I apologize for the lack of posts in the past week. Gauchay and I have had an interesting week, spent mostly watching over Gauchay's maternal grandmother, who passed away on Thanksgiving. We are happy for her, however, because she has returned to her heavenly home and is with her husband (who passed away 20 years ago). Gauchay and I have been privy to part of the planning of Grandma's funeral, and we have been able to see the reactions of family members, and it has been interesting, to say the least.
Let me explain. First off, I do not wish to offend anyone who reads this, especially if what I describe is something that you feel. But I wish to explain an important doctrine that all those of the LDS faith believe in firmly. The majority of Grandma's family are active in the LDS faith. However, there are a few that are not, and they were a bit perplexed and even possibly offended by the attitude of those of us that are "Mormons", concerning the imminent and later actual death of Grandma. What was our attitude, you ask? We were happy.
In most cultures in the world today, and also in most religions, the time of death is a time of mourning, of sadness, of sorrow, of sackloth and ashes, etc. It is not a time for frivolity or gaiety. There are many tears shed, many depressed moments, and overall it is quite gloomy. Why? Because we are so saddened to realize that that loved one will never be in our life again. We feel that we may not see him or her again. We may feel that their death was unjust, unfair, or even uncalled for.
While some of these are true, as an LDS culture we focus on what we know to be true. Let me state those truths: 1 - We know that our loved one continues to exist, though not in a physical form. They have left behind their body, but their spirit lives on, and is awaiting the day of judgment. 2 - We know that we will see our loved one again. Gauchay and I have no doubt that some day we will see Grandma Robinson again. Families are an eternal unit, and the bonds that connect them are thick and difficult to break, done only through the unfaithfulness of a family member in living the gospel. 3 - We know that those that have gone on before us are waiting for that loved one, to welcome them and take care of them. Life after death is not a lonely life. It does not mean that you are all alone in some vast void. You are in the Spirit World with all of your ancestors, awaiting God's judgment to come in some future day.
And so while we may mourn the fact that we do not get to be with our loved one for the remainder of our mortal life, we choose to rejoice in the fact that they are not lost from us forever. We focus on the knowledge that some day we will be reunited with them and be able to hear their laughter, feel their love, and linger in their presence.
This is why we are happy. Death is not the end, it is merely another step in our eternal progression.
In fact, you may have noticed, I hope, that Latter Day Saints tend to be perpetually happy. I know I am. How is that we do not let the weight of the world get us down? How can we bounce back so quickly from a hardship, from a death in the family, from a difficult trial? It is because we have an eternal perspective. We know that what happens to us in this life is part of a greater plan to learn and grow and eventually return back to our Heavenly Father. We know that all the pain and trials of this mortal life will some day come to an end and we will be able to rest in peace with our families for eternity.
And so we do not focus on the negative or on the difficulties of today. Instead we focus on the eternal possibilities and endless happiness of tomorrow.
So if you ever see someone looking sad, feeling down, or seeming lost, sit down and share with them this: that all is not lost. Today is just one day, and tomorrow is full of new opportunities. God is always there for you, and he wants you to be happy. He has brought us here to this earth, and he will not leave us alone. He will comfort us and help us so that we can gain from this mortal experience all the lessons and knowledge needed to be able to return to His presence someday, hand in hand with all those in our family.
We love you, Grandma, and hope you are dancing with Grandpa. We'll see you soon. :)