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Thursday, 27 September 2007

Praying for a Stronger Back

This has been one of those weeks we wish we could erase from memory, and yet we know we will never forget.

On Monday we received word that my sister's mother-in-law was losing her fight with cancer. Her two year struggle with breast cancer ended late Tuesday afternoon. I didn't know her well, but whenever I did have the opportunity to be around her, I couldn't help but notice how gentle and loving she was to everyone. She was the heart of her family and now they must learn to carry on without her. She will be missed by all who felt her influence.

Earlier this afternoon, my two and a half month old nephew passed away in his sleep. My husband and I rushed to answer another sister's frantic call, but it was too late to help him. The EMT's worked diligently on his tiny body, but he had already gone home to be cradled in his Heavenly Father's loving arms.

As family all over the country is informed and the ward members pull together, everyone asks what they can do. And really, there is so little. I watched my younger sister kneel over her son's limp body and beg for him to come back and I couldn't imagine losing a child of my own. The pain she is going through must be nearly unbearable. This young family has struggled under an incredibly trying year, and we wonder how they will cope with this newest trial.

I keep thinking of one of my favorite sayings. "Don't pray for a lighter burden; pray for a stronger back." I can be with her. I can sit with her and wrap my arms around her when life is too hard for her to bear. Maybe when she prays for her "stronger back", I can be part of her answer. And until the pain recedes a little, my prayers for both families will be constant. We will always hold for Marilyn and sweet baby Jonah, a special place in our hearts.

15 comments:

Don said...

Thanks, Stephanie. I needed this advise today.

Amy said...

Thanks for this entry.

Rob Ficiur said...

I sat down at the computer fussing because I was having a busy day ahead of me...blah blah. Then I read this blog.

It put things into perspective. I sorrow for those who have lost loved ones and face these life wrenching trials.

As I go on with my busy day I will be grateful for what I have.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie. That is a beautiful piece of writing in this day's blog. I'm so sorry that your family especially your sister has to go through a trial like this. we have them in our prayers and thoughts. I pray Heavenly Father will pour out His love with abundance at this time for all who are suffering. Love ya Sheila H

Shanna Blythe said...

There isn't anything you can do except be there for your family. My brother and his wife lost their four month old son--they at least knew he was going to die and could say goodbye--yet . . . they still lost him. Our prayers are with you and your family.

Davis Bigelow said...

Stephanie, I'm so sorry to hear about your trajedies. Life can be so full of joy one moment and so full of pain the next, yet I expect that we came here to earth to experience these very things. Long ago, when I was going through an extreme trajedy, a friend told me something that helped. His words comforted me, and I pass them on to you. He asked, "Do you know why we all have problems at the different times?" I was surpised at his question, and he continued, "Because if we all had problems at the same time, there would be no one left to help out the ones struggling."
Hang in there. As President Monson is so fond of saying, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Ajoy said...

I am weeping. My heart is aching and is with you and yours. My prayers will be humbly uttered for those in need of comfort.

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

Stephanie, I am so sorry to hear what has happened. I will keep you and your family in my heart and prayers. Stay strong but remember to let yourself cry on occasion. Okay?

Stephanie Humphreys said...

We are all strong through our faith and the prayers of everyone have buoyed the family up. Thank you for your prayers.

And crying, the best therapy there is. I have wrapped my arms around my sister quite often as we cry together. The tears are fewer now. I am amazed at how strong my sister is and her beautiful perspective on things. She has taught all of us in the last few days.

I will write something new as soon as I can think of something other than what has happened.

April said...

I am so sorry. I wish I knew what to say, but in situations like these, it's hard to say anything and most likely better to say nothing. Just know that though I don't know you or any of your family, you are all in my prayers.

Briteeyes said...

Oh my, I am sitting here, my heart is breaking for your sisters. I can't imagine laying one of my children to rest. your family is in my heart and in our prayers.

marlene austin said...

My heart is with you. We lost our first son as a baby and it is truly difficult. Though it seems impossible now, some of the difficult times are still ahead, and your sister may need your love and your acceptance of her emotions and reactions for a long time. Help her to know that you and Heavenly Father continue to love her even if/as she goes through some of the less loveable times of grieving--feeling anger and self-doubt are common and they also have their own temporary part in healing. Let your sister take the lead in telling you what she needs emotionally; don't make her feel guilty if she grieves longer and differently than you expect her to. The admonition to "Mourn with those who mourn" is much harder to follow than to try to cheer those who mourn. As you already know, sharing the loss is a matter of spirit touching spirit, and The Spirit will help you all to heal through these experiences.

Know that many who you don't even know care deeply and pray for the spirt to comfort you and others sharing such trials.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Thank you for the advice and encouragement, Marlene. We know there are rough times ahead, but we will be there for her.

marlene said...

I'm so glad that she is there near you. Our closest family was over 2000 miles away and we were new in our ward and had our son's twin sister in intensive care for another 8 months. It happened in Oct. and that month can still be hard. Very lonely time.

I'm writing this thinking there will not be many if any except you who read it after this length of time, but since I don't know how to contact you otherwise, I'm being pretty personal in this. I have some poetry that I wrote from that time about my response to our loss, and several who have also had losses said it helped. I know everyone grieves differently, and I certainly wouldn't want to send your sister anything that might cause her to feel worse, but if you would think it might help, please give her copies of these.

By the way, I was raised in Columbia Falls, Montana and went to Carston to do temple baptisms. Are you anywhere near there?

My thoughts remain with you and her, knowing this pain lasts much longer than a few weeks or even months.

A section of one poem written while deep in grieving:

This Wounding

I supposed that I,/ at a wounding such as this/ Would be much as as a fine-blown vase/ with the handle detached,/ Or, perhaps, a marble sculpture missing a leg or arm--/ Wounded but not ruined, Easily repaired or able to retain beauty in incompleteness.

But I am not.

Instead, I find myself as a torn fabric--/A fabric once made of fine threads/In a daity weave/Carefully, painfully, times-takingly constructed/In precise, yet gentle hues/To form a delicate pattern,/Now made incomplete, far from whole.

So very slow this mending./So bright this glaring scar./ There is no ease or beauty in this healing/There is only a fabric to reconstruct/With a pattern that can no longer encompass/Ethereal reflections by which it once was bound.

Perhaps in the end, strength gives the greater beauty.


Changed Perspective: written months later.

In times before, I saw you with their eyes/In flowing robes of black and midnight greys./ I heard your voice in somber tones of gloom./Your presence was a penetrating chill.

I see you now through new and changed eyes./Your vestments glow of golds and mellowed whites;/Your tones are silence: peaceful, calm, serene;/Your presence, warm, pointing to impending glory.

Ebbing pain still pulsates in my thoughts./Days of loneliness subside to reappear./But knowing you, as I've found you to be,/I understand the pain--/Shadows cast by emptiness/And unrevealed knowledge,/Irreplaceabloe dreams:/
Veiled eyes cannot envision.

I see you, Death, in your joyous glory,/But seeing eyes still fill with tears.


Please remove these from your blog if they are too personal or make you uncomfortable having them here.
I hope this is not being too personal, but I do care.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Marlene,
Thanks for the poems. They are beautiful and I know she will appreciate them. I will pass them on to her.

I actually live in about 20 minutes from Cardston.

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