Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I don't even know where I want to go with this. But sometimes, you just have to let it out.
A few things are influencing this post--other blogs, friends, and anniversaries in my life. I was going to wait until later in the month, but my mind is whirling, and I know it won't wait. Here goes.

A few days ago, I read a friend's blog. Not just you that I love through cyberspace, but a "seen-in-the-flesh, talk-at-the-grocery-store" friend. This friend lost a child a little over a year ago in a tragic accident. In her recent entry, she reflected on a comment made at Church how "I'm glad I didn't live during pioneer times, because they lost their children." This comment rightfully stung my friend.

I, too, hate categorizing myself with the group of women who have lost a child--September 10, 2002. An invisible group to most, we ache at strange times of year and cry when other children reach milestones in their lives that we will never see. We have holes in our family portraits and missing school pictures. And our losses are all individual, personal, and different. As mothers of lost babies and children, we tend to rank the difficulty of our loss: "She lost a toddler, that's so much harder." "Her baby was stillborn, that's not nearly as hard as what I've been dealt." Doing so isn't accurate or fair. Loss is loss. Holes are holes. And they will never be filled for any of us, as long as we live.

But the point I want to make here is not how horrible loss is. My point is that we are truly lucky to live when we do, so that as few of us as possible have to experience that heartache. I am the only one of my four siblings and Brad's six that has lost a child. My mom never did. Neither did my Grandma O. But my Grandma T lost her only daughter to pneumonia. If you go back just one more generation, I know that two of my great-grandmothers each lost at least two children in infancy or early childhood (and my mom can correct me and elaborate on that, since I'm far from the family genealogist). The famous example in the Church of lost children, of course, is Emma Smith. How could you possibly stay sane and righteous and devout when you lose five of your nine children, all while enduring trial and torture and disease?

What really spearheaded this entry was a truly devastating story, about Mirne and Craig, a couple halfway around the world in Amsterdam. Not a story from today, but one reflecting four generations ago. Mirne just delivered her third child on August 29th. He died yesterday. Her second child lived just seven weeks before he died from a rare infection. Her first child, her only girl, was stillborn at 28 weeks. All within a few years. She's lost all of her children, and at 41, that's probably it for them.

In this age of technology and medical advances and miracles, why does this happen? How does it happen?

I believe in a God that sent us to Earth to learn. Learn through our mistakes. Learn through the mistakes of others. Learn through trials. And learn just because mortality is hard. I am also eternally grateful that I live in a time where most mothers do not have to endure the heartbreak and devastation that these parents are currently living and will live with the rest of their lives. As much as I ache for them and weep for them, I mourn that they do not have the eternal perspective that I have been given. That they don't have the binding covenants that my family enjoys. That they don't have the comfort that Christ's Gospel gives. How I wish I could give that to them. It's the only lifeline, the only comfort, the only Way.

Admittedly, I learned more from the loss of our fifth child than I've probably learned in all my other years on Earth combined. And I wouldn't trade that knowledge for anything. If given the opportunity, I would probably trade the experience. But blessings come after the trial of our faith, not before. And I think I speak for every mother who has ever lost a child or children: The moments that we have with our living children (or if childless, families) are more precious and more appreciated. They are tinged with eternal light and joy, knowing that our lives on Earth are short. Our covenants are more prominent in our minds. Our eternal goals are never far from our thoughts.

All of us experience difficulty in this life. It's what we signed up for. Not even the Savior really knew how hard it was going to be until He got here and actually lived. But He didn't shrink. He didn't stop. He finished.

And to quote one of my favorite people:
"Hard isn't bad. It's just hard."

Epiphany #92--Hard is the most effective teacher.

Please keep Mirne and Craig in your prayers. I can't imagine anything more difficult.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I need to count my blessings!

  2. I learned the greatest lesson of my life while enduring the loss of my little ones. To personal, to sacred to share. I wouldn't trade the experience for all that I gained. The perfectness of my babies, the knowledge that they lived if only for a brief moment, knowing that I will someday have my 10 children together, including my one girl, brings sweet feelings I cannot explain. Each one of us morns differently, learns differently, grows differently, but we each know the pain of a broken heart and I could only pray that we each could not the relief of our Saviors comforting hand. I do.

  3. Thanks, I am always greatful for the knowledge the Gospel gives me and the hope to someday learn enough, stay worthy enough to live with all of my family.

    Love ya,

  4. This is an immensely thoughtful and well-written post, Jen, and I appreciate your sharing something so close to your heart. I also appreciate (and admire) your perspective on all of this, and I agree that having the gospel to sustain us makes all the difference.

    I honestly don't know how people get through their trials without the profound truths that anchor us both, and I'm grateful that I will never have to find out. It does make me think more, though, about our responsibility to share what we know with others, and I am not always very good at that. Not in person, anyway. I want to do better.

    I'm sending lots of hugs your way as you near this difficult anniversary. And today, because of your post (and Natalie's), I will be praying not only for both of you, but for every mother with "holes in family portraits" and "missing school pictures."

    Thanks for reminding me.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Thank you for sharing about Mirne and Craig. You are a stronger woman than I am. I just couldn't do it, and as odd as it sounds, it was easier to write about my own experience than theirs. Because I know theirs is more difficult...not wanting to play the compare game, but seriously theirs is more difficult. I know it, and I couldn't bring myself to write about it. I'm not as tough as I pretend to be.

    Thank you for being brave.

  7. Can I just say, I hate hard. But you're right. Difficult things are just blessings, aren't they? Because they show us that Heavenly Father loves us enough to let us suffer, even though I imagine it is hard for Him to watch all of His children struggle through their own individual sorrows. I just barely started learning this stuff. Anyway, thanks.

  8. This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Thanks for sharing it |

  9. These are things that you could not survive without. They include, of course, food, water and shelter. Even here, these should be at a minimum. Thanks. |

  10. Hello, i am glad to read the whole content of this blog and am very excited and happy to say that the webmaster has done a very good job here to put all the information content and information at one place. |

  11. Very good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need. |