He will comfort us

Only 18 years old, he was finishing his last year of high school. He was bright, full of life, a friend to all who knew him. Marc had so much to live for, so much to offer.

A sudden, unexpected and tragic accident - no fault of anyone - took him without warning. In an instant, his mortal sojourn was over.Death - especially the unexpected loss of someone so full of life - is perhaps life's greatest challenge. In our heads, death is a logical part of life. We have known since our earliest recollections that someday we will die. But in our hearts, death often brings a mighty sting.

Only the balm provided by a kind and gracious Father in Heaven fully soothes the pain.

When the Savior ministered on the earth, He taught His doctrine - a doctrine that allows deep understanding of life's purpose and the eternal nature of each of us. He was an example of love, kindness and true empathy - which continue today in the friends and loved ones of those in need. And, before He left, He promised that He would not leave us comfortless. He would send His Spirit, even the Holy Ghost, to help us in so many ways - including comfort in times of trials.

Thus the doctrine, the Holy Ghost and our Christlike love for each other provide a genuine salve for the bruises of mortality.

Within minutes of hearing about Marc's death, friends - first a few, then many - gathered. They hugged. They talked. They cried. They wondered what to do, what to feel. They helped one another. But they still hurt. Loving parents and a kind bishop offered support.

An inspired mother suggested a prayer. Instinctively - and ahead of the parents - the youth began to kneel. The prayer was simple, yet the Lord graciously sent His Spirit. Comfort was beginning to come.

Gradually the youth realized that the boundless love they felt for Marc and for each other might well be directed to Marc's family. Though treading in unfamiliar waters, the youth were honored to visit the grieving parents. In turn, Marc's family was honored that the youth would come. Love, comfort and help flowed generously in both directions. Those needing comfort both gave and received the precious gift - a reciprocal process so like many designed by a wise Heavenly Father.

Family and friends awoke the next day - the Sabbath - hoping against hope that the awakening would also end this bad dream. It didn't.

A need to be together was second only to their need to worship. First one, then the other. Remembering the Lord's mission, sacrifice and teachings while partaking of the sacrament somehow seemed a little easier.

Comfort continued to come.

Flowers, food, loving embraces, kind words, perceptive acts of service - love manifest in endless ways - followed.

A winter blizzard, somehow a fitting display of nature, challenged - but didn't deter - funeral-goers.

A home teacher, a friend, a brother and his father remembered Marc to hundreds who had for several days been remembering Marc on their own. They talked of friendship and love, of brotherhood and kindness. They taught of the resurrection and the Plan of Salvation. Inspiring music, including a flute duet - so fitting because of Marc's excellence as a flutist - was a continued invitation to the Spirit. And a peaceful calm on a grieving mother's face showed the Comforter was in attendance.

Windswept snow brought damp chills as the gravesite was dedicated. Inner warmth came with the realization that while Marc's mortal body lay in that beautiful casket, his spirit yet lived and his eternal opportunities continued.

"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15:54-55.)

With time and continued faith, the pain relents. While the memory of Marc never fades, the sorrow does. The comfort continues.

"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

"And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." (John 11:25-26.)

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