Monday, May 27, 2013

Our first Memorial Day (2013)

Well, another "first" is behind us. Memorial Day 2013. Once again, this was a rough day, which was frustrating at first because I feel like I should be getting used to these days. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was a "first". I needed to let myself figure this day out just like all the other holidays/ anniversaries. 

I figured out earlier this weekend that there were going to be some new emotions this weekend. People started posting about all their loved ones they were remembering and I guess my feelings were raw from that first post. The subject was so "in your face" and I felt like I couldn't escape it. I was also overcome with feelings of sympathy for every picture I saw of someone' loved-one.  There were so many people who had suffered...and these thoughts continued with me throughout this day as well. 

I was especially struck by the sheer number of flowers in the cemetery today.  For some reason, it just seemed like way more than I remember seeing on this day in years past.  I decided it was because I have been to the cemetery more often this year NOT on Memorial Day and I recognize the huge difference.  I was also struck by it because I knew that each placement of a flower meant there was someone out there that was thinking/missing the person they were honoring with the flowers.  I couldn't help but think of the vastness of sorrow and grief that this world endures. 

As I pondered this, I remembered a passage in the book I am reading right now: "The Infinite Atonement."  I loved this visual that Elder Callister gives to help us understand the depth of suffering the Savior had to endure during the Atonement:

What weight is thrown on the scales of pain when calculating the hurt of innumerable hospitals?  Now, add to that the loneliness of the elderly who are forgotten in the rest homes of society, desperately yearning for a card, a visit, a call-just some recognition from the outside world.  Keep on adding the hurt of hungry children, the suffering caused by famine, drought, and pestilence.  Pile on the heartache of parents who tearfully plead on a daily basis for a wayward son or daughter to come back home.  Factor in the trauma of every divorce and the tragedy of every abortion.  Add the remorse that comes with each child lost in the dawn of life, each spouse taken in the prime of marriage.  Compound that with the misery of overflowing prisons, bulging halfway houses and institutions for the mentally disadvantaged.  Multiply all this by the century after century of history, and creation after creation without end.  Such is but an awful glimpse of the Savior's load.  Who can bear such a burden or scale such a mountain as this?  No one, absolutely no one, save Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of  us all.  (pg. 105)

I felt a small increase in my understanding as I stood at the grave of my little son and glanced across the vast cemetery decorations surrounding us.  Then, I thought about the number of cemeteries in the world, and the number of unmarked graves on the battlefields throughout the history of the world.  Suddenly, I was overcome with gratitude for my Savior.  I know that the pain I have felt the past 3 months has been almost more than I can bare, but my Savior has suffered it for all of us and more. 

Because of the greatness of the Atonement, the pain I feel does not have to be so painful.  Among the pain of missing little Joshua, there is an undercurrent of peace...peace that because of my Savior, my broken heart will indeed be made whole, my family will live together again, and there is someone out there who understands my ache.  

This is my testimony on this Memorial Day.  The cemetery will be a place of great joy on the morning of the Resurrection.  The tears of sorrow that I shed today will be tears of joy.  Oh, how great my Savior truly is.  
Thank you to everyone who left flowers for Joshua! We were so happy with the way the plot looked. 

 Saying "hi" to Grandma and Grandpa Ipson...Joshua's "neighbors"

We also got to visit Joshua's little cousin Kate, who passed away 6 years ago.  We think they are friends in heaven right now :) 


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Joshua Kent Ipson was born December 1, 2012 with a very complicated combination of congenital heart defects. After 2 1/2 months of fighting for his life, he passed away on February 13, 2013. We invite you to share our experiences as we grieve his loss, rejoice in God's plan, & keep Joshua's message of hope alive.
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