Grieve With Joy
by Audra Elkington
The German rhyme - Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter.
The smell of coffee.
Chocolate Chip Cookies.
All things that bring memories of Grandma fresh to my mind. Her passing was not a surprise, she had been sick for a few years. But, that doesn’t dull the feeling of loss. She has always been a huge part of my life and I struggle to comprehend what this earthly life will look like without her in it.
Russell M Nelson said, “We can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.” (Doors of Death, General Conference April 1992.)
As I have read and re-read that quote, I cannot help but turn my thoughts to all of the love that I have experienced in this life because of Grandma. No wonder the weight of her passing has been so heavy! There was so much love. As each memory sweeps over me, I find myself smiling and sometimes even laughing.
And I think that is exactly how it’s supposed to be. Through God’s mercy, the joyful memories come to the forefront of our mind to help us through the grief.
Likewise, each time I feel the sadness washing over me, my thoughts turn to a scene of Grandma sitting with her parents, siblings and best of all, Papa. I cannot be sad thinking about how happy she is to be reunited with those she loved so much on this side of the veil.
“Our limited perspective would be enlarged if we could witness the reunion on the other side of the veil, when doors of death open to those returning home.” (Nelson, 1992)
I cannot help but smile as I consider this scene. Surely, that was a joyful reunion.
And then there’s this truth, “To us and to you, our loved ones may be just as close as the next room.” (Nelson, 1992)
Angels to watch over us. I haven’t lived close to Grandma for many years and many times I have wished that she could spend more time with my own children. I know she would have loved to see all the details of their personalities, to attend soccer games, and to cook their favorite breakfast after a sleepover. But, I firmly believe that she frequents our home. She will be here to see it all and to give comfort when no one else can give it.
Her passing has been difficult, but as I consider the gift of eternal families and life beyond the veil, I am filled with overwhelming joy. Our Heavenly Father planned for our grief and provided the most beautiful way to help us through it.