Back when I was serving a mission for my church I jokingly volunteered myself and another Elder to sing a duet at our missions Christmas devotional. Despite our pleadings that this was a horrible idea and that we were just joking, they put us on the program. Elder Malie and I did our best to try and prepare. We were to sing Away In A Manger. As we practiced, we quickly realized we were horrible. We could hardly even get through the song as those watching us prepare could not keep their composure. We could have practiced for years and there would be no improvement in our singing. When the day of the devotional came we got up and did our best. It went as you might expect, not very well.
Preparing for this duet made me memorize the words and it quickly became my favorite Christmas song. I love to think of our Saviour and his humble beginnings. He condescended below us all so that he can lift us up. I have felt this in my life. I have been lifted up on so many occasions and I am so grateful every time I can feel the Atonement helping me and comforting me.
After losing Tate, this song has taken on a new meaning for me and I love it even more. Every time I hear the words “Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care” it brings me to tears for several reasons. The most obvious are that I miss my sweet son. Holidays tend to bring those emotions to the surface. Preparing the gifts for our children is so hard as it is a constant reminder that we are missing Tate. We see toys he would love and we want to be buying them for him. There is a missing pile on Christmas morning and it hurts.
In my experience, the hardest part about losing Tate has been the fact that I still worry about him constantly. The parental instincts you have for your children never leave you. I know he is with our Heavenly Father. I know he is surrounded by loved ones. I still worry about him feeling lonely without us. We miss him terribly. I worry he is feeling those same emotions, but he doesn’t have parents and siblings there to help him fight through those emotions. I know that he is in a great place. He has a better understanding about life after death than I currently have, but I still worry about him constantly and wish I could be with him to help him navigate what he is experiencing.
I am so grateful that our Saviour has Tate in his tender care. Whenever I start to worry about Tate and what he is experiencing I think of our Saviour. From his humble beginnings in a manger, he came to save us from sin and death. Because of him, Tate will be resurrected and eventually we will be reunited with him. Because of him, Brandi and I have been able to fight through some dark moments in our lives as we mourn the passing of Tate. Because of him, we can live with our families forever.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, close by me forever, and love me, I pray!