I have learned that death can be a very spiritual experience. Some cultures mourn the passing of loved ones as a permanent loss, and as a tragedy. Many do not have hope for a happy life after this one.
I have had two experiences in particular where the death of a loved one was a highly spiritual experience. The first was the passing of my father on December 31, 2005. He had battled Alzheimer’s for some time. My mother called me that morning and asked if I could be with her while he passed away. I left work, drove the three hours to her home, and sat with her. I got there in the early afternoon. Earlier in the day, a home health nurse had told my mom that Dad’s body had just shut down, and that his breathing was pretty much a subconscious action that soon would stop on its own. It finally did at about 11:15 PM.
What was interesting was the feeling Mom and I had as Dad slipped quietly away. There was an overwhelming peace, as if all was right with Dad. Also, I felt that the room was crowded. Although I could only see the three of us, I could feel the presence of angels. The veil that separates our earth life from Heaven felt very thin that night. I sensed that the angels were there to escort Dad home to his Heavenly Father. He had lived a great life, and he was not alone as he slipped into immortality. The veil was thin that night, and I could feel the love of God from the other side.
A few years before this was the passing of my own infant son, Grant Alexander Carpenter. We found out early in the pregnancy that there were serious complications. He was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards Syndrome. Right after he was born on January 18, 2000, my father-in-law, the doctor (who was LDS), and I, took Grant in our arms right there in the labor and delivery room, and gave him a name and blessing. I felt impressed to tell him that he had come to Earth simply to receive his physical body, and I commended him back into the care of his Father in Heaven. Not long after this beautiful experience, he quietly passed away while I was holding him in my arms.
Again, the veil was thin. The room was large, yet it felt crowded, literally as if there was standing room only. But there were only five of us in this big room. I could sense the presence of angels, waiting to take Grant home with them. And again, I could feel the perfect love of the Savior in that room. Whenever people hear about Grant, they naturally want to express their condolences over the loss of my son. But I do not consider him lost. I consider him safe… safe in the Kingdom of God, safe from the travail of mortality. I hope he is there helping to plead my miserable case on my behalf. I don’t want condolences. My experience with Grant was perhaps the greatest spiritual experience of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I know that death is frightening for most people. My only concern is being prepared. Beyond that, I have no fear, only a lot of hope and anxiousness for what lies ahead. I have literally felt the love that comes from the other side of the veil. It is sweet and desirable, perhaps just like the love of God that Lehi described as he ate the fruit in his dream.