A few years ago, my 16-year-old daughter, Kaylee, was killed in an automobile accident. In an instant, my worst nightmare became a living reality. Kaylee was the youngest child of five. She was outgoing, bold, sensitive, loving, and genuine. She was the joy of our lives.
That dark day became the beginning of a long journey. I felt as though the life I had known was ripped away from me. I prayed continually, searched for answers, and pleaded for strength. However, the darkness surrounded me, and I sank deep into sorrow and grief. The intensity was unlike anything I had felt before. I felt incapable of dealing with what was now my reality.
I searched every book and article for help in dealing with the death of a teenage child. But I could find nothing that related to me. I took this personally and felt that maybe I just wasn’t important. After all, how could a loving Heavenly Father take someone from me whom I loved so much? He surely knew how deeply I would grieve her loss and that it would be far too much to ask of me.
I realized that I would not pass this critical test if I did not take a giant leap of faith. Only a few weeks following her death, my husband and I were set apart to be ordinance workers in the temple. It was the only thing that felt right. It did not instantly bring peace or take away the pain, but it did, however, give me a place where I felt loved and safe. Serving in the temple helped me see that the Savior was there to comfort me, lift me, take my hand, and guide me minute by minute. The words of my favorite scriptures were never truer than they were now:
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. …
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:18, 27).
We can talk of Christ, but it is very different to walk with Christ. The only way for me to survive this trial was to walk with Him every day. I needed to stay focused on Heavenly Father’s and the Savior’s love and ability to succor me. I had to believe that I do matter and that the Lord can and will make up for all that I am lacking. Only then could I truly turn my broken, fragile heart to Him.
I believe that He feels my pain and sorrow and is willing to mourn with me, to understand my deepest emotions and feelings of loss. Every day I pray to Heavenly Father to be able to give my heart to Him, to trust Him, and to allow Him to heal me.
This journey is lifelong as I will yearn for and miss Kaylee every day, and the walk will never be easy. But I know in whom I can trust and with whom I can walk to guide me along my journey.