I know Truman's spirit better--he was with me longer. Perhaps I was better prepared to understand his spirit because of my loss of Sterling. Both hold a place in my heart. I anticipate a joyful reunion with each of them one day, and know that they will have opportunities to bless my life while I am still here on earth. No other children will replace them. They are our first and second born.
Elder Russel M. Nelson has written that "mourning is one of the purest expressions of deep love." This definition of mourning is so closely related to charity, the pure love of Christ, that I have found many connections to the Savior's Atonement with the loss of our children. I understand with greater depth and breadth a morsel of what our Father in heaven gave up when "gave His only begotten Son." When Jesus told the Nephites to "thrust [their] hands into [His] side" (3 Nephi 11:14), He was allowing them to feel a piece of His suffering for them--it was brutal. He was slain.
No one I know wants to experience suffering. But how else can I come to love with that purest form of love, the love of Jesus Christ. He knows how to love because of His sufferings. Jesus wept. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. I never thought I would experience both of those seasons on the same day, but both of our children where born after they died. How do I reconcile that? Well, Jacob offers some sound advice:
"Wherefore,. . . be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection" (Jacob 4:11).
Resurrection. I do believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes life possible after death, just as our children were born to us after they died. But in the resurrection, the restitution of all things will be made available. All of our loses will be made up to us, coupled with eternal glory and joy.
Thus, I can rejoice. I rejoice in my God. While my physical body could only deliver physically deceased children, the Holy One of Israel "delivereth his saints from that awful monster. . . death" (2 Ne 9:19).
There is so much to look forward. I have always feared death. Always. My own and those I love. I never wanted to experience because I knew it would hurt so much. I am learning that the human heart was created to hold hurt, and outgrowing from the hurt shoots out tender branches and leaves of love.
I'm making Truman a quilt. Maybe I'll call it Tender Branches. "If the root be holy, so are the branches" (Romans 11:16). I'll take a picture when it's finished. Sterling's quilt is here.