Rose sitting on a headstone

Comprehending Death

When my friend Malori passed away, my beliefs about life after death were put to the test. Did I really believe in the spirit world?

Hooded person looking across a cold beach. Text overlay reads, "The hurt is real. Only its intensity varies. . . . Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love." by President Russell M. Nelson

photo by Patryk Sobczak

We all will eventually face the reality of losing a loved one. Until recently, though, I had never had to experience that pain. It was more difficult than I had anticipated: I can’t accurately describe how I felt when I heard that an accident had taken the life of my friend Malori. Shock. Disbelief. I couldn’t breathe. And then waves of emotions came all at once: happiness from memories, regrets of not spending more time together, and the uneasy uncertainty of how life could go on without her.

Friends and family comforted me, but I was still sad. My greatest source of peace came from a general conference talk given by President Russell M. Nelson called “Doors of Death.” Regarding the sadness I was experiencing, President Nelson said, “Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love.” I had never realized that our sadness and mourning are evidence of our love for those who die.

It doesn’t matter how much loss we experience; the pain and emptiness of death are hard. But God offers us peace as we seek to maintain an eternal perspective. As President Nelson teaches, our understanding of the plan of salvation can help us comprehend the need for physical death. A greater understanding of post-mortal life, resurrection, and immortality helps to ease the sting of temporary separation.

“We need not look upon death as an enemy,” says President Nelson. “With full understanding and preparation, faith supplants fear. Hope displaces despair.” While we must say goodbye to our loved ones now, we know that it is through the grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we can look forward to a joyful reunion. It is hard to comprehend the temporary separation. I miss getting uplifting messages from Malori or sitting together talking about her future plans with her fiancé, Sean. But I know that Christ will lift the burden of pain that death causes. He has made it possible for me to have that joyful reunion.

Read or watch President Nelson’s talk “Doors of Death.”

Source: LDS General Conference

—Karee Brown, Mormon Insights

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Find more insights

Recommended scriptures: 1 Corinthians 2:9, Ecclesiastes 12:7, Psalms 116:15, 2 Nephi 9:13, Alma 40:23.

Watch a young man share his experience of losing members of his family in a car accident and how he found hope for the future.

Hear how others have found peace in the gospel of Jesus Christ during hard times of their lives in “Mountains to Climb,” a Mormon Message about enduring through trials.

Experience a young man’s feelings of guilt and grief from losing his best friend in the video, “He Will Give You Help.”

Read Elder M. Russell Ballard’s experience about how the atonement helped in the healing process after one of his grandsons passed away.

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  1. I love this article! Death is hard to deal with, especially when someone close to us dies. I know that those who die can still be with us in spirit. Thank you for the sweet article!

  2. Tatiana Hernandez

    This is a great post for the upcoming Easter season. Truly we have a reason to say, “Hallelujah”–we get to see our loved ones again. Thanks for sharing your experience and your testimony. As J.K. Rowling said through Dumbledore, “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” The death of a loved one is, I’m sure, definitely one of the hardest things we will have to handle. But thankfully we have the gospel to comfort and strengthen us.

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