Monday, July 13, 2015

The Power of Death

As a part of my goal to memorize more poems this year - I have recently memorized a poem entitled "Death Be Not Proud" by John Donne.  It basically talks about how Death shouldn't think that it has any power, because it is a temporary situation and that eventually we will all live forever and "death, thou shalt die".

While I understand deeply that this is truly the case in our eternal perspective, lately I have been feeling that there may be a power in death that I hadn't contemplated before.
And that power is the power to draw families together.

Just the other night at work, there was a patient that began to experience some life-threatening events. I was in the room with her and her nurse and was able to hold her body in my hands as her spirit tried to leave it. We worked hard and quick and got her back. She was on the brink of death, but fought to stay. Maybe not by choice, but after a few good sternal rubs and coaxing to consciousness.

After the adrenaline abated from the situation and after being able to ponder on it - the things that most stood out in my mind were the looks of concern and love on the faces of the family members as the reality of the mortality of their loved one sunk in. I saw the family literally being drawn closer together.

Again today as I was able to sit in the Tabernacle on Temple Square and listen to the messages shared from the pulpit and from the heart at President Packer's funeral, I was able to witness something very special. It was something similar to what I have felt at other funerals I have been to. It was like watching the literal "drawing in" together of the families of the deceased person.

Boyd K. Packer's son shared a simple and beautiful message of the truthfulness of the things that his father had spent his life teaching to others. I loved how he spoke in terms that were easy to understand for even a young child or a non member, as he explained the temporary separation of body and spirit that occurs at death.

When he spoke directly to the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, it was like a huge warm blanket of peace and love were being wrapped around all of his posterity.

It is ironic to think about, but for those few brief moments at a funeral, there is likely  100% of your progenitors together as a captive audience and focused on listening and feeling the spirit, and that is the ONE THING that I imagine every parent wants most in life, and it is the ONE MOMENT that they cannot (physically) be there.

At one point in the funeral, the speaker mentioned the eternal union between President and Sister Packer. At the exact same moment, all of the couples sitting near me, to my left, right, and in front of me simultaneously grabbed the hand of their spouse and held it tight. It was almost like they had rehearsed that moment to perform it in unison! A beautiful feeling shot through me when I witnessed that scene. It was even more families being drawn together. It was love and it was truth and it was light, and I basked in it!

Yes, while I know that death has no lasting power on our eternal souls, it does have a seeming power of uniting that I am becoming more cognizant of and grateful for.