I have three very close family members on the other side of the veil. My dad, who passed when I was almost 13 in 1993; my baby brother, and by baby I mean 6’2”, 250 pound, very handsome, four-years my younger, brother, who passed away in February 2010; and my step-dad, who deserves a much better title than that, who passed on in October of 2012.
If you’re thinking, “geez, that sucks,” you’re right. It really does. Would I have them back in a heartbeat if it were offered me? Yes. A thousand times yes. But that’s not possible.
Instead, I’ve been blessed with small moments where I’ve been given the knowledge that they are still here, very close, and busy.
The first time I ever experienced the feeling that the veil is think was while my sister was receiving her patriarchal blessing. It was quite a few years after his passing, but as I sat in that room with my arms folded and head bowed, I knew he was there. I could feel his presence just as if he were sitting next to me.
Another time was just after my brother reunited with my dad. I had felt peace and comfort about his death immediately when it happened, but there was still a profound loss. So, as my little boys were saying their prayers one night and my grief was running down my face, I had two sets of arms wrap around me. I knew they were those of my dad and brother. It was exquisite. And as soon as the prayer was over, they were gone. I stood there begging for them to come back, and I had the distinct impression that they could, but they were busy. They had a lot of work to do and needed to get back to it. I can’t even tell you how much hope that small moment brought me.
While the losses of my dad and brother were difficult, the hardest loss I’ve dealt with thus far is that of my step-dad, Lloyd. He came into my life during those terrible teenage years when I needed a dad more than anything, but didn’t want one. But he loved me anyway and saved me from the path of self-destruction I was on.
So when he was diagnosed with Leukemia and succumbed to it two weeks later, a huge pillar of my support crumbled.
Which is probably why I’ve had the most experiences with him. I was blessed with a glimpse of what he was doing just after he died. He had immediately gone to his grandma to teach her. How could I not find comfort in that?
There have also been a few times where I’ve felt him holding my hand. The last time was about a year ago. I had gone in for my temple recommend interview and was asked if I felt worthy to enter the temple. I answered yes, and the member of the stake-presidency who was conducting the interview asked me why I felt that way. So I told him because I try hard. I have a lot of people on the other side that I want to be able to live with forever, and I have to do my part.
Anyway, it made my grief run down my face again, and I spent the 15 minute drive home in tears. You know, the aching kind. Wracking sobs, almost. And the whole way, Lloyd was holding my hand, just like he had in life so many times.
Now, I’m not saying these experiences are common. I’ve had four or five in 20 years, but those four or five times have cemented in me a knowledge that the veil is thin, the spirits of our dearly departed are here on earth, and they are close.
And that has brought me more comfort than anything else ever has.