I had wanted this to post on the anniversary of Claire's pasing, which was Saturday, April 12th, but due to technical difficulties with caringbridge, I wasn't able to do so.
The last few entries I shared the talkes given at Claire's funeral, this is the final talk, given by my father, Claire's Grandfather.
Celebration of Claire’sLife
April 17, 2013
I am Claire’s grandfather on her mother’s side. We are a family whohas been tried and tested, had extreme joy and happiness and had terrible depths of sorrow and despair. But through it all, we have remained firm in our resolution to rise above adversity, no matter how difficult.
Some have asked, “How have you been able to do this when such difficulties have arisen, such strains on the family?” My one and only answer is … “only through the faith we have of a divine redeemer, a Savior, our advocate to our Heavenly Father, and through our knowledge of the “Plan of Happiness”.
We can honestly and truthfully answer these questions: “Where Have We Come From, Why are we here on this Earth and Where are we going after this earth life”.
Before I answer those important questions, I need to explain somewhat about the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-daySaints, which may help you to better understand our intense faith.
There are 13 Articles of Faith which are part of our Scriptures. I won’t go through all ofthem, but will only mention a few.
1. We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind will be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel
3. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles and prophets
4. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be theword of God – both testify of the divinity of the Messiah, even Jesus Christ –the testimonies of prophets of old and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ from two different ancient civilizations – the old world (Old & New Testament) and the new world (Book of Mormon)
5. As one ancient prophet explained, “We talk of Christ, we preach of Christ and we prophesy of Christ”
6. We believe that there is a living Prophet on the earth today and that there are duly ordained and set-part apostles whose purpose is to testify to the world of the living Christ
7. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal and were believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God
8. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope of all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Through a comprehensive study of the scriptures, both new and old, the Plan of Salvation is revealed. The Plan of Salvation is God’s plan for the happiness of His children. It is centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Following the teachings of Jesus Christ will provide us inner peace in this life and eternal joy after death.
So, to start with the first questions: Where Did I Come From? Or Where Did Claire Come From?
1. Our life did not begin at birth, nor will it end at death. Claire and you and I are made up of a spirit body (sometimes called the soul) and a physical body. Our Heavenly Father created Claire’s and our spirits and we lived with Him as aspirit before we were born on this earth.
2. We knew and loved our Heavenly Father and He loved us. This period is called the “pre-earth life”.
3. We grew in knowledge and truth. We were taught by our Heavenly Father.
4. In order to further progress, God’s plan was fo rClaire and you and me to come to this earth to receive a physical body and to try to learn to make correct choices. We would not remember living with God after birth because we needed to learn to develop faith.
5. We were promised that we would recognize His love and truth because of our spiritual birth.
6. We were also promised that we could return to live with Heavenly Father because He would provide a Savior for us…one who would atone for our bad choices, so we could return pure and clean to HeavenlyFather – and He would provide the process of a resurrection for all mankind - that was the role of Jesus Christ.
So, what was Claire’s and our purpose in this Life?
1. To gain a physical body in order to become more like Heavenly Father
2. To experience the good and bad, the pain and joy and to search for truth.
3. For most of us, that will be our trial throughout our mortal existence.
4. For Claire, it was an especially difficult trial because of the physical trials she experienced. But her indomitable God given spirit brought forth such a sweet little girl. You just knew she had a special spirit and with a determination for life for as long as was possible.
5. Claire’s life was clean and pure as a littlechild. Little children are God’s greatest gift to parents and are without sin. Therefore, she will have a special place reserved for her in the Spirit World.
Where Is Claire now and where will we all go after this earth life?
1. From an earthly perspective, physical death may seem like an end, but really it is another beginning, a step forward in our Heavenly Father’s Plan.
2. At death, Claire’s spirit and ours, leave ourbody and go to the spirit world, which is a place of learning and preparation. In the spirit world,Claire’s memories and ours, will remain with her and us.
3. Death will not change her sweet personality nor her beautiful smile.
At some appointed time, known only to Heavenly Father, Claire’s spirit and body will be joined back together, called the Resurrection. This was made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Her broken little body she had on this life will then be made perfect.
CLOSE YOUR EYES FOR A MOMENT, CAN’T YOU JUST SEE A TALL BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRL WITH BRIGHT WAVY RED HAIR BLOWING IN THE WIND RUNNING AND YELLING WITH PURE JOY AND HAPPINESS. I CAN.
Claire has just passed from one life to another…each life putting her closer to returning to her loving Heavenly Father.
Yes, we miss her, but what joy and peace to know that she is free from pain and sorrow. She is at peace and we must be at peace as well. There is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice.
Debbie and Mike have been an example to us all of devotion, caring, nurturing and loving Claire. It would be hard to find parents who have devoted so much to the welfare of their little girl. They did not shrink from that duty even though it was so hard….eight long years hard, hundreds upon hundreds of days and nights at Children’s Hospital.
I think that there will be a special place in heaven for such devoted parents.
I also think that will be a special place in heaven for the doctors, nurses and care givers who attended to Claire’s needs over these many years. You will never be forgotten and Ihope you will never forget Claire.
I would like to close with a statement made by one of the current apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, Elder David A. Bednar. His mission as an apostle is to testify ofthe living Christ:
“I do not know why some people learn the lessons of eternity through trial and suffering – while others learn similar lessons through rescue and healing. I do not know all the reasons, all of the purposes, and I do not know everything about the Lord’s timing.
But some things I absolutely do know. I know were are spirit sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. I know the Eternal Father is the author of the plan of happiness. Though I do not know everything about how and when and where and why these blessings occur, I do know and I witness they are real. I testify that all of these things are true—and that we know enough by the power of the Holy Ghost to bear sure witness of their divinity, reality, and efficacy.” (end quote)
My lovely wife and companion has made for each of her children and grandchildren what are called “Minky Blankets”, even I have one. Claire had many which were priceless for her. I want all of you who have been blessed to have those minky blankets to remember Claire when you wrap those blankets around you. Think of the love those blankets provided Claire. Now I want you to think of Claire wrapping those blankets around you and holding you tight. I want you to feel of her love as you do so. As you do so, you will find peace and comfort.
Now as a grandfather, father, husband and an ordained missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I want to add my own testimony and witness.
I know that God is a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for us. He mourns when we mourn, He rejoices when we rejoice and He hears our humble prayers. And most importantly, He will answer those prayers. We must have the faith to hear the whisperings of the Spirit and the patience to wait for the answer….maybe not in our timetable, but in His.
Thank you Dad, for your loving words and such a beautiful tribute to faith and to Celebrate Claire. I love you with all my soul.