During one of the last visits I had with John before he passed away, in which he was still lucid and conversing clearly, he began to ask me about death, about heaven, and whether he would be missed after he was gone. As I expressed to him during that conversation, Heavenly Father knows and loves each of us. Heaven is a beautiful place. There is love and forgiveness and understanding. Such expressions of faith and assurance seemed to bring him peace. As he took my hand and cried, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry" over and over, I felt his sorrow and grief for what once was, and what would never be….
His time on earth turned from weeks into days, and I was able to witness the peace on heaven’s side of the veil merge with the peace on earth’s side of the veil. How grateful I was that we were able to experience tender healing through the Savior. I sat in wonder as I witnessed the peace that truly surpasseth all understanding. The night before John’s passing, I cried as I sensed that the end was very near. As Spencer and I said “goodnight” to him for the last time on that night, I sensed that we had come full circle.
John suffered and struggled for much of his life. I know that he is finally free from earthly pain and sorrow. I keep seeing him in a peaceful state, and I believe he is being healed of the intense travails of mortality that fell on him throughout his life. And through this healing, I somehow believe he is finally able to drink from the well of living water, even the Savior Himself.
Spencer wrote the day after his passing: “After a tumultuous and trial filled life, my father has left mortality. I know he rests without care or sorrow with his dad, my grandpa. I love my dad. I know that all things will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." And Gentry wrote, “I know in heaven he will find the light he has been searching for, for so long.”
I have thought about the peace that the nurse felt in his room when she found him. I have thought about him facing the window during those last moments. Perhaps he was seeing heaven’s light grow brighter and brighter, even as the veil on earth grew ever so thin around him. I have thought about the tear that was falling down his cheek when he passed. Perhaps that tear embodies the deep love he was finally able to experience with his children after so many years. Perhaps that tear represents him standing between time and eternity, as he stood as it were on the threshold, waiting to cross through the veil into the arms of the Savior.
Perhaps that tear on his cheek became his last earthly moment in time, where he too had finally come full circle….
In the words of Thomas Moore:
Come, ye disconsolate, where'er ye languish;
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts; here tell your anguish.
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.