I have been surprised that many of my greatest blessings have come after my greatest trials. One example is Amelia receiving the epiphany to marry me as I wept over a failed statistics exam in my MBA program.
Amelia’s passing has been one of my greatest trials, but it is yielding great blessings in lessons learned. My thoughts are prompted by a BYU Alumni Magazine article, Healing=Courage+Action+Grace, by Jonathan G. Sandberg.
What is healing? Elaine Marshall, a professor of nursing at BYU, shares, “On [my] first day as a nurse, I assumed cure, care, and healing to be synonymous. I have learned they are not the same. Healing is not cure. Cure is clean, quick, and done—often under anesthesia. . . . Healing, however, is often a lifelong process of recovery and growth in spite of, maybe because of, enduring physical, emotional, or spiritual assault. It requires time. . . .”
The healing process has proceeded swiftly because of the love, support, kindness, and generosity of family, friends, and many of you. I apologize for not being able to personally thank the expressions of sympathy, support, and kindness I have received. Please know that each act of kindness has buoyed me up.
While Amelia was ill, I suffered a small tear to my rotator cuff. At the time it hurt to put on a shirt and certain movements were severely limited with great pain, but after things had settled down I visited my doctor who prescribed physical therapy. As I have faithfully followed the exercises, I have no question that I will regain full mobility and the muscles will be stronger than before the tear.
And so it is with healing from the loss of a loved one; the healing can bring growth and development that results in the person becoming stronger. I have experienced such change that has taken time and energy and brought about the realization that the loving God I believe in allows suffering to enable me to grow, develop, and progress.
What blessings have I learned?
- That we can find comfort through the peaceable things of the spirit. When I was growing up, my parents owned a restaurant/motel business that necessitated their working 14 hour days. I remember the three youngest kids huddled around the TV watching “Twilight Zone,” and being afraid to go to bed at night. It wasn’t a problem because I had family, then roommates, and then Amelia, but when she would leave for as long as 6 weeks helping with premature grandchildren, I would rest fitfully, hearing the creaking of the house.
After Amelia’s passing, I was dreading the two-day gap between family leaving after having completed preparations for the memorial service and out-of-country family arriving for the memorial service. Those two nights and every night since then I have slept comfortably, which I attribute to Amelia being a guardian angel.
- How great is the love of family and friends. From Amelia’s passing have come strengthened relationships that temper the loss. We move forward in faith and as a family have started a tradition of destination vacations that will allow us to grow with each other. Amelia’s memory and love is always present.
With faith, friends, and family I have been blessed to move forward, knowing that I will see Amelia, the calm center of my life, again. I know that she would want me to have the courage to continue to grow and to be strengthened for myself and my family. This desire to be the best that she would have wanted me to be has invigorated my work, my relationships, and my service. I have challenged myself to do the difficult things such as work out consistently, maintain relationships with children and grandchildren, and to look up not down. It is a time of contemplation, anticipation, and high expectation.
May I close with a personal thought: when Amelia and I faced the battle of her pancreatic cancer, we prayed that the pain and suffering would be lightened. Little did we realize that indeed the pain and suffering were miraculously lightened, but we experienced great growth through increased capacity – increased capacity to love, to endure, and to understand the suffering of others. We love God and have been richly blessed, but we came to understand at a much deeper level the significance of God’s grace and His mercy. This lesson was worth the trials we were, and have been asked to bear.
Many of you have experienced similar circumstances either personally or through your clients. May you, and they, find healing and renewed courage in the lessons you learn, and may we all be better for the trials we face.
Ted H. Ong