Saturday morning Jonathan took the kids to do a community service project pulling weeds on the "Flower Mound." This was part of our "Cami Kindness." Meanwhile I prepared a lunch for us and the cousins and filled balloons with helium and Cami Kindness acts people had told me they had done.
After lunch we took the balloons out front and let them fly. It was great.
Thank you so much to all of you who contacted me on did Cami Kindness acts this past week. It really means so much to me that you all remember her and continue making the world better because of her life.
What really made this weekend worthy of a blog post however, is less what I did and more how I felt. This is my 5th time celebrating Camille's birthday without her. It was, without question, my hardest. I am not sure if it is being in a new place where no one knew her or just the fact that it has been 5 stinking years of not being with her on her birthday. Perhaps more than both of these, it was feeling her spirit closer to me than normal and just aching to be with her.
Whatever the factors, this was a hard one for me. I was somewhat weepy on Friday. Friday night I couldn't hold the tears back any longer and I wept long and hard that night before crawling into bed. As I prayed that night through my sobs, I was given the thought or impression that my grandmother Lucile (celebrator extraordinaire, she made everything pure magic) was with Camille-that she was taking care of her. Perhaps this was meant to make me feel better. Honestly, it mostly just made me really jealous. So I cried even more wishing I were with them.
I had a few other impressions about the work she is doing now and I treasure any hint I get of those things in my prayers. But none of these heavenly gifts could pull me from the powerful wave of grief I was experiencing. I don't get hit by these waves very often anymore so I didn't fight riding it. Sometimes my grief reminds me that she was real.
Still I wondered how long this wave would last. Would this be the kind that pulled me down for days or weeks or months? I was set to teach a lesson on the Atonement Sunday in gospel principals class. Would I even be able to prepare it or get through it?
Saturday was an even weepier day than Friday had been. I did not feel the "celebratory" feeling I had in past years on Camille's birthday. I was just so sad that she was not there. I ached for all the consequences her absence has on every member of my family.
After the birthday party Saturday afternoon, Jon took the kids to the park so I could prepare my lesson. I decided to make a visual aid to help explain the role of the Atonement in the Plan of Salvation to our class and most importantly to our new member. This is something my mother would do. It is a good teaching tool so I followed suit. Below is the result:
Saturday night we prepped for Easter and finally got to bed around 12:30. I went to bed exhausted and emotional and wondering how Easter would go.
Sunday morning I woke to the sounds of excited children (one of my favorite sounds.) I got up despite only having about 6 hours sleep and turned on Handel's Messiah and told the kids where to look for the their baskets. As I listened to that music, the joy of the gift of Easter took root in my heart. My sorrow evaporated like the morning dew.
Later in church, our sacrament talks were especially profound and I felt a reconfirmation of the reality of the Savior's power to make us perfect. I felt a lightness in spirit and mind because of my witness that HE LIVES! He rose from the dead! And because he did so will all of us.
As I taught my Easter lesson on the Atonement a little later, I taught what was on my visual aid. Then, at the end, I noted how it is a really nice plan all laid out on this nice chart. It looks good on paper. But when you are living separated from someone you really love, this plan is EVERYTHING. And what Jesus Christ did in Gethsemene and on the Cross and in the tomb. That few days of history and the Savior's choices and his suffering in that time make absolutely all the difference in the whole fabric of the plan.
I am so grateful to Him. He is the Way. Through Him our families can become Eternal Families. He is the way Home to all those we love and miss beyond the veil.
My reconfirmation of this knowledge removed my sadness. It took the sting of death away for me yesterday. If you don't know these truths for yourself, I urge you to Seek them. Seek Him. At some point in every person's life, this knowledge can literally save you. For more information on how to find Truth for yourself, go hit the chat button on Mormon.org. No one will try to convince you they are right. They will only guide you to find out for yourself what is true. You will be glad you did.