Mortal life ends eventually for all of us. Each of us will sometime be faced with the death of a loved one, a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, brother, sister or a close friend. A sudden, unexpected death may be the hardest to cope with. There is nothing I can say in this article that would lessen the pain and suffering, but I might be able to help with a vision of the future which can give hope and comfort.
What happens at death
The eternal spirit of our loved one leaves the physical body at death and enters the world of spirits to await the universal resurrection when the spirit and body are re-united again, never to separate. On Friday at Jesus Christ’s death, His spirit left his body and went to the spirit world to preach until he was resurrected on Sunday. “…being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;” a prison of sin and ignorance (1 Peter 3: 18-19 in the Bible).
At death our loved one is free of the cares and pains of mortality and will be with other loved ones that previously passed through the portals of death.
Our loved one continues to remember us and all their earthly experiences and relationships
An ancient prophet said that after we die, our eternal spirits remember everything about our earthly life. “Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge…” (2 Nephi 9: 14 p.73 in the Book of Mormon).
The Lord does permit pain and suffering in our lives for our spiritual growth
Whenever we are in the midst of pain and suffering caused by the death of a loved one it is hard to believe that it will benefit us. The key is whether it draws us closer to God or makes us angry with God. Our challenge is to be patient in suffering and trust the Lord. The Apostle Paul said to the Romans, “…we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope…” (Romans 5: 3-4 in the Bible).
Love is a very important part of our mortal existence and happiness
The Savior said, “…that ye love one another; as I have loved you…” (John 13:34 in the Bible).
He also counselled us, “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection. And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them,” (Doctrine & Covenants 42: 45-46).
We can have hope and excitement for a glorious reunion with our loved ones
Our spirits continue to live after death. The spirit retains personality, emotions and a perfect knowledge after death.
A fullness of joy is not possible in our earthly life, but is after death. “Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full,” (Doctrine & Covenants 101:36 p.197).
Love is the basis of a happy life and should be cherished.
Our feelings for our loved ones who have died should be retained. Death is a temporary separation from our loved ones and our love for them will even be greater when we are reunited with them again once our spirit enters the world of spirits after our death.
All pain and suffering will end and be healed.
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all wrongs will one day be righted. All pain and suffering will heal.
Live a righteous, loving life.
Our loving Heavenly Father truly has a Great Plan of Salvation for all of us, His children, with the Savior Jesus Christ as the central part of that plan. As the Savior said, “Love one another; as I have loved you.” He also said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” (John 14:15 in the Bible).
My parents and an older sister have died and I look forward to being reunited with them again at my death. It is a motivation for me to live the most righteous life that I can so that death can be a sweet experience for me as the Savior has promised the righteous.
Dallas Jones is the local leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For a more detailed discussion on coping with the death of a loved one call (231) 383-8359 or send an email [email protected]