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A Limited Perspective

Today’s UP CLOSE:Death and Dying post comes from Connie Boyd.  Connie Boyd is the mother of six grown children and six grandchildren. Since her children live from coast to coast and north to south, she is fond of travelling. She also enjoys religious research, church service, swimming and writing. Connie teaches eighth grade science in Worcester, Massachusetts, but is soon to retire. Born in Brigham City, Utah, she moved to Saginaw, Michigan when she was four years old. She began her undergraduate studies at Utah State University and later transferred to the University of Michigan where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree. She received her Master’s Degree in education from Cambridge College. Her husband of forty two years died March 2, 2009.CBoydSegullah

Six months ago my beloved husband of forty-two years died unexpectedly. His heart simply stopped beating. He was not in pain, as cupping water in your hands, his spirit simply slipped away. The event is still so near, my perspective is probably limited. Death counselors say that grief has several expressions: shock, loneliness and sorrow, confusion, guilt and anger. I have yet to experience many of them. My overall emotion was, and remains, deep gratitude that I even knew this wonderful man, that I shared a great portion of his life and that I have the prospects of eternity with him. My list of gratitude grows longer each day: gratitude for family, thankfulness for friends who so willingly and constantly offer help and deep appreciation for the gospel teachings and the constant comfort from the Holy Spirit.

With all that, however, comes the waiting period. Unlike my cat that waits impatiently for me to feed him, I want my waiting period to be less grumpy and more fruitful but not manically busy. I want to live the rest of my life to be worthy of his eternal companionship.

 

Having the life portion of my time with my husband somewhat over, much mental time is full of reflection. I say “somewhat” because I have experienced his presence. Since I do not know the protocol in the afterlife, I assumed communication with the deceased is granted by permission of God through Jesus Christ. I most often go to my Heavenly Father in prayer asking him to tell my husband how much I love him, how I hope he is happy or that I need my husband’s help.

But there have been times – even very simple times – when I needed my husband’s help and called out to him directly. The first was this summer. Our family gathered, as we always have, at our cottage in Michigan. Several of my sons and their children were going waterskiing and I was taking care of two-year old Morley. By chance, Morley saw his family leaving on the boat and immediately began crying. The usual techniques were not working and his crying did not abate. Without thinking, I called to my husband, “George, I can’t do this.” Immediately, and without apparent reason, Morley stopped crying and we played quietly for several hours until the skiers returned. This and other simple experiences have given me more confidence that we are still sharing time together.

Since I am still so close to my loss and don’t know if I will ever feel it less, I can only share a limited perspective. Choose joy in living with any loved one. Enjoy the way they smell, the way they fold their hands, their hairline, the details of their physical bodies. Slow it all down. Cherish simple things and small acts of kindness to your loved ones: a foot massage, air drying sheets, planning meals, walking together, pillow talk, forgiving, a wink or meaningful glances gleaned through sharing life experiences.

Choose beauty with loved ones. Think of your time together as if making pictures of your days, for they will remain with you as such. Observe the details, the background, the feelings when you are in the space and time together. If you don’t like the picture or the attitude, change it. Lastly, dwell on the positive you will be grateful you did. These are your moments in time and even the worst of times can be the best of times.

30 thoughts on “A Limited Perspective”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Connie. I especially loved this reminder:

    "Choose joy in living with any loved one. Enjoy the way they smell, the way they fold their hands, their hairline, the details of their physical bodies. Slow it all down."

    I'm going to live life in slow motion today, savoring every detail.

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  2. Thank you soooo much! We are so fortunate to be reminded to live in the present.

    Talking to the dead and asking for their help: I do it all the time, esp with my grandma. I think it wouldn't work, if Heavenly Father didn't approve and allow it.

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  3. CONNIE!!! I love you~
    I've looked up to you and admired you, for years. This post is so touching.
    Thank you for the reminder–I should read this each morning as I start my day. And then throughout the day as I find myself frustrated with the little things.
    Thank you for your wisdom and example!
    XOXOXO

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  4. Thanks for the reminder to cherish the time we have with our loved ones. I enjoyed your account of calling out to your husband for help as you tended your grandchild. Today, I called out to my Heavenly Father for help before I attended church. My heart was very heavy, and I needed an answer to a troubling question. The answer came as a woman answered a question in Relief Society, as another woman spoke to me in the hall, and as a child spoke during the Primary program. I feel richly blessed.

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  5. This was a lovely post. I'm going to savor my loved ones today. Thank you for sharing your insights. I wish you continued peace and comfort during this tender period.

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  6. Connie, I love you. I have always loved your happy, fun-loving personality, and think about how you laugh at mistakes and love the "living every moment" part of your life. I will strive to slow it down. I will cherish the small things and strive to enjoy the moment more. Beautiful post.

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  7. I love this post, and I am going to take time to enjoy the time with my husband more. One thing is for sure. If I go after he does, I will be talking to him. We are just too connected for it to end with death.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, and I hope you continue to receive comfort as you prepare for eternity with your husband.

    =)

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  8. What a wonderful attitude in the face of your loss. Your perspective may be limited, but it is nevertheless a beautiful one. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. what a beautiful post! what a lovely relationship. what excellent advice. i hope i can implement it in my life. thank you for sharing yourself (and george) with us. what a blessing to have your perspective. ♥

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  10. Beautiful post, Connie. Thank you for sharing. (I have heard many great things about you and your husband from people who know you). I really appreciate you sharing the view from another place in the journey. This was a beautiful reminder to cherish what we have in each moment. You have taken something difficult and used to teach and bless others in helping them to be more appreciative of their relationships and the things that make life so rich and meaningful.

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  11. Dear friend,
    Time has a way of being in control.
    I remember our walks, our talks and neither of us were ever in mind where you are now. You walk it so well and with such grace. We who will follow are more grateful to you than you will ever know.
    I love you.
    Priscilla

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  12. Beautiful thoughts and beatiful attitude, Connie. We met in Traverse City, MI a few months ago. We were serving a mission there. (We're home in Utah now.)We ate potluck lunch with you at the church. You were contemplating building a home on the peninsula. I am so sorry for your loss. God bless you.

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  13. I know that, when the Lord sees fit, the veil can be thin on our behalf!

    One morning, I had run out of ideas, and strength as to how to get one of my children up for school.

    I started to pray, then remembered that my recently passed away grandma had worked with difficult children as her career.

    I asked Heavenly Father if He couldn't send Grandma to give that child a proverbial kick in the pants :-).

    Sure enough, moments later, that child was up, smiling, and ready for school with no further effort on my part.

    I felt then and know now that Heavenly Father sent Grandma in answer to my prayer that morning!!! It was a sacred, sweet testimony of God's (and Grandma's) love for me & my sleepy head!

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  14. I read this post in the afternoon and the lovely words lingered with me all day. My last child is leaving on a mission in five weeks and your words made me more conscious of cherishing every moment with him. Thanks for sharing such tender thoughts with us…

    I also appreciated the vignette of Faith without Fear. Thanks for sharing that sweet experience with us.

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  15. Lovely post. I often wonder about how our loved ones are involved in our lives from the other side of the veil. My grandmas have been so present in my present life; I have to believe they are aware, and maybe even helping me. I don't have the gift of knowing how or when, but the doctrine is there that the spirit world is not far, and that we are connected.

    Elder Holland said this almost in passing, but it jumped out at me:

    Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel.

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  16. This post is lovely and so true. I have replayed these same thoughts in my mind time and time again since I lost my mother- always trying to recall the sound of her laugh, the feel of her skin, the flourishes of her handwriting (which I always teased her about.) Sometimes it pains me to search the archives of my brain for these details- other times it comforts me greatly.

    I have found an enormous source of peace and comfort to be lingering on the faces of my siblings and my own children. More than ever I can distinguish the features and mannerisms in them that were once so characteristic of my mother. My youngest daughter is named after her. She was born less than a year after my mother passed. She bites her tongue when she concentrates in the exact way my mother always did. She rubs her thumb and index finger together as a nervous habit just like my mother. She wraps her arms around her grandfather's (my father's) neck and showers him with adoring kisses- just like my mother. I can't help but imagine the two of them meeting briefly somewhere beyond the veil and exchanging notes. I cannot imagine a more beautiful scenario. This is my comfort.

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  17. I LOVE You Connie – from the moment I first met you…many years ago. You magnify wisdom and beauty and I admire you for that. You have always been such a wonderful example in my life and I continue to cherish you. I am still so saddened by the loss of sweet, gentle George. When you talk to him…please tell him how much I miss him. Thank you for this beautiful post. For that simple reminder to slow down and enjoy life to the fullest. To find joy in our journey! You are an amazing and beautiful woman. xoxo

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  18. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    In the temple recently while pleading with God for help with an ongoing trial, I was hit with a wall of emotion as the spirit witnessed to me that there are many who love me and wait with aid on the other side of the veil. They are a constant source of comfort and strength that I should recognize more often. Their love is not gone, as you show so well, it is eternal and can continue to help us in our mortal sphere.

    What a sacred and sensitive topic. thank you.

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  19. That is beautiful, thank you for sharing and best of luck as you continue forward. I love that you know our life is not over and you want to find joy in it, not just wait for it to end. I'm sure he is very proud of you.

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  20. Connie, that was really touching and tender. I'm sure tears were streaming down your face, as you've passed them on to me. I am thankful that you are my mother's best friend. She loves you dearly, as do her daughters. We're all thankful for your wise perspective on eternity, and your sweet spirit we share during mortality.

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  21. Very touching and tender, but I have to wonder how extensively in denial it all is.

    THIS life is the important one. Looking forward to rewards in the next life is a way to waste this one.

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  22. Thank you for that perspective, you never know when the last day with a loved one will be. The advice was thought provoking. I thought about how my family might not have a perfect mom nor my husband a perfect wife, but I am doing better these days cherishing those sweet family moments. I also thought I should totally hire a maid in case I died and my husband's future wife rocked at cleaning houses and all he remembered about his life with me was how messy the house was. D'oh!

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  23. Thank you for this post. I fought with my husband today and then prayed for enlightenment or something that would help me cherish him rather than focus on his faults.
    This was it. Thank you.

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