Archive for April, 2013

Accepting His Will

I honestly figured I was finished writing this blog when 2013 came around.  It felt like there was nothing left to write about and no one needed to hear about our experiences or grief any longer.  But for some reason, the last few weeks, I’ve felt like I should write what I’ve been feeling.  Maybe my feelings are more tender right now, where it is coming up on the one-year anniversary of Tyler’s death…I’m not sure.  This week last year was the beginning of everything really going south for Tyler.  This weekend last year was the first time he entered the hospital after vomiting blood.  We were there every weekend after this until he passed away.  I am really wishing that June would just hurry up and get here and maybe the unpleasant memories would go away with it.

Things have felt a little upside-down in 2013 – Our family has had so many changes to weather the past 23 months.  Last spring, when I finally faced the reality that we would lose Tyler to this disease, I only thought of having him away from our family for this life and the pain his absence would cause.  I did not ever realize all the ramifications it would have on our family.  Everything changed…mostly relationships, both with family and friends.  I had heard that from others who had lost someone dear to them, but realize now how true it is.  It is truly peculiar how ‘vulnerable’ it feels in public and how home is truly a ‘safe’ zone, although painful memories abide here too.  Sometimes it feels like there is nowhere to hide.

Both Darren and I have spent much time wrestling with the ‘whys’ of Tyler leaving us.  There were so many things that made our family feel like Tyler would be the one who would finally win this unbeatable diagnosis.  I have wondered if I should share some pretty tender experiences we had when Tyler was first diagnosed, but decided that in order for some to understand why, they would need some information about some sacred experiences we have had.

In July of 2011, about two months after Ty’s diagnosis, we were blessed to have President Henry B. Eyring come to our home and visit with Tyler and our family.  There will never be words to explain his visit and the love that existed in our home that night.  President Eyring offered to give Tyler a blessing and invited Darren, my father, and my son-in-law to stand with him in giving this blessing.  I listened intently to every word and clung to everything he said, fully waiting and expecting him to command Tyler to be whole and clean from this disease.  It was one of the most beautiful blessings I have ever witnessed, but there was no pronouncement of healing-only of peace.   He did, however, tell Tyler that the Lord had allowed this to happen to ‘strengthen the faith of the youth’.  My heart leapt.  If the faith of the youth was to be strengthened, Tyler would have to beat this disease!  How could faith be strengthened if the cancer took him from this life?  From then on, I was sure we were in for a mighty battle, but Tyler would ultimately overcome…then everyone would know that the Lord had healed him from this awful disease.  I don’t know why I felt like I had the authority to interpret or tell the Lord what the outcome would be…but nevertheless, I did.

From that moment on, I did my best to share his battle on the blog, because I would do my part to help ‘strengthen faith’ if it would save my son.  As spring rolled around last year and we started to be told that things were getting worse and to begin preparing for the worst, I wondered when our mighty miracle was going to come – the one that would ‘strengthen the faith’.   Oh, how I have much to learn…

Sweet Becky Anderson did such a wonderful job speaking at Tyler’s funeral, helping those to see that their fasting and prayers did change lives.  Her words really helped to strengthen their faith.  Tyler had come to earth and completed exactly what he came to accomplish.  To read her amazing talk, click here –Written talk from Tyler’s funeral.  Reading it over and over has brought much comfort to my aching heart.

Recently, Elder David A. Bednar gave a talk at a CES fireside and his words completely spoke to my heart.  He told about a young man who was diagnosed with bone cancer just three weeks after he was married.  Elder Bednar visited this young couple in the hospital and was preparing to give him a blessing and felt prompted to ask him this question:  “Do you have the faith not to be healed?  If it is the will of our Heavenly Father that you are transferred by death in your youth to the spirit world to continue your ministry, do you have the faith to submit to His will and not be healed?”

Wow!  I had NEVER, ever thought of exercising faith this way.  I thought if my faith was strong enough that I could change Heavenly Father’s mind and He would heal Tyler.  If our family, friends, and the community, who had been such a strength and support to us, had enough faith, would not the Lord surely decide He should heal my son?  Elder Bednar continued, “…we increasingly understood that if God’s will were for this good young man to be healed, then that blessing could only be received if this valiant couple first had the faith not to be healed.  In other words, John and Heather needed to overcome, through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the ‘natural man’ tendency in all of us to demand impatiently and insist incessantly on the blessings we want and believe we deserve.”

I felt very humbled after listening to this.  I knew this was exactly what I had been doing – “insisting incessantly on the blessings I felt I deserved”.    Even ten months after Ty’s death, I was still wrestling with ‘why’ and ‘did we not have enough faith?’.  I can tell you that Tyler wasn’t a part of this struggle – up until the very end, he was completely at peace with what was happening and tried continually to comfort us.  He would continually reassure us that it was all as it should have been.  There was never a question in his mind as to why he wasn’t healed.  He knew he had completed his earthly mission.

So I suppose one of the things I am working on learning is changing my pleadings to ‘please give me the faith to accept whatever outcome Thou hast planned for me’.   I have no idea what the Lord has planned for me, or for the rest of my family, but I need to have faith that if I do all that I can do, He truly will do the rest, according to His will.  And His will is exactly what I need to strive to accept.  I will continue trying to work on this.

I guess what I am trying to get across in this post is that I, like Elder Bednar, do not know everything about the Lord’s timing and why some are healed and some are not.  But this I do know, that Tyler lives.  We will once again be reunited with him and see that million-dollar smile.  Oh, how I look forward to the day when our family can stand together again and there will be no pain and suffering any longer.  I hope those of you who are suffering with pain and challenges that feel beyond your understanding can find peace in accepting the Lord’s will for you.  Someday, through Him, all things will be made right.  Of this I am sure.

To listen to Elder Bednar’s amazing talk, click here.


President and Sister Eyring and Tyler

There's the smile we can't wait to see again!