Yesterday, Haily and I held a graveside service for our stillborn son, Eric Collin Warren. I thought I would share the talk I gave.
Over the past two weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the love and support our friends and family have shown us. From the simple heartfelt act of letting us know how sorry they are for us, to those who have offered a shoulder to cry upon, to the Relief Society sisters in our home ward who watched McKenna and Adrian and provided meals, to the selfless acts of service from ones who offered without hesitation. I know that despite being so far away, we have felt your love and we thank you for sacrificing your time and warm homes to be with us this morning.
I told Haily the other day that, while I did not have the bonding experience with our son that she did through her pregnancy, my love for little Eric came full force once I say his little body. I instantly felt both an instant love and the deepest sorrow I've ever known in that one moment. I've since found comfort in the words of the scriptures and the prophets.
The Psalmist tells us the Lord knows us before our birth. "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." (Psalms 139:14-16)
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma tells us "The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame" (Alma 40:23)
And in the Doctrine and Covenants, our Savior said "For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; And not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand." (D&C 29:24-25).
President Joseph Fielding Smith gave it as his opinion that these little ones would receive a resurrection and belong to us. Brigham Young taught that a baby's movements are those of the spirit's entering the body, preparatory to the immortal existence. With modern technology, we know that a beating heart, which is movement, begins in the first month of live. If their opinions were correct, then the tiniest of babies would be eligible for the resurrection. (I found this beautiful thought on this blog, which discusses a mother's loss following the stillbirth of her child.)
Never before have the principles of the resurrection and the atonement mattered as much to me as they do now. I know that we will be reunited as a family again. Until that time, he rests here with his Great-Grandfather, and works with both Jay and his Great-Grandpa Bratton in the next life. We will know him and see him there.
A favorite song comes to mind, with some revisions.
"Well it's hard to say goodbye, and let go, and it's hard to see it end
When the few memories we have made, can never happen again.
But it's harder for time to ever erase the together time we shared
And though we're apart, we'll remember all the love we've shared together
And for all that love, we'll thank the Lord above who showed us the way
That we could be together, forever someday.
We can be together, forever someday.
We will be together, forever someday.
(Together, Forever, Michael McLean, alterations by Eric Warren)
Our Heavenly Father has promised that we will be together, forever. I know that we will embrace our son and he will welcome us in his arms. Until then, we will remember him in our hearts and continue to love him.
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