Holden had not been stitched up from his second surgery to allow us a little bit more time to process the diagnosis we had been given. Now we felt we had been given one last chance at the miracle we were yearning for. The surgeon suggested he take another look at Holden's intestines to see if anything had improved over the last 36 hours before he stitched him back up. To be honest, I thought that this is when the hand of God would work a miracle. With everything in us, we begged, pleaded, and cried that Dr. Johnson would come into the waiting room and tell us that Holden was going to be able to live.
But no. The necrosis in his intestine had progressed. Consent was granted, and Holden was stitched up and his fate sealed. We shifted our mindset to the fact that Heavenly Father had worked a different miracle. He had given us a perfect son. A son who we know is an elite, valiant, courageous, and obedient man. A son who continues his sacred role to teach and guide our family as we continue in our mortal journey back to him.
We knew and accepted now that Holden's mission would continue, but we in no way knew how we would face losing him.
Through all of the pain and heartache that we continue to live with, we have never once doubted that it is all worth it. We would do anything for our son. We will endure whatever we have to for as long as we need to in order to be Holden’s parents. "For of him unto whom much is given much is required." (D&C 82:3.)
This in no way means that it is not completely devastating to have our son pass away or that we don’t wish there was another way. We do. But we continue relying on the eternal covenants we have made with our Father in Heaven and the trust we have in Him to make good on His promises.
We have often heard people say to us, ‘I couldn’t do it’ or ‘I don’t know how you do it’. I have thought a lot about this and have said to myself, ‘I can’t do it either!’ I don’t want to. I can’t. Looking forward, I have no idea how I am supposed to make it through this life.
About a year ago, the Salt Lake City mission president, Bruce R. Winn, addressed us at our Stake Conference. President Winn recounted the story of Peter walking on water. We all know that this is impossible, yet Peter accomplished it. He had found himself in the middle of a terrible storm when off the side of the boat he saw Jesus walking on the water. When Christ beckoned, Peter exercised his “little faith” and stepped out of the boat. The storm grew worse and the wind began to blow even harder. Peter then did what I have done so many times. He lost his focus, he became scared, and he started running out of faith. Then, he asked for the Lord’s help and IMMEDIATELY Jesus Christ reached out His hand to save Peter. As Pres. Winn spoke, I could feel the spirit teaching me about my impossible trial of having my child pass away. Yes, impossible. There are times when all I can do is focus on breathing in and breathing out, my pain doesn't allow for anything more. But Heavenly Father is ALWAYS there for me. All I have to do is exercise the little bit of faith that I have and trust that He will make up the rest. God has and will continue to lift me up as I am drowning. He will help me to walk on water. Jared and I will be able to make it through this life and we will gain our reward of raising our sweet Holden.
"Parents who have surrendered the sweetest and smallest flowers from the family's garden need to remember our loving Heavenly Father. He has promised a special reward to those who now suffer in silence, who spend long days and longer nights through their trying times of bereavement. Our Creator has promised glory. He said, "For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand." (D&C 58:4.) That promised glory includes the blessing of reunion with each little child who has left the family circle early to help surviving members of the family to draw nearer to God. Those little children still live and are a heritage of the Lord." -Russell M. Nelson