Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Changed Perspective

A couple weeks ago, the 8-month-old baby of a family out near where I live died of crib death. Anytime I hear of such a tragedy, I grieve for the family, particularly the mother. I can feel her sorrow and her pain, and sometimes, I can't think about anything else for days and even weeks. I spend time on my knees praying for their comfort and I even cry, sometimes sob, for their loss.

I was thinking about this family yesterday while perusing through blogs that I have linked to my family blog. I was looking at my brother's blog, the one he and his wife keep together, and since they haven't posted anything new for a while, I was looking at older entries. One in particular caught my eye. The entry commemorating the anniversary of the death of their dear friends' 21-month-old son. I read the entry, and then, almost on a whim, I decided to read the comments left by other blog readers. One reader, a friend of my sister-in-law, left a note about how her own sister was going through something similar after having lost her only child, at 23 months, to a tragic accident. She left a link to that blog, so I copied and pasted it into my browser. I was curious to see what the tragic accident was and also to find out about the family and everything.

I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn't know what once was a family blog had turned into a sounding board, a venting spot, for the grief of the mother and father of this little girl. I had no idea through reading this blog how I would become attached to this child, this beautiful spirit, and the love that her parents felt for her in life and still feel for her now. I didn't know that I would learn through the eyes of the parent who lived through it, how one goes on with daily life after such a loss.

Wow. The writing is beautiful. The mother allows herself to openly grieve. She shares her story with the world through this blog, and it is a powerful one. Underlying all of it is the testimony of what Jesus Christ did for all of us, and a testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. She writes how she is not afraid of aging, that she looks forward to birthdays because it brings her one year closer to seeing her sweet daughter again. She uses the blog to portray aspects of her daughter's life, to journal it and keep it fresh in her memory. She posts pictures and videos of her baby girl throughout the blog. It really is beautiful, heart-wrenching, but beautiful. I truly felt the spirit as I read her words, while sobbing at the same time, feeling a little bit of the deep ache she must feel.

And it has made me really think long and hard about what kind of mother I am. Do I thrill in each moment in my children's lives, even the moments we don't find so comfortable (like cleaning up diarrhea on carpet because your 1-year-old pulled her diaper off and then decided to go?)? I'm sure that mother wouldn't mind cleaning up diarrhea on carpet if she could have her little one with her again.

Reading her story, and others like it (her blog was linked to some others' blogs with similar stories), has really opened my eyes to truly try and treasure all these moments with my children. Even if they live a long life into adulthood, they are still only my little precious ones for such a short time! I hope I can try and cherish these times even more and remember that perspective and be grateful for what I have.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Keeping That Eternal Perspective

I think my moods fluctuate depending on how well I have that eternal perspective in my head. If I can't seem to wrap my mind around the concept of eternity and how little certain issues in this mortal life really matter, then I start to feel hopeless and completely depressed. But if I can keep that tiny glimmer that this is all a test and that I just need to get through it the best I can, still smiling, then I usually can actually do that. It's just very hard for me to keep that perspective in mind when facing certain trials and situations.

For example, the whole house situation with our mortgage and the possibility of moving and foreclosing. As long as we maintain our integrity through the ordeal, whatever course that may turn out to be, I shouldn't feel so devastated at the loss (if loss is involved) because in the eternal scheme of things, owning this home at this time doesn't really matter all that much.

And yet I wonder. This is the only opportunity for us to experience mortality. I guess part of me wants to do it as perfectly as possible. For me, that means meeting certain self-imposed expectations of home and family life. If I don't meet them, I guess in the long run (the eternal perspective), those things won't matter much, but what if I never get a chance in this life to do some of the things I want to do? Is that the end of it? Will I never have that chance again? I'm guessing not, since some of those things have everything to do with this mortal experience. I'm sure life beyond has greater things in store, but they are probably different things. Will I always feel that regret, that sense of loss, at not having achieved certain mortal goals during this life?

Sometimes I wonder. I understand (at least I think I do) that eternal life, the life in the Celestial Kingdom that we all strive for, is a most beautiful, exquisite existence, beyond what we are capable of imagining. But will they still have some of the things I want to do in this life that I may not have the chance to experience because of some of the choices that myself (or others) have made that impede those circumstances from ripening?


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