Sunday, September 16, 2012

sorrow and growth

Before I post more I feel like I have to stop and pay honor to a friend we lost last week.

He was killed in a cycling accident.

One moment he was twenty miles from the finish-line in the LOTOJA bike race and the next he was gone, leaving his sweet wife and three kids behind.  (More details here and here.)

I have thought of my friend (the wife) all week.  I have poured out prayers for her and her three kids as they try to wade through their immense sorrow.  I have been on the verge of tears all week wondering what in the world I would do if I were in her shoes.

And aching for how she must be doing in her own shoes.

We attended the funeral on Saturday.

The huge, packed room filled with the thickness of love as she and her three children shared memories of the man they lost and loved so deeply.  They made us laugh and they made us cry.  They were strong with their knowledge that they will get so see him again some day...that they are a forever family.  How grateful I am to know that families can be together forever.

They made us realize more deeply the goodness of leading a good life.  One with few regrets.  Keeping an eye on the "big picture" of putting family first, and loving and serving God.  It made me want to be better, do better, serve better, reach higher.

I loved something my friend said in the funeral:  it's too bad that sometimes it takes something this sorrowful to cause true growth in faith and closeness to the Savior.  But there's something about a tragedy that puts you so deep in sorrow that all you can do is depend on your God to carry you through.  I've felt tiny fractions of what she was talking about.  I know many of us have our secret sorrows.  Although they may be heart-wrenching, that immense sorrow causes so much growth.

The man who closed the meeting challenged us to put the promptings we had felt in the meeting to work.  To let the example of this man's great life work to make our own lives that much better.

How grateful I am for this family's example of strength.

I'm sure to them there will be days where it doesn't seem that life should be continuing on around them as they ache for that man they will miss so much.  How I pray for them that they can continue to rely on help from above to help them through this next rough stage.   And that they can feel the love and prayers being poured out by so many to buoy them up.

11 comments:

  1. Hi Shawni,
    I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Thinking of his family & friends at this difficult time.

    Even with the gospel it's very hard to lose a loved one, especially when it's sudden. My Mum died very suddenly nearly 13 years ago & the shock & pain was terrible.

    I know it's good that your friend's family have a sure knowledge of where he is & that they'll see him again but I really hope that people don't keep telling them that or saying that Heavenly Father wanted him for a special reason as that can make them feel angry towards Heavenly Father. I know it did me. (I don't mean you'll be saying this by the way, I just mean in general)

    Again, I'm thinking of this bloke's family & friends at this difficult time.

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  2. My heart aches for his wife and children. My dearest friend lost her husband in an accident 8 years ago today. She is incredible and it is amazing to watch her spiritual growth. She has always been the one to comfort others even in her darkest days. When I need to be uplifted I call her to chat, she is my hero. The gospel gives such hope, but it doesn't take away the grief and the longing for that person who died. Prayers for their famly that angels will bear them up.

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  3. I read the story about him on the news and it made me sick to my stomach. I'm so sorry for your friend's loss. I hope she and her family find comfort. It IS great to have the knowledge of the plan of salvation.

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  4. i am so sorry for your friend. my husband did LOTOJA too and we were so sad to hear of the accident. their family is in our prayers.

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  5. I attended the funeral on Saturday of a 43 year old mother who died a senseless death as well last week. I am grateful for the gospel that gives me hope during this time. It seems as if the lord is in extra need of help this past week to call these two incredible people home so early.

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  6. My husband was riding with him, and I seriously cried for days thinking about it and if I was her, with our new born baby. I still cry thinking of it. but I am so glad to hear they are members because that does bring joy to know they'll be together again! tell her they have been in our prayers even in Logan UT!

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  7. He was my Aunt-in-laws nephew in law, if that makes sense. He seemed like an amazing man.

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  8. Such a sweet post - I learned many things at the funeral - but most important, the spirit can guide us and carry us through any situation.

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  9. This was such a sad story for me to learn about and I am sorry you are feeling the loss of a friend. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts from the funeral service.

    I first met Robert when we sat next to each other in the 6th grade. He'd whack my arm with the eraser side of his pencil whenever he wanted my attention. We were acquainted with each other clear through high school and he's the kind of guy you can only say good things about. My heart felt so heavy when I heard the news about his accident.

    Although I don't know his wife at all, I've offered dozens of prayers for her and for their children, both as I kneel down in the morning and as they pop into my thoughts throughout the day. We really can mourn with those we don't even know and I am praying for his family's continued strength and comfort.

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  10. My heart goes out to them during this tragic time. It is so true that immense pain can bring us so much closer to faith and truth. I lost my mom last fall and feel the pain and heart tugging of loss daily still. I will pray for comfort for their family as they move forward, even when it feels so hard to take any steps at all.

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