Friday, December 26, 2008

In The End

It is true what they say about holidays being difficult after loss. This Christmas was good in so many ways and hard in so many others. I think Christmas Eve was the hardest for me. We do most of our traditional things on Christmas Eve.

We had a wonderful day as a family and then headed to my parent's house for Christmas Eve dinner with all my family that was in town. Nights in general are my weakest times of day and that night I was especially missing Camille. 

I wished I could have seen her discover Christmas. This would have been the first Christmas she could have tortured the Christmas tree ornaments and tried to unwrap the presents too early. It is the first Christmas she would have wondered at all the lights and joyed in the sweets and treats. 

By the time we were ready to leave my parent's home, I was having a hard time keeping my emotions in check. We went from there to the cemetery to visit Camille's resting place. I think all five of us felt the sorrow of missing the littlest member of our family at the cemetery. We cried and hugged and sang Christmas carols to Camille. Then the girls sang her lullaby to her.

We had a very sweet experience there learning the true meaning of Christmas and seeing it shine through our three year old daughter. But, I will write that story up another time after it has more time to steep into my soul.

Christmas Day was a fun day. I tried to let all my sorrow out the night before so that we could fill the Christmas day with joy. For the most part that worked well. I think the thing that helped the most was focusing on the Savior. Christmas Eve late I felt the Spirit of the Lord fill my heart with the true joy of all that the Savior's birth promised. It turned the tide in my heart and helped me enjoy the greatest gift of the season, the Savior himself.

Before that I had been wondering how there could ever be compensation for such incredible pain and sorrow. By Christmas afternoon I was walking by myself to meet my sisters and mother for a movie and thinking, "You know, when I meet the Savior face to face, none of this pain or sorrow will matter anymore. His love will so fill me that I will not remember this great ache any longer. No matter how long the pain lasts here, it will be gone in an instant when I am with Christ again. The only thing that will matter will be how well I endured the trials I encountered in this life. I will either feel peace or shame depending on how I endured."

The thought reminded me of my favorite part of the video "The Testaments." This is a video that played in a theatre across from Temple Square in Salt Lake City for a long time and is now available on DVD. It was produced by the LDS Church and portrays the events that occurred on the American continent at the end of Savior's ministry, during and after his death. 

The story is told from the point of view of a fictional family living in the Americas at this time. The father is a believer and saw the sign of the Savior's birth. The son was not alive to see this sign and struggles to believe as his father does. 

My favorite scene is the very last scene. It is after the world is shaken and tormented by nature during the crucifixion. There have been 3 days of total darkness after about 3 hours fires and earthquakes and all sorts of destruction.  Some time shortly after that the Savior comes to visit these people. 

My favorite scene is the father's face when he meets the Savior. After all the suffering and loss and persecution he has faced. After holding tight to his faith when the world told him to let it go, there he stands face to face with the Son of God. His face is what I imagine my face will be. 

I highly recommend watching this video. I know you can order the DVD online through lds.org but you can also view it online at YouTube. It is split into 7 parts there. HERE is the link to the 7 parts. I think I will watch the DVD again tomorrow with the kids.

So here is to enduring well with the glorious hope of a better world to come. May we continue to feel the hope the Savior's birth brings to the world throughout the year.

13 comments:

kathryn_m said...

As always, your deep faith inspires and comforts me, Stephanie. Your family was never far from my thoughts the past few days.

I am going to see about ordering that dvd now.

with love,
kathryn_m

Chelsea said...

i have tears running down my face for the experiences you didn't get to have with camille, but you are so right. when you meet the savior again, love will fill the pain. thank you for reminding me of that.

my favorite part of the testaments is when christ comes to jacob and helam, calls helam by name and heals him. it reminds me that god knows me in every way. thank you for pointing that out on youtube as i do not have the dvd yet.

Messy Jess said...

You have such a talent with words and the spirit that comes from your stories. Thank you for sharing.

Sarah said...

Thank you for your words and thank you for your example.

tara @ kidz said...

Your perspective always amazes me. I'm glad you had a neat experience at the cemetary and I can't wait to hear about it.

I shared a quote you used on your blog with a friend. My friend's husband was shot and killed two months ago, leaving her with her many medical problems, a toddler, and a baby on the way. She is suffering incredibly. I gave her some music, a blanket, a book, and several quotes. This is the one she called and thanked me about:

"The cavity which suffering carves into our souls will one day also be the receptacle of joy." -Neal A Maxwell.

I know the scene you're talking about in The Testaments. It's my favorite as well. I know your suffering will be replaced with immense joy soon. And in the meantime it will be eased with your knowledge of the atonement and love for the savior.

Susy said...

Dear Stephanie,
I have read your blog so often. I even have bought you something for Camille's tree. If you new me personally, you would understand why I haven't mailed it...heck I haven't even mailed my Christmas cards!
On with what I have to say...
Hopefully with out tears okay hear they come...Last night I witnessed my 63 year old brother being baptized....It has overwhelmed me in more ways then I can express! I want to share with you and your readers my humble testimony, that God lives and the church is true. We will meet are Savior and all will be made well. We will share the struggles we have been given, we will also share the joys we have had on earth. We will be with him again. This is my simple testimony and thank you Stephanie for continually sharing yours and letting me share mine on your blog!

Heidi said...

So touching. I'm sorry it was hard, but I'm so grateful you have your faith in the Savior. That scene in The Testaments is my favorite as well.

Ryan and Shannan Hoffman said...

Hi Stephanie, you don't know me, but I am a friend of Molly Jackson's and found your blog through hers. I wanted to let you know that I think you are an amazing woman, although I have never met you, I can tell you are a strong person and I love how you share your testimony with the world. I am so sorry for the loss of your baby girl. I have two girls and have cherished them even more through the loss of Molly's girl, and I have appreciated reading your blog as well to give additional perspective to everything. I hope that you continue to feel comfort and good luck with your new baby.

irvy said...

Stephanie,

I accidentally stumbled on your blog when someone posted a link to a recipe on it (which for some reason was no longer there.) Thinking that this may be a site to find some good recipes for my family I shortened the address to your main page and was drawn to your picture of Camille and clicked on the link.

I have spent much of yester and today reading your back posts and hugging my children.

Thank you for sharing your faith with all who care to read it. Thank you for showing a healing heart. Thank you for reminding me once again what a blessing my children are. Thank you for giving me the cathartic chance to relive my grief without having to go too deeply into it. Thank you for reminding me that I can be a loving, patient and kind mama without being an indulgent mama.

May the New Year bring joy in new mommyhood, blessings in all parts of life and greater healing of your heart so that the receptacle in your heart left by Camille will be filled more fully with love from our Savior.

I can testify that after years that receptacle fills more and more with the Savior's love. It is also combines the longing to be wrapped in your child's love with the longing to feel the arms of the Savior around you when you pass through the veil. The pain never fully goes away - it just becomes less bittersweet and more sweet.

Thank you again for being an inspiration for me and many others and being a great missionary in your companionship with your daughter.

Maggie May said...

the way you struggle and grieve through this loss is a lesson in quiet dignity and courage. you are an amazing woman, in your way.
merry christmas, xo

Lisa said...

Beautiful sentiments. I am always uplifted by your words and your perspective. I, too, am deeply encouraged by the hope of the Savior's coming, by the peace that will never leave then. I feel so blessed to have this hope.

gina said...

Steph- I am just now catching up on your blog, and finding out that you are having a BOY!!!! I am so excited for you. There is absolutely a special relationship between a mother and her son. Lots and lots of love. I am missing you.

Mandi said...

Beautiful Post!! I loved it. I love that video also. It always gives me such great peace in my life. I should watch it everyday. I need a lot of peace!! :)