Chapter 15, Mothers Hear their Babies Cry

And so do Fathers.

In September of 2014, a few weeks after Lorna passed away, I was attending a regional conference being broadcast to our stake center. Elder Russell M. Nelson was presiding. As his wife Wendy Nelson was speaking, I heard a baby cry. My thought was “if there were one hundred babies in a room and their mothers were in a different room doing something that required their attentiveness, the mother whose baby cried would hear that cry. The other ninety nine probably would not.”

President Joseph F. Smith

Sometimes the Lord expands our vision from this point of view and this side of the veil . . . And we would understand that those who have passed beyond, can see more clearly through the veil back here to us than it is possible for us to see them from our sphere of action.

 I believe we  move and have our being in the presence heavily messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them.  We begin to realize more and more fully, as we become acquainted with the principles of the Gospel, as they have been revealed anew in this dispensation, that we are closely related to those who have preceded us into the spirit world. We cannot forget them; we not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus are associated and united to them by ties that we cannot break, that we cannot dissolve or free ourselves from.

And therefore, I claim that we live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us; they can comprehend better than ever before, the weaknesses that are liable to mislead us into dark and forbidden paths. They see the temptations and evils that beset us in life and the proneness of mortal beings to yield to temptation and wrong doing; hence their solicitude for us and their love for us and they desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.

I believe that love is unconditional and without judgment. They understand the game we are playing, that our opponents are a fallen nature, and a fallen angel.

Elder Charles A. Callis , Quorum of the Twelve, 1933-1947

Death does not congeal the lips of those who go before us; they are not far from us, and they help us more than we know.

In “The Family. A Proclamation to the World”: Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.

The passing of a mother or father does not abdicate their responsibility “to love and care…” The most important people in their lives are their families. “They are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever.”  The word solicitous means full of anxiety and concern, showing hovering attentiveness.

A few weeks after Lorna’s funeral, while driving on the freeway, Calli noticed a billboard.  It depicted a middle-aged woman walking with her mother. Her mother was using a cane and a little bent over.  The billboard was advertising an assisted-living center.  Calli heard her mother say: “You’er welcome.”  Calli laughed out loud.



About six months after my mom passed away, I was in my kitchen, listening to the radio. I was fighting feeling sad that I couldn’t call my mom. Then a song that I had never heard before started playing.

“Never Alone,” by Jesse Bonano

When your hope has been broken
And the fear is unspoken but true,
You’re never alone

Like a dream in a child,
Or a childish dream in you,
I’ll do anything that I can do
To show you my love and comfort you.

When you can’t seem too find your way home,
And when life gets too hard, to face on your own,
I will stand as a light through your darkest unknown.
I will walk with you
So you’re never alone, You’re never alone.
Like a tear in the ocean
Or a star on a clear winter night,
You’re never alone

When the courage you needed
Has been all but defeated in you,
I’ll do anything  I can do
To show you my love and comfort you.

When you can’t seem to find your way home
And when life gets too hard
To face on your own,
I will stand as a light through your darkest unknown
I will walk with you,
So you’re never alone.
Never Alone, Never Alone, Never Alone

When you can’t seem to find your way home
And when life gets too hard, to face on your own,
I will stand as a light through your darkest unknown.
I will walk with you, I will walk with you
I will walk with you,
So your never alone.

As soon as I heard the first phrase, tears started pouring down my cheeks. As I sat and listened to the words of this song, I realized that I had been uttering a silent, pleading prayer that I was unaware of. When the lyric’s stated, “When the courage you needed has been all but defeated in you,” I realized that my fighting will to hold on to her was fading, and I was scared. Scared that what I believed was wrong. That what I had heard over and over again–“you can feel them for a minute but eventually the veil closes and they go away–was true. I was holding on so tight, and it had taken so much courage, almost like I hadn’t fully exhaled since she had passed, for fear it would all slip away. This song’s lyrics answered all of my unspoken fears.

The next morning as I woke up, I heard her voice in my mind say over and over again “I am not dead, I am not gone.”

Katie's Friend

Hey, sweet Katie, thank you so much for being my friend. You have blessed my life tremendously. Everyday for months I was pleading to the Lord for a friend. Someone that I connected with and that could help me through my time as a mother and wife. I was beginning to think that having a best friend was something only Hollywood and other media portrayed, and that it wasn’t actually realistic. God has provided and proven otherwise. Being around you makes me so happy. Thank you for sharing this time of your life with me.

I am so sorry that you are currently separated from your mother. You hide your hurt and emotions so well, I would not have even guessed that you had just experienced this tragic loss. I will not even begin to pretend to know what that feels like.

I believe that the Lord let me quickly converse with your mother in the temple to edify us, both you and me. I felt God’s love for me through your mother’s words. I was reminded that he is aware of our struggles, our heartaches. I believe that experiences like these are a result of our faith.

As recorded in my Journal:
On June 27, 2015, shortly before noon, I was sitting in the endowment room of the Louisville Temple attending an endowment session for a relative of my husband. I felt her presence and her joy because of the work being done on her behalf.

During a pause, I prayed to know what Heavenly Father needed me to do in order to help Katie Ellingson, a dear friend in Lexington, Kentucky.

Not soon after I asked the question, over to my left, in the empty seat, I felt the presence of Katie’s angel mother.

I could visualize her clearly next to me. Her kind eyes, dark hair, and sweet smile. She was loving toward me and I could feel her gratitude for me in just the way she carried herself and stood next to me.

I introduced myself, which is silly; she already knew who I was. She acted as if we have always been friends. “Hi, I’m so glad you are here. I am so glad you are in my Katie’s life. She needs your love and friendship. Her heart is so heavy. I don’t want it to be. Please help lift her up. Please help her smile and laugh like she deserves to. God has a great work for her and she needs to pick herself up to be able to accomplish it.” In answer to my question of how to help, her mother repeated that I needed to continue being her friend. It was pressed upon my mind that I had strengths that could help her, and vice versa; she had strengths that could help me.

I expressed to her my sorrow that she was separated from her daughter, and I shared with her my resolve to love Katie and to help her as if she were my own family.

“Don’t worry about me. I am in such a beautiful place, I love it here. But I do miss having conversations with my children. I miss being able to be with them on earth. I replied that I couldn’t imagine how she felt. She replied with a steady “A time will come when you are separated by the veil from the ones you love and will experience it. But until then, nurture the relationship with your children. Love them, be kind to them, and your link will be strong and they will be able to feel your influence that much more.”

Thank you. “I know you will, you are such a good mom. Thank you for being so willing to love Katie. She can learn a lot of things from you. “She smiled with her eyes and said, ‘Give Katie a big hug for me’. I felt her desire to hug me, and I knew our time together had passed as she left.

Fourteen months after Lorna passed away, three new grandchildren joined the family within a month of each other. Joel and his wife Alicia, a little girl named Elle. Calli and Tyson: a little boy Malcolm (who goes by Mozzie). Katie and Clint: a little girl named Mazzie.

Katie's Experience

Anticipating the birth of my third child brought me much anxiety. Having two previous fast natural births will do that to someone! Most of my anxiety stemmed from not being able to make it to the hospital in time to even have an option for an epidural. This time around I felt the need for one. I began asking my Heavenly Father through prayer to help me know when I would need to head to the hospital. I wanted to get there in time for the epidural. To say I was anxious is actually an understatement. I was a complete mess. I had thought I needed to go to the hospital hourly and had no idea if it was the Spirit talking. Fast forward through a “bunch of crazy” to when I was admitted to labor and delivery, and miraculously, with an epidural flowing freely, I was finally able to take a deep breath and relax.

At this moment I was overtaken with a feeling of gratitude toward my Heavenly Father. My prayer had been answered, and I was at peace. At this same moment I felt the presence of my mother and the immense love she had for me, and her accompanying words in my mind: “Katie, do you not realize that I have been studying every aspect of this hospital for you, and I have been with you every step of the way.” Silent tears began streaming down my face as it all came together in my mind.

Don Coplin , Family Friend

I share some experiences that, while unique to me, perhaps shouldn’t be to any of us willing to allow such experiences.

The last few years have been challenging in many ways. I have dealt with financial, health, and family issues, with no let up nor any light at the end of the tunnel. They each wax and wane occasionally in severity but continue on. Ever the optimist, I have mostly put on my “game” face and slogged on through repeated assaults on my patience, trusting in the Lord and striving to find new ways of overcoming my particular difficulties.

During one of my darkest moments of hopelessness, I was driving to meet with a doctor who was going to administer a trial procedure to address one of my health issues. Feeling rather down, I was silently praying for some direction in which I could have confidence. I began to feel very warm inside my chest and overcome with a sense of emotion I had never experienced before. I began sobbing and realized that there was a “presence” in my truck with me. I knew that it was my father, who had passed away 19 years ago. I continued to sob and finally got the courage to speak. I said, “Where have you been. I have missed you so much”! I heard my Father say to me, “Don, I am always with you. everything is going to be okay.” I continued to cry to him and began to ask about my health, financial and family difficulties. Before I could form sentences, he spoke again saying, with emphasis, “everything, will be okay!”

An incredible calm came over me at that point. We continued on in silence, and then his presence began to fade. The love I felt, the caring I felt, were indescribable. Never have I felt such a feeling

I have also come to recognize the many times in the past when he guided me without me realizing his influence.

I have a very good friend who was called to serve as a bishop, shortly after he moved into his new ward. Three years before he moved in, the husband and father of a family in the ward (that I will call the “Smiths”) had passed away. He was 49 years old. There were 9 children in the family, five boys, four girls, from age 23 down to 5 or 6. As their bishop (and close neighbor), my friend was called upon to give blessings and assist in ordinations for the Smith family.

The first time he was called upon, as he put his hands on the head of the child receiving the blessing, he felt hands placed on top of his hands. He knew it was Brother Smith.

He had that experience each time he gave a blessing to a member of the Smith family, except once. He waited but never felt hands on top of his, so he proceeded with giving the blessing.

A few days later, he received word from a mission president in South America, where one of the Smith sons was serving as a missionary. Elder Smith was having difficulties adjusting to missionary service. My friend then knew why he hadn’t felt Brother Smith’s hands on his. Brother Smith was needed in South America.

When a Smith family member was participating in sacrament meeting, giving a talk, taking part in a Primary program, whatever the occasion, My friend would look over the congregation and know exactly where Brother Smith was sitting.