On April 28th, 2011 our family of four grew to a family of six with the birth of our twin sons. Nearly three years ago, I held two tiny angels in my hands and said goodbye.
And my world changed.
Suddenly, I was personally invested in what happens in the here afters. I wanted to know if something had been said by someone at sometime about how things would be. I was desperately searching for something that would bring me peace and reassurance as I tried to grapple with the absence of two little boys I so desperately wanted and needed. Two tiny humans who my broken heart ached for.
It seemed like all I could find was speculation. Everyone wants to say that of course you’d get the chance to raise the children taken from you. Every parent who crossed the plains and lost children longed for those reassuring words. And what kind of a person, especially a general authority, in the right spirit, wouldn’t say them?
Maybe I didn’t search the scriptures hard enough, but there didn’t seem to be any definitive answer on if I would have the opportunity to raise my boys. I was left wondering and still anxious about how things would work out.
So I did what I always do and “trimmed the fluff”. What did we know for sure? What was our church doctrine? Well, of course. The Plan of Salvation.
We lived in heaven. We came to Earth to have joy and to prepare to return to our Heavenly Parents. The atonement saves us. We die. We live in the spirit world (or prison I suppose is possible). Christ is resurrected, we are judged and we go to one of three kingdoms.
Okay. I could work with that. Especially that vague spirit world part.
First of all, I had to examine my relationship with God and his role in the things that happen on Earth.
After we lost our boys, we had a lot of comments about God’s plan and trials and blessings. As I was on a community board with others who had lost twins, one of the biggest questions everyone seemed to have was, “why did this happen to me?”. Of course many LDS members will try to answer this with comforting phrases about how God knows us/that we could handle this/that this was just a trial we were given/etc. Those phrases just never worked for me. In the forum was where I finally got some insight that changed everything. One woman replied with, “why not me? Out of all of the people in the world, what makes me so special that this shouldn’t have happened to me?”
It gave me immediate perspective. It has to happen to someone. I was just one of the unlucky people it did happen to. I couldn’t bring myself to accept that my Heavenly Parents had any kind of role in it. It wasn’t the plan. They didn’t need my boys any more than I did. It wasn’t better for them not to be on Earth.
It was at that point that I realized that, for me at least, the role that God played was one of a comforter. One I could turn to in times of need for support, love, and peace. They knew me. They felt my pain. They listened and brought internal insight, acceptance, and peace. They wanted me to be happy.
Once I had figured out that for me personally, God was there to heal my broken heart I was able to see things a little differently in regards to how things worked after death. And it all came back to being happy and finding peace here on Earth.
One of the biggest things that tears me up about not having my sons here is not only all that they are missing, but what their siblings also are missing out on. It requires mental gymnastics to figure out how your family (meaning your spouse and children) will be together, and yet as your children grown they will have families of their own. How is that supposed to work? It seemed so mixed up and confusing. I didn’t want to just have them, I wanted my whole family to grow up together like we would have here if they had been with us.
So I choose to focus on the spirit world. What is that exactly? How do the comings and goings work there? Seemed like kind of a wide open ambiguous thing to me. I’ve heard thoughts about how maybe it’s here on Earth and we just can’t see it. Now that was something I could work with. And while my conclusions are a little bit unconventional, it still could work with what we DO know about the Plan of Salvation.
And I think what is most important is that my personal conclusions make me happy and bring me peace.
I don’t worry about how it’s all going to work out anymore. I trust that my Heavenly Parents love me and will do all they can to make it right and mend my broken heart, just as I would for my children. Will it work out the way I envision? Maybe not. But I also trust that once I die, I will have a fuller knowledge. I can’t imagine not being happy with however things work out once I am in the spirit world.
For those who are worried about the fates of their children who have either left the religion they love or who have passed away or if there are those who worry about how they will be with those they love after death, all I can say is trust in the Lord. Believe something that will make you happy here and now. Your Heavenly Parents know you and there will always be a way to make things right. It’s not worth fretting about. The best that we can do is love with our whole heart and have faith.
On Monday, my little family will go over to where our boys’ bodies rest to enjoy cake with them and send them notes about how much we miss them up to heaven on blue balloons. I will think about one day being able to have all of those moments that I, that all of us, have missed with them some day. And I will trust in Him.