Thursday, September 6, 2012


Last night, in my quest for a better understanding of the life beyond this one, I laid in bed and began to read, "The Message" by Lance Richardson, an LDS man from Idaho. Richardson writes about what he learned from his death, brief visit to the spirit world, then subsequent revival. I feel somewhat skeptical about the premise of such experiences when the source isn't too authoritative, but reading through the first few chapters brought about an experience that I share with utmost reverence.

When reading about Richardson's description of his death, I could not help but picture Holden going through a similar experience.

     . . . I was struggling to get enough air and felt that I was suffocating. . . I began to feel panicky. My hands were tingling. Sweat was cascading down my face. . . The room seemed to be spinning. I was getting more and more dizzy and extremely nauseated. All I could do was fight for air and pray to God for help. 
     I had never quite realized how absolutely crucial oxygen is to our survival. And at that moment I would have given anything to be able to calmly expand my lungs and take in their fill. But I could not. . . The sensation was terrifying. 

It may have been the late hour, but my emotions got the best of me as I closed the book, then my eyes, and relived Holden's last earthly hour.

As this is a public forum and those moments are sacred to us, I will spare the details. But the feelings came sweeping over me last night and they haven't felt that fresh since the day it happened. It was an anguish that I could never ever before imagine. I couldn't bear to think of Holden going through it. I began to repeat in my tormented mind the question, "Holden. Did you suffer?" "Did you suffer, Holden?". I posed the question a dozen times before I heard, maybe not in a literal, audible way, but nonetheless heard, my son's first words: "No, Dad." 

Only once before have I had such a distinct and strong impression and that was shortly after hearing of Holden's fate from the surgeon. Had I not experienced it before, I would probably conclude it was my imagination, but I do not doubt the source of the words. 

I told Caitlin of my experience this morning and we both felt so comforted that, not only was his passing peaceful to him, but that his spirit really does live and watch over us.

I believe in a merciful God that loves us and suffers when we suffer. I feel like we got a miniscule taste of how He felt when his son was on the cross. Had I the power, I certainly would have shook the Earth in anguish as well.

I could definitely empathize with those who blame God, doubt his existence, or who let their life go to shambles over things like this, but to do so is to turn your back on the one real source of comfort and lasting peace. I don't know all the answers, but I'm grateful for the ones I do have. I'm grateful that God's plan includes a paradise where my son can dwell without pain or misery. I'm glad that a principal part of the plan includes the restoration of my family, never again to be separated. Caitlin and I simply cannot comprehend how hard all of this would be without the Gospel in our life. It is the oxygen we breathe, without which, we wouldn't survive.


hkfarnsworth said...

ok make me cry like a baby. I just love you guys and your example. I fear I would not have your strength. I am happy to know the spirit allowed you to be comforted in knowing Holden did not suffer. What a great and marvelous tender mercy. thank you for sharing.

Ashley and James said...

My grandpa passed away almost exactly a month after Holden. He and I had a special relationship and 5 days after his funeral, I visited his grave. I was feeling overwhelmed as James had just undergone a third surgery, I was 8 months pregnant with Nora, and we didn't know how we were going to pay our bills. While at my grandpa's grave, all I could think was how much I needed a hug from him at that moment. So I told him what had been going on and that I wished so much he was there to comfort me. In that moment, the veil thinned and I felt him near, as if I was getting that hug. And I knew then too that our families do watch over us. It's amazing to see the Lord's hand in these special moments and to know for a surety that He knows us and our needs. I love that you write so openly about Holden and your experiences and feelings. It really strengthens my testimony to see how much good can come from something so tragic.

Joan said...

This post is amazing, just like you and Caitlin. Most men aren't able to express their feelings very well, but Jared, you are a master at it. I love reading about the special spiritual experiences you are having and how they are helping you to understand better what God has for you to learn and experience. The road of grieving is long and hard but must be endured. May the Lord be with you as you travel it's paths.

Steph said...

What a beautiful post. It's in such contrast to my experience with my dad's sickness and death. I was the one who blamed and turned away, and I admire you for your faith and greater understand of god's plan. You're a great writer.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing.

Michelle said...

I know I have posted already but everytime I read it I cry my eyes out. I love and miss Holden so much.

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