When I was a teenager my parents told me that I almost died having my kidney removed at the age of six. I started to wonder why I hadn’t. I would ask myself, ‘Why am I still here?” Years later my older brother converted to the Church while in the military. While back home between deployments the missionaries knocked at our father’s house. I never answered the door when they came around, but my brother let them in. I immediately believed what they were saying. I could feel myself filling up with a sense of this is what had been missing. The question, ‘Why am I still here” was being answered.
Growing up my family ignored the spiritual side of life, and I knew I didn’t want to ignore that with my own kids. I felt that spirituality was the most important gift I could give them. As with any gift, I couldn’t force them to accept it.
I did blame myself for a long time for three of my kids leaving the church. I thought that if I could have helped them better through the divorce with their father, it would have turned out differently. It was very hard to no longer have that perfect family and around then i did briefly consider leaving the church. I used to be a very black and white person, and I’m not anymore. Once my life was no longer black and white, grey had to be ok.
Annie was my only child who remained active in the church. Her death has been a great motivator for me. The scriptures have always been a life-line for me and still are. Genealogy work and attending the temple regularly keeps me close to my ancestors and the lessons I can learn from them. It also reminds me that “these are the things of eternity.” I know where my daughter was spiritually and where she will be. I want to be with her, therefore, I will do what I need to ensure that happens. That means taking care of myself spiritually.
As for my other three children, none of them have removed themselves from the church membership–they are considered inactive–so I am still sealed to them, along with their father, for time and all eternity. I do still take great comfort in an eternal family. I’m okay with waiting and seeing how things turn out after this life.