Sunday, June 28, 2009

Not Alone

In the dimmed light coming from the hall I can faintly see what looks like tears welling in Sabrina's eight year old eyes. We are sitting in the nursery with the lights off. I am rocking seven week old Noble to sleep. He has been fussing and Sabrina and I have been singing to him.

We sang "I Wonder When He Comes Again." I added a verse that I made up on the spot. "I wonder when He comes again will Cami be with him? Will we know her when we see her face? Will we know her by her grin? Will she be small like she once was or will she seem all grown? Will she laugh and smile to see us then and know us as her own. I am sure she'll know we love her so when we see her once again. Because of all the fun we had while she lived with us here at home."

Sabrina tells me she misses Camille. I can hear the tears she is choking back in her throat. It is the second time this week she has been hit by the wave. It has been months - many months - since a wave of grief has hit her before this. I wonder if she can sense the year mark we have just passed.

I ask her if she is okay. She nods. Still the tears threaten to fall. I tell her it is okay if she is not okay. She touches her throat and chokes out in a broken voice, "it hurts." I tell her I know. I miss her too. She is not alone. I have felt everything she is feeling. I feel it now with her. She is not alone.

How can it be that my little girl so tender hearted and young must feel such grief and be familiar enough with it that she, like me, is reluctant to let it out whenever it rushes over her? Isn't she too young for that?

How can it be that I must go to the cemetery to visit my child? Aren't I too young for that?

I ask Sabrina if she has just been thinking more about Camille lately. She says baby Noble reminds her of Camille. Seeing him is like having Camille here but not. I ask her if she wants me to let her cry (I can tell she is on the verge and fighting it) or if she wants me to make her laugh. She giggles a little. I tell her Noble does look somewhat like Camille but Camille was much cuter. She laughs. Noble -- he is too boy looking to be as cute as little Cami. Plus, I tell her, he toots and burps WAY more. He is all boy. She laughs again.

The wave passes and I am left deep in thought with Noble asleep at last in my arms. I feel pained that my child must know such sadness. At the same time, I am grateful that I am not alone in missing my sweet little angel girl. I am sad that Sabrina carries this ache and at the same time happy that she knew her little sister well enough and was old enough to remember her enough to miss her. I wouldn't take that away from her. It is hard now to bear, but it is a pain borne of love that I would not erase if I could.

I think of the times I have been hit by waves over the last year. I see now how I have not been alone. The Savior felt it all before. He feels it with me in the moment. I am not alone -- never alone. I have been carried. I am still often carried.

I hate having to be carried. At the same time I cherish the "knowing" I have gained through this experience. I hate the pain but I would not erase it if I could. It is a pain borne of love. It reminds me of the empty room in my heart that will only be filled when I am with her again. No, it is hard to bear now but I would not erase it. If I must live without her I would not erase the pain. It drives me to live worthy. It makes me more able to fulfill the promise I made at baptism to mourn with those that mourn. It literally makes me more like the Savior. It allows me to let others know that they too are not alone.

None of us, in our diverse aches and pains, in the depths of our forsaken feeling, is alone. He has felt it all before. He feels it with us know. We are not alone.

Ann Marie's Primary Talk

Little children in our church get the opportunity to give talks in front of all the children every once in a while. It is a great experience for them to get used to public speaking and to be able to learn how to think through a church topic and put together a talk on it.

Ann Marie got the assignment to speak today on how repentance and forgiveness strengthen us and our families. She is six years old and a bright kid. So I made her write her own talk. I wanted to see what she would come up with on her own.

At first she just made up a fictional story about repentance and forgiveness. I asked her to add a scripture story in there too. She did the rest and I typed as she dictated. I did help her tie her talk back to the given topic in the second to last sentence but other than that ... here is repentance and forgiveness through the eyes of a six year old:

One day there was a girl named Martha she had a brother named Andrew. And that day she was writing an email to her friend and Andrew came in and messed it up and left the room. Later that day, Andrew felt bad so he went to apologize to Martha. Martha apologized too and she forgave her brother. So she got to finish her email. So every time you a mistake you should apologize too.

Once in the scriptures there was a man named Alma he was wicked. Every time they told him to be nice he would be mean and tell people the church wasn’t true. Then one day while they were on the way to tell people the church wasn’t true an angel appeared. He said that Alma’s father had been praying for Alma to not be wicked. And while the angel was talking Alma fainted. So they took Alma home to his father and put a wet cloth on him. Two days later Alma woke up. He didn’t feel wicked anymore. He had a change of heart from hard to soft. Then he went to the church and apologized because he had been telling people that were in the church that the church was not true. He repented for all his sins and he always always always teached people about the church. He soon grew up to be a prophet.

So every time we do something wrong try to repent like Alma did. To repent you have to pray and ask Heavenly Father to forgive you. After you pray you will have a change of heart and you will not want to do bad things anymore. You should also apologize to the person you were mean to. Then you should be extra nice to try to make up for being mean. When we repent we are following the example of Alma and we set a good example for our little brothers or sisters. Repenting and forgiving makes our family stronger and happier. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ AMEN.