“Did you see Elisabeth at school today?” I asked my little brother as he came into the kitchen.
“She wasn’t there,” he said. “Our teacher said she’s sick again.”
“Hmm, that’s strange,” Mom said. “She’s been sick a lot lately.”
Elisabeth was in my brother’s first-grade class. She was also in our ward. When her family first moved in, I was excited because we had almost the same name—my name is Elizabeth with a z. Even though I was a few years older, we became good friends. I always said hi to her at church, and we liked to play at ward activities. But she had been sick lately, and we didn’t know what was wrong.
My mom called Elisabeth’s mom. “I heard Elisabeth wasn’t at school again today,” Mom said. “Is she sick? Is there something we can do to help?”
As Mom listened, tears started falling down her cheeks. “Well,” she said, “let us know how we can help. We will be praying for you.”
She hung up the phone and told us, “Elisabeth has a brain tumor. She is very sick, and she will have to go to the hospital for special treatments.”
As the days passed, Mom told us more about Elisabeth’s sickness. She said the chemotherapy and radiation treatments would make Elisabeth very weak. Elisabeth would lose her hair, and she wouldn’t be able to go to school or church very often.
After Elisabeth’s first few treatments, she felt better quickly and was able to play again. But then her treatments got longer and harder, so she couldn’t play as much. She started losing her hair and had to have tubes put in her body to feed her and keep her well. She tried to be happy, but I could tell it was hard sometimes.
I wanted to help Elisabeth feel better, so my sister and I gave her a cute pink hat and a pretty red dress.
But Elisabeth didn’t get better. After a year she started to get worse. The treatments didn’t help her anymore, and she often had to stay home. It made me sad that she was so little and losing weight.
Mom said she might not survive the cancer. I had never known anyone my age who had died before. It didn’t seem possible that Elisabeth could die.
One Sunday at dinner, Dad said, “Elisabeth is not doing well today. She probably won’t live much longer. We want everyone to pray for her to not have any more pain.”
In my heart I prayed to Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father, Elisabeth is my friend. Please take away her pain.
Later that night the phone rang. My dad told us that Elisabeth had passed away.
I ran to my room and cried. I knew she would be all right and that Heavenly Father would take care of her, but I would miss her. I didn’t understand why she had to die.
Later I saw a picture Elisabeth had drawn when she was sick. It said, “Elisabeth is happy all the time.”
Even though I still cried sometimes because I missed my friend, I knew that death is not the end. In the next life, we will meet with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again. And when we get to be with Them, we will have happiness and peace, and all our pain and sadness will be gone.
I know I will see Elisabeth again. And I know that she is happy because “Elisabeth is happy all the time.”
Thanks Be to God
“For the Atonement of the Lord and His gift of resurrection … thanks be to God!”
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Thanks Be to God,” Ensign, May 2012, 78.