Monday, May 2, 2016

Lessons from Loss

Last week, we had a death in the family. My cousin's four month old baby, who was diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia when she was born, passed away on April 22. 

It's been an emotional week for them, and for me. I felt prompted to ask them if I could make them a gift, and my offer was accepted. So for the past week, I've been working on that. 

As I've browsed through pictures and videos of this beautiful and amazing soul, I have really come to know her and to love her. Even though I was never able to meet her in person, she has really affected me. She had such strength and joy, and her expressions spoke volumes. 

On Saturday, we had the funeral, and her mother and father spoke. Her father gave an incredible life sketch which filled in the gaps that the pictures hadn't told me. Her mother talked about lessons that she had learned from her daughter, and I wanted to share a couple of things that she taught me that day. 

One of the things I loved the most, was when my cousin talked about being happy. She said that for the first while, she was very sad. Not just that, but she felt like she was expected to be sad because things were very difficult. Her daughter had never left the hospital and her entire life had been uprooted as they lived hours away from their home, not knowing if her baby would survive each day. However, at one point my cousin decided that, if her daughter didn't have very long to live, she didn't want her to live her life "surrounded by sorry saps." She wanted her daughter to know happy people. So, she chose to be happy, despite her circumstances, and she said that this decision changed everything. 

The other thing I really liked that they kept bringing up was miracles. We had quite a few fasts for their baby in our home, and we had a few family fasts with everyone else. Every time, something miraculous happened that helped this baby stay until her time on earth was completed. Miracles are real, and they do happen today. I have seen so many in our lives, and I'm so grateful for the reminder that this incredible little girl gave to us. 

It has been a difficult, but wonderful week. I have felt the Spirit so many times, and I have felt a lot of love for family and friends. I'm grateful for my cousin and her family. They have helped me grow and come closer to my Savior.

John 11:1–44, Mary of Bethany and others mourn for Lazarus
A couple weeks ago, I was feeling a bit directionless. However, when we visited the temple the day after this sweet baby girl passed away, I received some important counsel for myself. The Lord basically told me that I can be stronger than I am; I can have more patience and faith. If I'm struggling with faith and hope, I need to pray to Him and He will sustain me. I need to quit giving up so easily and I need to do better, because I'm capable of so much more. 

Since then, I've been trying to have more faith and hope. I'm learning to trust in the Lord's timing and in His plan for me and my family. 

Loss is very difficult, but I am so grateful for the things I have learned from this experience. I do feel that I have become a better person because of it. 

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