Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Blame

Someone asked in a comment about if I ever blame myself. I decided to answer that question because I know people well enough to know that most people want to know the answer to it even if they do not ask. Also, and more importantly, I hope my answer will help someone out there in similar shoes to mine.

Let me start with a story. It may not even be a true story. But it is a story I had heard third hand some years ago that inspired me. Years ago there was a man in my parents ward who went on a scout trip with my brothers and father. The story goes that he had in his youth been out hunting with his dad (or some other activity that included a gun) and that the gun he was holding misfired and the shot fired hit and killed his dad. So on this scout trip with my brothers someone asks this man how he was able to grow up normal and well adjusted after such an event and did he ever feel like he was responsible. His answer was no. He knew it was his dad's time to go and the gun in his hand was just a tool the Lord used to take him.

Okay so I don't know if that is a true story or not but hearing that years ago I thought, "Wow. That is so wise and true. What an incredible person to see it like that." Since hearing that story I have heard my fair share of babies drowning or accidentally dying stories and thought each time, "Gee I hope that mother can see this accident the way that man did and know that it was not her fault. You would just have to see it that way or how would you live?"

Then June 13th rolled around. Suddenly, I was that mother.  

There has never been any blame throwing in our house. I can only speak for myself in saying that there was a fight between my head and my heart about blaming myself. My head told me to be that guy. Whether the story is true or not, his response in the story was the right response, it is the true response. But, alas, I am human. And I am a mother. My mother instincts cried in agony and grief and regret that I did not better protect my child. It was a bitter duel.

I felt the sweet peaceful whisperings of the Spirit telling me that this was known to the Lord, that He knew this was coming before it happened. I had even dreamt it the night before, but I awoke with no recollection of the dream until I saw her in the spa. 

I have often said that it is a miracle any child reaches adulthood for all the accidents that can happen.  I have seen the Lord miraculously save each of my children's lives through promptings of the Spirit and sheer miracle. I really believe that the Lord helps us raise our children and helps us watch them even when we can't. This day, however, there was a total silence in the minutes before I found her.  There was no thought, no prompting, no feeling of an unsettled nature. Just silence.  

Now I may not have been at a spiritual high when this happened (a regret I had to do some repenting of in the hospital). I had been on vacation for 2 weeks prior and had slipped out of the habit of family scripture study. But, I was living worthy of the Spirit and so was my husband. Both of us were home and neither of us felt any warning voice. 

I believe I had that dream and remembered it when I saw her as the Lord's way of telling me that He knew this would happen and it was in His plan.  I felt very peaceful in the hospital once we accepted that she was not going to live. I felt like that was the will of the Lord. I felt like it was her time to go and that the spa was only a tool. Still, I wanted to KNOW it. 

I wanted an angel to appear with the message that it was her time and if it hadn't been the spa it would have been something else and possibly something worse. There are so many worse ways to die than drowning. I felt that was true but I wanted to know it.  I didn't even care who the angel was or to whom they appeared.  I just wanted to hear it from a divine source and know it with a sure knowledge.

As far as I know, no one has seen any angels with this message to give to me. But I don't feel like I really need it anymore. Other equally reliable spiritual experiences over the last couple of weeks have let me know that this was no surprise to the Lord. He could easily have prevented it and He didn't.  I know that Camille's death is serving His greater purpose. Most importantly, I know that I am clean before Him. And that is all that really matters. 

So, no, I do not blame myself or anyone else. But it was a struggle to let go of my so human mother instincts of regret and "if only." I hope in relating this that someone out there who may be holding on to blame for an accident will let it go. I hope we all can come to know that, no matter the circumstances, the Atonement can allow us to be clean before the Lord through repentance. I hope we all can realize that being clean and acceptable before the Lord really is all that matters.


60 comments:

Stephanie said...

So beautifully put.To have experienced such a loss and then to be such an inspiration all I can say is thank you .

Beth said...

Again, I catch my breath. Separate lives, yet you could write of my own (much better than I, I must add). I, too, had a dream. It was years before my sister's accident and very vivid-and I never told anyone because I thought the dream was about ME and my death. I even woke suddenly from sleep the moment of the accident-though we were 1,000mi apart.
I never harbored any animosity toward the person who caused the accident and that is something my brothers cannot understand. I have always felt it was just that...an accident and that it may have actually been better than what may have been coming, should she have lived.
Your words remind me that it is positively clear that our Lord has played a much larger part in my growth through grief than I can ever comprehend.
You are so right, there is NO one to blame for Camille's accident. But there is plenty to learn from each other as we, together, travel the road that leads to Salvation. Thanks again & God bless!

Rhonda said...

So perfectly said. Thank you.
I think many times we all hold on too tight to guilt...sometimes it's serious guilt. Sometimes we are our worse enemies in the process of forgiveness.

So much to learn and so much to take on. With the gospel, all things fall into place.

I have goosebumps just reading your post and thinking about it all.

Heather H said...

That was beautiful, and while I hope to never have to go through what you are currently, I hope that if I do I can have just a bit your peace and humility. You truelly are an example of how we all should be, thank you for sharing your life with us. I know you are making me a better person.

Willis Family said...

Hi Stephanie. I am Kami Becks sister. I so enjoy reading your testimony and feeling the Spirit. I just wanted to tell you we are so sorry for your loss. Here in our community we have had 7 children and a Dad die because of drowning in the last year. These things are so hard but the power of Heavenly Father has been so strong in these families lives, just like yours. My husband and I were just speaking about the witnessing of angels, and although we sometimes beg and plead for those things, the witness of the Holy Ghost is much stronger, more powerful and can be that lasting impression upon our own spirits to get us through. As you know, He is the third member of the god head, and the Lord sends him to us to witness of Him. To testify of Christ. Not just angels, but the spirit of God, the Holy Ghost. You of course have had that eternal whispering of the Spirit and I am so thankful the Lord is with you. You lift so many of us. Thank you.

AmandaScraps said...

Wow! What perspective you have. I posted a couple of days ago with a link to my blog where I posted about losing my brother. It was 19 years ago today that he drowned. I too had dreams each night for 2 weeks before he died of exactly what happened. I was 10 when he died and felt tremendous guilt. At that age I didn't understand that the dreams where to prepare me, not meant to save him. The guilt ate at me and caused my body to shut down. I have had horrible health problems since. I wish I had had the perspective then that I know now. I know, as you do, that it was God's will. I wish my parents could have seen what I was going through as well and given me that perspective, but I didn't share it with them, not wanting to add to their burden. Thank you once again for your words.

Jori said...

I completely agree. We are all in the Lord's hands. I am so happy that you have such a healthy perspective. In February I was diagnosed with melanoma it was extremely deep and the oncologist's feared it had spread throughout my body. The doctors told me that melanoma doesn't respond well to treatment and that the 5 year survival rate is 12%. I of course was devastated and begged the Lord for a miracle. After months of testing and surgeries it was discovered that the cancer was contained to the tumor itself. Doctors were baffled because at the depth of my tumors it has almost always spread. I have to say during those months of waiting I came to know my Savior as a personal friend. He was by my side when I didn't think I could go on. I will be forever grateful for these trying times. I will have to be carefully monitored for the next 5 years and avoid the sun, but I know in my heart I will be fine. Blessings have poured from this experience. We were able to have one child(she's 5) on our own. We had been through tests and fertility drugs and nothing worked. I wanted to adopt but my husband didn't. After this experience we both knew that we weren't going to be able to have more children. After I was healed from my surgery we obtained our foster care license. Through many amazing experiences a little 6 month old girl(abandoned at the hospital) has been placed with us. The adoption should be final in Dec. She is such a special little spirit. I know without the experiences of the last few months we wouldn't have her now. Thanks again for sharing your life with us. You have a large support group praying for you.

Six-Pack Momma said...

My friend's son died in the night due to a seizure. Oh how she wished that she could have been there for his last breath. But she realized that had she been prompted to go to his room, she would have woken her other two boys who sleep in adjacent rooms. She was glad they had not been there to witness something they weren't ready for. The Lord protected them. She also knew it was his time, as the Spirit had prompted them on several occasions to go check on him. On numerous occasions, his life was spared. Not this time. It was his time to serve another mission. I am so glad you have that same comfort. Camille is doing great things right now!

Kimri said...

I just want you to know how inspirational your blog is. I was referred through a friend that was referred through someone else.

You are doing amazing missionary work & helping myself & I'm sure others to strive to work harder, do better, love more.

I am truely sorry for your loss & have cried tears for you even though I don't know you.

You are amazing & courageous. Your girls are so lucky to have such a wonderful mother who is so strong in the gospel.

Your little Camille is beautiful & I'm so excited that you get to live with her again some day.

Thanks for inspiring me & letting me take a peak into your life.

liz said...

Hi Stephanie,
I posted a message on your blog back when Camille was in the hospital and I feel kind of silly, since we are related (I'm Jon's cousin), yet we hardly know each other. Anyway, I read your blog everyday now and everyday you have me in tears. Grateful tears, sad tears, spiritual tears and tender tears. I have learned that I need to read your blog either first thing in the morning or late at night - so I don't completely ruin my makeup job! :) You are such an amazing person in my eyes and your writing skills reach me (and I'm sure most people) in ways other people can't. I love your sincerity and the way you can express your thoughts so clearly... I'm being serious when I say that someday you should write a book about something. You can definitely touch and inspire people - even through tragedy. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I continue to pray for your family and I appreciate the things you write about in your blog. You are strengthening us all through your experiences.
Love,
Liz Rosenbaum

Jenny said...

It seems to me that you have in fact had an angel come to your family. I can't remember which daughter but you had said that when she was sad, Camille would come to her and comfort her. To me, that seems exactly like what you were hoping for. An angel to come and confirm to you or someone else that this was the Lord's plan. You didn't care who the angel was or who received the angel. Well, as I see it, the angel was Camille and the person receiving her was your other daughter. Just my observation. I'm still praying for you guys. I hope things continue to normalize and that life continues to have more positive moments. We love you so much.
Love,
Jenny (Earl) Norton

Meg said...

I've been following your blog for a little while now. Thank you for sharing your story and testimony, I'm sorry for what your family is going through right now. This has made me think about a tragedy that happened in my family a few years ago. My little 1 1/2 year old niece was run over by her 18 year old uncle backing out of the driveway. Funny that you talk about blame, because we played the blame game for a little while. Mainly to try to help the uncle feel a little better, like it wasn't entirely his fault. Also to help mom and dad feel better for not knowing exactly where she was at that exact moment, and also my husband and I who had been there earlier to pick up our lawn mowing trailer for work and leaving the back gate wide open which she walked through. The blame game is not fun. Instead of making any of us feel any better, I think that it just made us all feel worse. We are human, we all make mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are heart wrenching when you see a little baby in so much pain. Now we have a beautiful 6 year old girl who is a little different from most 6 year olds. She has been through a lot.... she had quite a bit of brain damage, but is such a miracle that she is who she is and can do what she can do considering. Thank you for your words... you have really put a lot of things in perspective for me. My testimony has been strengthened from reading your blog and it really makes me want to try harder and be a better mom, wife, and person. Thank you!

Chanté said...

WOW and THANK YOU is all I can say. I'm so humbled my your testimony and willingness to share such personal things with all of us strangers. I have learned so much by reading your posts and truly hope to have a smidgen of your convictions when I face different trials in my life. Thank you so much.

Marleen said...

Your words give me added reason to make sure that daily I can stand clean before the Lord.

I was scolding Aubrey yesterday, in a way that you can scold a one year old. So, not very hard. During the scolding session she looked up and started talking to the ceiling. She smiled and talked as if talking to someone who was not there.

In my mind I instantly thought of Camille or someone beyond this mortal existence chatting with her. I then thought how silly it was that I was upset over something so trivial. That feeling of eyes upon me and my family gave me a much needed scolding of how silly it is for me to get upset over the things I do.

Thank you for reaffirming that feeling for me.

Scott&Mandi said...

Stephanie, you have some amazing insight! You and Camille really are an inspiration to me, and your posts really keep me grounded in terms of my life's "problems". Your testimony and strength always remind me to remember the bigger picture and to use the atonement daily. You and your family are still in my daily prayers. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing thoughts.

careymc said...

What an amazing post, Stephanie. Please don't ever stop blogging. :) You are helping so many people in so many different ways (myself included). Thank you!

Evs & The Hubby said...

Your post reminded me of the process I had to go through when Chris J. died on a scout trip. It was really hard not to place blame on the other scout's or leaders. I learned that no one was to blame and that I needed to forgive and love all that had been involved. I needed this reminder because I have been so tired from camp that I haven't been as good at my scripture study and spiritual strengthening this week. It is a good lesson to learn again.

a mom far away said...

Wow. I have no words. God Bless you. What an amazingly moving post. You are an inspiration/

The Morris Fam said...

I am constantly amazed at your insight and wisdom. I am amazed when I use eternal perspective as I think of all that you have been through. It's so wonderful to me how much good has and will continue to come from the experience of your family. The whole blogging community has been dotted by your testimony and has been tremendously blessed. I have found so many posts from people that have never met you and been effected. I LOVE reading the wonderful comments and to see the hand of our Heavenly Father in all of this. I wish I had words to describe how blessed I feel to be able to gain so much from Camilles' life and passing through you and your insight that you have shared, especially through this blog. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

Only through The Spirit can we receive strength to talk about such difficult issues. Only through faith can we see the truth .

I love that The Lord blessed you with that dream as a comforting affirmation that He knew and that He alone could have prevented Camille's accident. That He didn't, is part of His Eternal Plan.

Thank you, Stephanie. Your deep faith and powerful testimony carass my soul.

Camille is a busy little Angel whose depth and breadth of ability to inspire and teach us is truly endless.

Colleen said...

thank you for your faith. it helps me build mine more. i am so sorry that you are going through all this. it can not be easy. how wonderful it is to know that we can see our loved ones again and that family's are forever. thank you again for showing your faith.

Anonymous said...

I know that my Savior lives. I know that it is through the atonement that all of us can be made whole. I know that through our frailties we are invited to be closer to the Savior and to partake of His atonement. His gift is truely the at one ment. Being one with Him and His purpose is one of our greatest opportunities. I have faith in HIm and I know that through Him we are all able to accomplish all that is required of us and I know we can be healed through His great sacrifice. I am grateful for His love, strength and friendship.

Julie said...

I just want to say thank you for posting all that you have. I have been following your blog for the past few weeks from a friend of a friend and I am so in awe of you. I haven't commented up until this point because I haven't really known what to say other than I think you are amazing. Your post today really struck me. I had a baby when I was 15 that was born with CHARGE syndrome. He has severe medical problems and I've always blamed myself for being so young when he was born and maybe that's what caused it. Your post today about being the tool in the Lord's work is the first time I've ever felt at peace inside about what happened. I'm now 25 so that's been 10 years of guilt. I appreciate your posts and hope you continue. Thanks for helping so many people! And your Camille was and is gorgeous! I have a 20 month old daughter and your experiences have really taught me to not take her for granted. Thanks again.

Crystal D said...

I am honestly so moved by this post. Beautifully written, thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

John & Shauna said...

I'm Sara Gillepie's sister- in- law. I read your blog everyday, along with several other people I've told about your blog. You are such an inspiration to so many. It's obvious of your strong testimony that is truly sustaining you. Your family is blessed to have you as their mom. Thank you for your daily devotionals.

Melissa Everett said...

Stephanie,
Thank you for answering that question. I think in the back of my mind I already knew that this would be your answer. I just had to know for sure if it every crossed your mind... because honestly I think I would have had a battle with that! You are an amazing person. Thank you for sharing your life with so many people. I also thought as I was reading your post funny how you had heard that story before all of this about the boy and his father. well not funny but very cool that He was preparing you for this time in your life. You have amazing strength and I know that you have inspired me and my frineds and family to not only be better mothers but also to be better daughters of God! I could not even imagine the lasting impression you are making in this life on so may others! You are a divine spirit and I feel blessed just being able to read your words! Again, thank you for answering my question and thank you again... for everything!

Julie said...

You continue to amaze me. You have such insight and wisdom that you are sharing to so many people. Thank you.

Michelle said...

I admire your strength. And I hope that if I ever have to face a challenge such as the one you have faced (and conquered), that I will be able to remember your wise comments.
Thank you.

Michele and John said...

you don't know me. but i love this post. i read about your story of your beautiful little girl and it broke my heart. i have a 6mo old son. i found myself having these thoughts a few weeks ago when i first came across your blog... how can i prevent something so tragic happening to me? what can i do to keep this from happening in my family. my answer came quick. and it was exactly what this post says. you can't. there is a plan and it was your daughters time. like you said, if it wasn't the spa, it would have been something else. i'm so glad that you found the peace in that truth. there is nothing you could have done. there is nothing i can do to keep it from happening to me. i pray for your family to be able to live with her memory and find happiness in your life with her gone. thank you for sharing your story and being so inspiring.

kathie said...

I don't think you'll ever fully know how many lives you have touched. You express your thoughts perfectly. Thank you for your personal insights. We stopped at Cove Fort on the way home over the 4th. We haven't done that for a long time. It was a sweet experience as I stood at the back of the fort and our guide pointed out all the brown that surrounds the fort. I had heard how close the fire got last year but as I stood there I was just struck at how much the Lord watches over us, knows us and keeps his promises to us if we remain faithful. When Pres. Hinckley rededicated the Fort he asked for a blessing of protection...I am one more voice that is praying for your family, for peace and joy for your home. Thank you again, Kathie (I am Phil Zobrists and Diane Whitings cousin, its really a small town, Vegas!) I posted on my blog a quote for you rkdyefamily

Michelle said...

My comment is in reference to your "Perspecitve" post, but I didn't know if you go back and check the old ones or not.

So, I've been reading your blog for about the last month and have been so touched like so many people. I was not loving life as a mommy. Your expereince gave me a huge reality check. Being a mom was my number one dream in life and I do adore my children. But I hadn't been acting like it. So I took the wake-up call and have really been trying to cherish each moment with my kids. When they drive me crazy I think, "I'd miss this if they were gone." I am grateful for each day and try to do at least one thing fun with them each day.

So I had to teach a lesson in YW about eternal perspective. Of course, I couldn't stop thinking about your outlook on this whole expereince and the strong testimony your bear on your blog. I hope you don't mind, but I shared a little of that with my girls. Well, the very next day, you posted your "Perspective" post. I had to cut and paste it into an e-mail to all of them because you perfectly summed up what I had been trying to teach them the day before.

Also, while I was preparing my lesson I found a few quotes that totally made me think of you. I wanted to share them with you.

This is from a talk by James E. Faust and I don't know who he is quoting. "There are no soft or slothful ways to become sanctified to the point that we are prepared to live in the presence of the Savior. Even though these experiences may cause pain, suffering, and sorrow, we have this absolute assurance: 'No pain suffered by man or woman upon the earth will be without its compensating effects if it be suffered in resignation and if it be met with patience.'"

I think you are doing a wonderful job accepting this trial with resignation and patience and it was comforting to me to think that you will be compensated for that.

From the sound of this one, it's probably Neil A. Maxwell, but I'm not sure. “The winds of tribulation, which blow out some men’s candles of commitment, only fan the fires of faith of others.”

Thank you for letting the winds of your tribulation not only fan your fire of faith, but also so many of us around the world!

You and your family are in my prayers.

JOSH AND LISA MCINTYRE said...

You are amazing. I have come to have a deep affection for you and your family over the last few weeks even if it is just through reading a blog. The Lord is using you as a tool right now to improve the lives of others. Your perspective is humbling and inspiring and I am so grateful to walk the earth with people like yourself.

JOSH AND LISA MCINTYRE said...

By the way, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your words. I have been holding my daughters tighter, closer, longer and more.

Deeanna said...

I continue to be inspired by your testimony and willingness to open your heart to us during this most difficult trial. You will never know how many people's lives are better because of the things you share. Thank you...

Joan said...

Your words continue to have a healing effect on me as well as so many others. On May 27th a rare form of cancer took my daughter's life, and I have treasured your words as we both move through the grief process. You have blessed my life and helped me find comfort and peace.

Cardalls said...

I think also you were meant to be an inspiration and support to so many people. You are so eloquent and spirit filled in your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your heartaches with all of us. I appreciate my children more each day.

Adam and Megan's Mom said...

WOW. you simply amaze me!

Jodie said...

Stephanie,

I check in on you everyday sometimes more than once...

I think about you and your family all the time...

I am so inspired by your words and am learning so much from them...

You really amaze me and I feel blessed that you are so open with all of us mothers. The lessons you are teaching us are priceless.

(P.S. I will tell the ladies of the Hacienda Ward hello for you and I love that you are a fan of S.Y.T.Y.C.D...I may have to hit up one of your parties...if that's okay (please email me the scoop on your next one j0ielynn@yahoo.com...the "0" in j0die is a zero))

Anonymous said...

I too am one of the many who came to your blog from another's. In all honesty I have only read your post "Blame" and am not sure I can handle reading older posts - I was so moved by this one. You are writing about one of the greatest and most incomprehensible truths of Christianity - that we both have free will and an omnipotent God who knows all things, sees all things, directs all things. You are a wise woman. May you continue to find strength in the Lord and fight against "blame" and the other spiritual traps that abound on this earth.

I am guessing you already know this, but the very famous Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman lost his youngest daughter in May, in a tragic accident. His song "With Hope" (from an old CD called Speechless) was written for family friends who lost children, but now brings comfort to his own family. If you haven't heard the song, it might be worth finding - I love it so. Amanda in Illinois

marykay said...

That was remarkably well put, I don't think I could be as strong as you and your family, your baby girls are beautiful. I stumbled across your blog while on vacation last weekend and had gone through a similiar experience with my four year old and our pool. My father was in the yard and luckily saved our child. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Carrie said...

I found your blog through someone that linked to your blog, and I have been reading ever since. You are truely amazing, and the strength that you have shown through this tremendously difficult time is so inspiring. I have two little girls, and I couldn't imagine losing either one of them. Your posts have been so inspiring to me. I have tried to be more patient, and realize that at any moment one of them could be taken from me, and I don't want to regret one minute of one day. My heart goes out to you and your beautiful family. Thank you for your posts, and for sharing your thoughts with us.

Ann Melinda said...

Steph,
I think it's great that through this blog you have found such a great outlet for your writing talent as well as a way to serve so many others. I think the "blame" issue is so interesting. Everyone who hears of such a tragedy agrees that you should not blame yourself... but at the same time they go home and double their personal caution. After having 2 friends lose toddlers to drowning in 1 month, I purchased lifejackets for each child that is not an olympic swimmer and hesitate to let them out of my sight. It's somewhat contradictory. I, too, feel like it is a miracle that each of my children is alive, and I can point to several incidents (one just a few days ago) in which any one of my kids could have been lost. Realizing how fragile life is has been helpful to me as I struggle with my 5th baby. He cries as much as my others did put together. But he's still a miracle. BTW, I loved "Twilight" too... I had no idea the whole country was buzzing about them until just recently. I also thought book 2 was best!
Love,
Ann Melinda

Nick & Jeannette said...

Hello, I have been following your blog since the accident happened. I am amazed by your strength and faith. I also think you are a gifted writer. I don't know many people (including myself) who could handle losing a child the way you have.. Your children and husband are so fortunate to have you to lean on for support through this difficult time. You are such a great example when it comes to trials in life.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much , my testimony is strengthened everyday by reading your words and feeling your spirit.

The Sandbergs said...

I am always so wary to comment on people's blogs because I know you don't know me, but you have been so generous to share your life with everyone. I can't say anything that hasn't already been said before, but I came to your sight from Julie's after I had read her blog about your sweet baby. I suffer with horrible stress and constant worry, but reading your blog seriously helps keep me grounded. You truly are amazing. I don't know how you do it. I seriously gush tears everytime I visit your blog, and I literally marvel at your strength. I am one of those mothers who now holds on to her babies longer each day. You have seriously changed my way of thinking, and I can't tell you how much that means to me right now. I am so sorry for your loss, but I know she is waiting with Heavenly Father to see you again. You truly are an inspiration, and I would be so ungreatful to not let you know how much you have touched my life. I'm just so sorry that you had to go through this, but it is amazing how many people you have touched. Love to you and your family...Kristi.

Lloyd & Leslie said...

My mom hasn't wanted to hear about your accident, has a hard time hearing this sort of thing, but I felt like she needed to hear what you wrote in your "blame" comment so sent it to her w/a foreword about it and then a lot of space before where I pasted it into an email so she had a choice to read it or not. I wanted her to know how possible it is to be close to our father in heaven, to be able to get through trials. She'll be 69 this year, not a member, not feeling very anchored or fed by her church, life didn't turn out exactly as she'd planned, etc., but I wanted her to see the strength you have even in these times and for my mom to be touched by your testimony. I don't know if she's read the whole email yet, but I hope she will.

I thought your dream was very interesting. It's amazing how heavenly father comforts us in a myriad of ways even when we don't know what's happening at the time. It is understandable that you would turn things over in your mind a million ways, but then your understanding of you and Jonathan not being warned makes so much sense, too, and you can be blessed to understand and to have peace about some things, to have an eternal perspective on something affecting you very mortally. Very touching.

Kunz Family said...

Can I copy and paste your posts on my blog? (and pretend they are mine?)

Anonymous said...

I really should know better by now to read your blogs BEFORE I put on my make-up for the day. I always have to go wash off the smeared mascara and start again.

I can honestly say that I am a better mother because of the feelings you are sharing. I am a little more patient and when I hug my kids I hold them just a few seconds longer. THANK YOU!

s & g said...

You have an incredible perspective again...over and over. I am sure it brings a smile to Camille's face to know how many lives you are touching through her.

Thank you! I know my testimony is strengthened when I read your thoughts.

Kelsi said...

Hi, I just wanted to share this poem with you today! Thank you for your post! It is so true that it serves no purpose to blame! Thanks for the inspiration!

A Mothers Crown

Heaven lit up with His mighty presence,
As all the Angels looked down,
Today the Lord was placing the jewels,
In all the mother's crowns.
As He held up a golden crown,
As all the mother's looked on,
He said in His gentle voice,
"I just want to explain each stone".

He held the first gem in His hand
But the radiance couldn't match His own.
For He was the light of Heaven,
Reflecting off each of the stones.

"The first gem," He said, "is an emerald,
And it's for endurance alone,
For all the nights you waited up.
For your children to come home.

For all the nights by their bedside,
You stayed till the fever went down,
For nursing every little wound,
I add this emerald to your crown."

"A ruby, I'll place by the emerald,
For leading your child in the right way,
For if you hadn't taught them about me,
They wouldn't be here with you today.

For always being right there,
Thru all life's important events,
I give you a sapphire stone,
For the time and love you spent."

"For untying the strings that held them,
When they grew up and left home,
I give you this one for courage."
Then the Lord added an amethyst stone.

"I'll place a stone of garnet," He said,
"For all the times you spent on your knees,
When you asked me to take care of your children,
And them for having faith in me."

"I have a pearl for every little sacrifice,
That you made without them knowing,
For all the times you went without,
To keep them happy, healthy, and growing."

"And last of all I have a diamond,
The greatest of all gems,
For those mother's who lost their children,
When they came home to heaven before them."

"This is the most precious sacrifice,
So I give the most precious stone,
For I know just how you felt,
I too lost a child of my own."

After the Lord placed the last jewel in,
He said, "Heaven is now complete,
For every mother has her crown of jewels,
And all her children are at her feet."

cmhl said...

You really have a gift with words. Seriously.

Your words could apply to other situations as well; I know that I beat myself up about past events and just can't let myself be free of the guilt and shame.

You are a wonderful mother; anyone can see that by reading your words.

Rachel said...

I too clicked over from another blog (actually two blogs). Thank you for your testimony of our Savior and His plan. Your daughter's sweet life is still reaching out and helping people see things in a new light.

2 + 2 = 4 said...

Since you read all your comments, I will write you a book in here.

Thanks for that story. Thanks for your testimony. I must tell you. I have a hard time reading your blog...but, for some reason, I keep coming back.

It's hard because I try to put myself in your shoes and every time I do...I realize that I don't think I could be like you. I think seclusion would have been my way of coping with it...You are far too amazing, and maybe that is why I keep coming back...so, I can learn something from you.

I have sat here in front of this computer and cried many times over thinking about you, your family, and Camille. Yes, the Lord has a plan for her and for all of us...but, it is still hard to learn how to live with it day by day. Isn't it?

I know what your pain is like....well, in a tiny little way, I do. My husband has lost two brothers and a 7-month pregnant sister-in-law in different car accidents.

The first one, my father-in-law was involved in. He is much like the man in your story. He is so well put together and has such a testimony of life. I think I get along with him so well...so, I can learn something from him.

I am not sure I have a point here...

Just wanted to write and tell you that...

Please keep teaching me...I need it!

Christy said...

My name is Christy and you do not know me. I found your blog (a friend of a friend of a friend). Anyway, I have been reading it quite often and it has made me appreciate the small things my children do these days. I really appreciate this entry. My daughter has just finished two years of chemo fighting leukemia. Thankfully she is fine and will hopefully stay that way. When we have had rough times in the hosptial people ask me how I get through it. Your words are how I feel most of the time. It is just hard to explain. I'm glad you can. From the beginning I have felt calm about things and I know this is part of our family's plan. It is so comforting to have the knowledge of these things. I pray this feeling will stay with you for a long, long time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us. It really does enlighten us and more importantly, it helps us cherish the small things our children do.

Ashley said...

Stephanie - I'm Kami Beck's littlest sister Ashley. I hope you don't mind but I read your blog frequently and it's almost always a very sweet moment in my day. Thank you for having the courage to just write. Thank you for sharing your testimony, your sorrows, and feelings with so many. I feel like you and Camille are turning out to be a powerful missionary companionship! I don't know if you ever think of it that way, but your writing and her sweet spirit that pour out with every word are changing so many of our hearts. Keep writing! So many of us don't know you personally and we love you. Thank you for spreading the gospel.

Anonymous said...

Reading your post reminded me back to a few years ago when I was going to college and living with roomates. To make a long story short, one of my roomates hit a pedestrian with her car going only 10-15 miles an hour and the girl passed. It was the oddest event and as the night unfolded and more information came out it really made you think. God does have use tools to get his angels back. My roomate took a different route home from work that night, there had been a gathering of people in one of the apartment complex's parking lot near by, the street light had burnt out the night before. So on her way home from work she was driving slower than the posted speed limit and the girl that passed walked out backwards into the street between two parallel parked cars as she was saying goodbye to all of her friends. Anyway, that was when the girl was struck, she passed almost instantly. Then about 2 weeks later my roomate was at a random students apartment, I don't remember why, but there were 2 girls in the other room talking. They were talking about their friend that had just passed and mentioned how it was planned and meant to be because just the night before the accident she had gathered up all of her long time friends for a get together. So it ended up being one last time all together. There were many other strange coincidences that happened. It was just what my roomate needed to hear to give her some kind of peace. We don't always know the answers but you and your family are strong and your baby girl is in a better place. God works in mysterious ways.

Cara said...

Thank you for your thoughts and wisdom. You have helped me and countless others because of your faith and strenght. I am better because of you. Both my parents died two years ago and I have tried to be strong but after reading your blog I AM stronger!!! Thank you - thank you!!! You have put into words what I have been trying to feel for years!!! (I hope you don't mind but I put a link to your blog from mine) ♥

neener said...

Dear Stephanie,
I admire the strength of your children. They remind me of mine. We lost a son almost 2yrs ago and my children are normal children that loved their brother and they know the plan of salvation and that their little Tanner is with Jesus now. They all sang the primary song "faith" at Tanner's funeral, people thought we were crazy having our children performing such a task.... but they wanted to, they wanted to show their feelings through a song and oh how they did. I live every day through my children's eyes. I came across your blog today from a friend of a friend who said I needed to read it. I have only been blogging a year and have found great strength recording my feelings and life's events down. Lately I have been searching for LDS women who have lost a child as I needed to feel of their strength. You are a powerful woman and firm in the gospel. May your beautiful daughter angel forever watch over you and your family till you meet again.
Sincerely;
Denine
Edmonton, Canada

Joanne Brown said...

What beautiful words and what a strength of faith and testimony you exhibit. You truly are a precious daughter of our Heavenly Father! I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I'm just blown away by you and your family. This post struck a chord with me as my sister's friends lost their 3 yr old daughter 2 weekends ago. In the weeks leading up to her passing they had a feeling that something was going to happen to her. They just felt that they wouldn't have her for long. I truly believe that some children (including your daughter) are 'too pure for this world' as Joseph Smith once said. I also believe that Heavenly Father sometimes prepares people for such tragedy with dreams, feelings etc. You are truly an inspiration to us all and an example of a believer. You and your family will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Jayne said...

I think it is a tender mercy of the Lord that I read this tonight. I've been holding onto blame/guilt for an accident that happened in 2006. I often dwell on the thought that if I just had done something a little bit different in one moment, we wouldn't be at the same place we are now, and I could have saved myself a lot of suffering and uncertainty. Can't that one moment just be fixed or erased somehow? I have had other feelings and promptings in the last few days while reading special documents that have helped me feel that this is an experience that the Lord is leading me through for a purpose. Thank you for your candor. Tonight it has served the greater purpose of helping a grateful stranger.