I’ve contemplated for some time what, if anything, I would say at Hope’s funeral. Obviously, these have been a challenging few days recently, and certainly a challenging few months from the time we learned of our daughter’s problems. The trials and challenges of life unexpectedly come to us. The hymn Master the Tempest is Raging (#105) describes my feelings:
- Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today
The depths of my sad heart are troubled. Oh waken and save, I pray!
I perish dear Master. Oh, hasten and take control!
And then, follows the solution to life’s challenges and problems – turn to the Savior and His atonement. “He will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor [or help] his people.” (Alma 7:12) The song continues:
- The winds and the waves shall obey thy will: Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will: Peace, be still; peace be still
The Lord teaches us to “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10, D&C 101:16). Whatever torrents of life swirl about us or waves crash over us, we can turn to the Savior. The Atonement of Christ is miraculous and wonderful. It is through Him that I find peace and comfort at this time of grieving and sorrow.
While our time with Hope was limited, I strive to focus on the joy. I remember clearly the first time Marinda placed my hand on her womb and I felt Hope kick! How exciting that was – to interact with my daughter for the first time!
Early Saturday morning Hope entered the world and I was able to interact with her again. How thrilling to see her little face and then hear her tiny cry! I had looked forward to this event for quite some time and suddenly there was her voice! I was overjoyed!
My father, who arrived from Idaho with my family shortly after her birth, wrote the following:
- “What an experience to hold her, look at her and feel her hair. She had a small mouth, long fingers and legs, lots of dark hair and a perfect face. Hope is so sweet and innocent, a perfect spirit. What a special experience. Just from heaven to this earth to receive a body and fulfill her brief mortal existence… Living less than one hour and yet making such an impact on her loving family. I will always remember and cherish the wonderful time with Hope. I look forward to the time to meet and greet her again in the life hereafter where our time will be eternal. She is so special with a very strong spiritual presence about her. “ - David Wessman
For me, the most difficult times come as I see events in life play out and I yearn to have that experience with Hope. To hear a baby cry, see children run through the grass, comfort a child in pain, or build a sandcastle together at the beach. While Hope and I won’t have those experiences together in this life, I find comfort and strength in the words of prophets.
The ancient prophet Moroni wrote his father’s words “…Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him...” Moroni 7:41
‘Ye shall have [H]ope through the atonement of Christ!’ What a blessing this is. Marinda and I shall be reunited with our daughter through the atonement of Christ. The Holy Spirit testifies of the truthfulness of this. I have felt this sweet confirmation from God. I testify that through the atonement of Christ and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, our families can be eternal. Heavenly Father extends that offer to each of us, it is now up to us to reach out and receive the blessing. Hope provides a tremendous incentive for Marinda and I to live such that we can return to our Father’s presence and be with our wonderful daughter.
When the tempest of life threatens to sink our ship, we turn to Christ and His miraculous atonement and find peace, joy, and eternal life. It is through Him and His holy ordinances of the temple that I know I will be with my daughter again, even forever as an eternal family. In this I find joy and of this I testify, in the name of the Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.