Chapter 12, Parenting Through the Veil
President Russell M. Nelson’s daughter Wendy Nelson Maxfield passed away on January 11, 2019 at the age of 67.
At her funeral service, to her children and grandchildren, President Nelson said:
She can minister to you in what I call “parenting through the veil.”She can see us more clearly through the veil than we see her. We cannot forget her. We do not cease to love her. We are sealed to her by eternal ties. She loves us now more than ever. Her desire for our well-being will be greater than that which we feel ourselves. So dear family, stay tuned.
Because Lorna had asked us not to tell people about her illness, comparatively few people knew. Her brother and sisters didn’t know until the night before she passed away.
When it was announced in our ward sacrament meeting that Lorna Jenkins had passed away that morning, I was told there was an audible gasp from the congregation. Then the tears started flowing. Consequently, starting after church and for the rest of the week, a steady flow of friends and neighbors stopped by the house to offer their condolences and asking the “what, how and when” questions.
Monday evening the day after Lorna passed away, I was visiting with some neighbors when our doorbell rang. Katie answered the door. It was our stake president, Blaine Butler, with his wife, Lynn.
They visited for a few minutes, then President Butler asked Katie if she would like a blessing.
Katie wrote in her journal:
The blessing began to close when President Butler said, “Katie, your mom is here. She is in the room with us. She is standing right in front of you.” Then he said a couple of more things, which I don’t have any remembrance of, and closed the blessing. He turned off the light, grabbed his wife, and told me to sit there a minute and not to come out until I was ready. He excused himself to go talk with my dad.
So there I sat in the office chair in the dark with my mother in the room. I had the initial thought that this could be a special experience. I questioned if I had the faith to have a special experience, and I now realize that I thought I needed faith to see her with my physical eyes.
I began looking at an empty chair in the room, anxiously waiting for this special experience. I sat for about a minute, then I realized something. I had no idea what to expect. It was at this moment that I had my first conversation with my mother since she passed away. This is how it went, and I will be forever grateful for the lesson she taught me.
“Mom, I’ve never done this before, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
(Then I glanced at the empty chair and asked,)
“Am I going to see you?”
(Then the words came to my mind:)
“No, darlin’, there is the veil.”
(So I glanced up towards the ceiling and asked,)
“Do you float?”
“I’m not floating”
“Okay, ok, that was a silly question, wasn’t it? Will I feel your hugs?”
“I don’t have a body”
“Okay Mom, will you show me how I will feel you?”
And at that moment, simultaneously I heard words in my mind, and I felt warm! Like really warm in my chest, and the warmness was full of life and energy. I heard my mother’s loving voice say,
“I am a spirit, and I will enter your spirit, and will speak words to your mind.”
I sat in that office alone–yet not alone It was an incredible experience that I hope to never forget.
In September, a few weeks after Lorna passed away, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling very warm. I threw the covers off, yet still really felt warm.
I recalled Katie’s experience the night President Butler gave her the blessing. I tentatively asked her, “Are you here?” The warmth intensified. Lorna was there.
A similar experience for Scott two years later in October, 2016:
My sister Calli texted me at work one day. That day I was the only person in the office. She asked me how my connection with Mom had been lately.
I told her I didn’t feel like it had been that good. Calli said to me that she felt it was important for all of us to try and maintain that connection.
A few moments later I felt that someone had entered my office.
Almost immediately I felt a spirit wrap their arms around me in what I would call a “spiritual hug.” It was not physical. It was spirit to spirit.
I was very warm and “tingly” for what I would say about 15 seconds. I have never felt anything remotely close to that in my entire life. Then that spirit was gone.
After those brief moments I broke down and cried like a baby for about five minutes.
I have no doubt it was mother who came to me and gave me that hug
In May 2018 my son Joel had his own parenting experience that was once again prompted by his sister Calli.
Every now and again Calli will call or text to tell me that Mom is trying to get my attention, and I’m not answering. On the morning of the 8th of May, Calli and I had a long conversation about needing direction and feeling like I can’t ask for any more help from Mom because she’s already done so much. She more or less told me that I was being stupid. Mom was waiting for me to ask for more.
That night as I was pondering upon our conversation, I remembered a dream I had had the night before that Mom was in, and that she had hugged me in the dream. But I felt it significantly more than anything I’ve ever felt in a dream before. I was struggling to remember the context or conversation around that hug. As I was pondering this, I heard her voice in my mind tell me, “I gave you that hug in your dream last night. Don’t worry about the words spoken, just remember the feeling you felt. That was real, Joel, that wasn’t you dreaming.” More words came to mind, my mom giving me a little more direction in my life and to not worry about things that I cannot see.
Phillip Gray , Family Friend
We all have some very tender moments after we lose a loved one. My mother was special to me, with so much love. It was very emotional to watch her take her last breath and pass away. The minute she passed, the Holy Ghost, the great comforter, came immediately for relief. Several days later as I was lying on my bed contemplating the ordeal, a warm embrace comforted me, and I knew it was my mother letting me know that everything is ok. We all have these tender moments happen which help us through life’s struggles.
I have another rather amusing example which very few people know about. Everyday after my shower, I stand on the same rug in front of my sink. This rug is not easy to move, because it is lying on top of carpet. Many days the rug is on a slight angle which is not the normal position. I know it is my mother reminding me she is still there for me. I reposition the rug and thank her for the loving reminder. I know these are small examples of how close our loved ones are around us.
Immediately following my mom’s death, I remember feeling an urgency from her, and urgency for me and my siblings to not forget her, not to begin the journey of forgetting her and learning how to live life without her. We had a family group text, and I felt like she was using that as an example. Keep me in the loop, as if I was still a part of and responding to the family group text. “I can do things from here.”
In a blessing from President Butler, our son Kurt was told: “Your mother’s ability to bless her family is now uninhibited.”
Scott, in a dream, about a year after she passed, is giving his mom a big hug and holding tight so she can’t leave. She pulls her head back, looks him in the eyes, and says, “Scott, it’s my job to take care of the family.”
A few days after mom passed away. I was talking to one of my friends who does a lot of meditating. She mentioned that my mom had shown up during her meditation the night before her passing away. My mom wanted to make sure that in case I wouldn’t be able to hear her, she would have a way to communicate with me.
A similar experience from Tom Heal, a good friend.
Lorna came to see me a few days before her funeral, and she was in a”subdued state of excitement.” In his mind he heard “that for her, it was like being in more than one place at a time.” It seemed to him as though she was going from one friend or loved one to another, to see who could hear her. Some time after Tom related his experience with me, she returned to Tom. His sense was that she was pleased that he had shared his experience with me.
I’ve assumed that he would have been “my ears,” if I hadn’t learned to hear her.
Calli, on the one year anniversary of her mother’s passing:
August 24, 2014 could have been a day that broke me beyond repair. Growing up and thinking about my mom dying young was a thought I really couldn’t even think about, it created so much fear and pain in me. On this day a year ago my “normal” was forced to change. I was no longer going to see her pull up in my driveway to come and say hi, or to take me to lunch. I was no longer going to be able to call and talk to her everyday on the phone, or hug her. I was never going to see her in her beautiful body again.
This new normal hurts sometimes and has taken a lot of courage and faith to be okay with. This day a year ago was not, however, the last time I have felt my mom’s love for me. It was not the last time she gave me advice on how to love her grandchildren. It was not the last time she shared beautiful insights with me. It was not the last time she comforted me and made me feel like only a mom can, that everything is not only going to be okay, but it’s going to be great. On this day a year ago my mom left her beautiful body behind, but she did not leave me. I was just forced to figure out a new normal with her. A new way of communicating with her and a new way of feeling her.
This past year has been one of the most sacred, love-filled, learning and growing years of my life. My life is much more full, due to this experience. Full of love and heartbreak, fear and peace, miracles, growth and a gratitude and awe for God’s love of each of us. I’ve realized He can’t force his love on us, we have to choose to allow him to love us in all our imperfectness. His love is unending and truly unchanging.
Calli, two years later, August 24, 2016:
. . .My mom is still here with me. She will always be here with me, helping me learn and grow and experience more joy and more love everyday. It’s like having a cheat sheet for a test. I am constantly asking her questions. The answers come in various ways: through music, through thoughts in my head as soon as I wake up, through dreams, through pictures in my mind, through words in my mind. It is a language we all speak, we just have to remember how to recognize it. We can only put our energy in so many places. What we water grows. My thoughts are the water. I have spent a lot of time watering my relationship with heaven. Consequently, my relationship with Mom has grown. It is strong, and it is thriving.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland , Quorum of the Twelve
From the beginning, down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children.
President Joseph F. Smith
When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but are from the ranks of our kindred, friends and fellow-beings; . . . our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth . . . may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, of reproof and instructions to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.
In a First Presidency message, he added
I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. . . . It is reasonable and consistent to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond, can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. . . . We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever.
Elder Charles A. Callis , Quorum of the Twelve, 1933-1947
We believe that there is consciousness of the spirit in the life hereafter, between death and the resurrection. . . . 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.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong , Quorum of the Twelve
As we honor our covenants, we may sometimes feel we are in the company of angels. And we will be–those we love and who bless us on this side of the veil and those who love and bless us from the other side of the veil
Lorna passed away on August 24, 2014, but she didn’t leave.
She didn’t leave me. She didn’t leave her children. She didn’t leave her grandchildren. She didn’t leave her friends. She didn’t leave.
Evidence and experience have taught us that Lorna can do things from there. She is “solicitous for our welfare,” she “loves us now more than ever.” Her ability to bless her family is uninhibited. It is her job “to take care of her family.” “Her desire for our well being is greater than that which we feel ourselves”. She has blessed her family in many ways and many instances. It has been remarkable.
We chose to “stay tuned”, as President Nelson counseled his family at his daughters funeral.
The miracle for our family, the unexpected miracle. She wasn’t healed.