seem so simple and trivial, but as a young child, that simple prayer and answer had a huge impact.

All those sweet witnesses reminded me of how I’ve learned that when I’ve lost, say, my keys and it is time to walk out the door or we’re going to be late (something I hate), I can either turn into a rage monster, or I can say a quick prayer and, most of the time, find them.

Which brought me around to this that I wrote just about a year ago. I thought about how I’ve been doing (not perfectly) and then noticed that even though I may have yelled at God at some point this year and told Him I was angry with Him, and hurt, and I was having a really hard time trusting Him with my heart, He has still blessed me.

He has given me insight into why my children were struggling, how to resolve a conflict with my husband, how to build a better relationship with my brother, what to say to an inactive friend who is struggling in his own life and faith, and, of course, where to find my keys.

He has blessed me with answers to questions, helped me in my callings, kept me safe, provided me with comfort, lead to me where I could find physical healing, and helped me know that He has the people I love safely in His watchful care.

All while I have struggled to trust Him with my deepest feelings and thoughts.

God’s love is amazing.

He is waiting to help us.

This morning I read this: But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally… (D&C 46:7).

I haven’t been great at keeping the commandment, but when I have, He has given liberally. His love is obvious and abounding in my life.

I truly used to have a very open and trusting friendship with my Heavenly Father, and while my heart is not yet fully healed, it is getting better. My friendship with Him is incredibly important, and I know He’s just waiting on me.

And I’m working on it.