Instantly my mind turned to my three friends who have all with in the last three years lost a sweet baby of their own. This is a sorrow and heartbreak that I cannot even come close to understanding, and pray I never will. Each lost their child in different circumstances; a newborn to birth defects, a toddler to a tragic accident, and a little boy just shy of his second birthday to cancer. Each of these women I have wanted to hold forever and tell them that ti will be okay. But I can't do that. Yes, I have been there and will continue to be there as they try to put their lives back together as best as they can, but I can't whisper the assurances their hearts need to know. There is only one who can do that and I have been so very privileged to watch that happen in the lives of these women and their families.
My friend whose daughter died in a tragic accident was the first women my own age whom I'd ever known to have their child die. It was a jarring experience, but time has passes since that day three and a half years ago, and I have seen how the faith of this amazing woman has helped heal over the fresh wounds. Thought those wounds will never fully heal, and shall always, on this earth leave scars, it has been the knowledge of Heavenly Father's plan that has bound up the wounds and calmed them with His peace. Any time I hear her family or her speak of their sweet baby girl, it is also joined with talk of how they now actively and with determination live their lives in ways that ensure that they are doing all they can to be with her again. They know that death is not the end, and though it's sting is felt painfully here on earth, someday they will see their loved girl once more.
I met my second friend quite by accident, through strange circumstance, but most certainly inspired ones. Ultimately her two elder were in school with my son as well as the daughter of my friend who lost her child in an accident. I had the privilege of meeting her son only once in his life, but that short life has left an impact on me forever. I was a buffer for this friend, who did not know the gospel, to feel safe enough to ask the hard questions about our faith to my friend who had lost her daughter. Hours were spent sitting quietly by both of their sides, as they talked about the most raw and personal of tragedies. What sacred time it was, as this sweet sister friend bore witness of her gospel knowledge to our freshly grieving friend. In amounts that her heart and mind can handle, I have watched this dear woman heal over the years, and try to find meaning in her sons death. But as I think of it over and over again, I am brought back to the difference in peace these two woman have gained and how my friends heartbreak over her son cannot heal in the way my friends has been for her daughter, until she understands that one day, she will see her son again, through the mercies of heavenly Father.
Four months ago, I was faced once more with a friend loosing her first born and only child to a terminal set of birth defects. The younger sister of a long time friend (and a friend in her own right) I have never seen a woman handle the death of a child with such grace and faithfulness as this woman. The only reason I can come up with for this, is her bedrock understanding and testimony of God's plan for our lives. Though her heart breaks desperately to hold her sweet infant daughter again, she is a beckon of faith and dedication like none I've ever known. She knows that she will see that little girl again, she knows that when they meet her daughter will be made whole. These are teachings that not only has she taught as a missionary and a member of gods church, but she is living them everyday.
To know these woman is a humbling experience, and one that has taught me more about the realities of Gods plan for us than I think I would have ever come to understand without them. To know these woman is to see the very embodiment of resilience and dedication to God. And for that I am grateful.