Ponderings, Uncategorized

Because He Lives, We Shall Live Also: Passing Away Of Josh Burton, LDS Missionary

Three words, ripped from the heart of my older sister changed my life yesterday.  ‘Josh is dead’.  In a moment, my world spun on it’s axis and everything changed.  Down on our knees, right where we were, my husband and children poured our hearts out to our Father.  Josh, the second oldest brother in the family of 11.  Josh, the boy who filled the stage and town with his smiles and love for life.  Josh who made music for the soul and was currently serving a mission.  A son, a brother, a friend, a servant of God.

As I walked to my little sisters house, a solemnity seemed to cover this piece of the world.  It was if even the birds stilled in their reverence for the moment.  All my earlier frustrations about slip and slides, money, and messes left discarded where I heard those poignant words.  How could this happen? Just the night before, his father had told me of the accident.  Two vertebraes were broken and the doctors operating on him gave him a 1% chance of ever walking again.  Shortly after the operation he had wiggled his toes, then rotated his feet and lifted his legs, an unheard of feat.  The prayers and fasting of his mission, his brothers mission, our ward and countless others were calling upon the powers of heaven and miracles were happening.  The doctors and nurses at the hospital were not of our faith, but they recognized Josh as a man of God and had all joined in our prayers.  So many prayers, and such incredible miracles on his behalf.  Only four month away from finishing his mission, with one brother on a mission and one more just leaving for the MTC that day, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he would be taken care of.  A Savior who died for him, surely would not leave him at this critical time.

Tears, hugs and questions formed in all of our minds.  We knew that his mother was enroute to visiting him and likely did not know.  All around me were little clusters of cousins, friends and siblings crying, hugging and praying.  We all wanted to do something to ease the burden of this family.  Almost all of my kids had a friend at the moment who’s hearts were breaking.  I wanted to go to the home, but did not want to intrude on such a sacred, heart wrenching time.  They were our dear friends, but only recently so.  Would we, should we go?  If I went, what should I say?  All day I tossed around my heartache, my doubts, my concerns.  Finally, I decided that I would rather go and risk intruding to let them know that they were loved and being prayed for, than to hold back and risk them having to bare this burden alone.

Together, a group of us, nine in total loaded up in our vehicles and made the journey to their home.  The solemnity of this occasion weighed upon me.  Driving up, I saw a young boy praying on the hill.  The house was ‘a quiet house’.  We rang the doorbell, and graciously we were let in with tears and hugs.  How do you prepare for a moment like this?  My eyes caught sight of the 14 year old daughter red-eyed and weary, little Gab, only 7 with quivering lips, and one of my 9 year old cubs bravely biting his lip.  Josh’s father lead us to the living room.  For the next few hours we quietly listened, hugged, cried, laughed, sang and had our faith strengthened.  Such a solemn, sacred time.  In this moment, sharing so closely someones pain, the Gospel truths shone brighter than I had ever seen them before.  Heavenly hosts felt so close.  My faith of life after death, of the atonement, of the gospel was reaffirmed in a way it had never been before.  My mind was drawn to a recent conference talk about a father who lost his 18 month year old son Tyson.

The father said:

Tyson has remained a very integral part of our family. Through the years it has been wonderful to see the mercy and kindness of a loving Father in Heaven, who has allowed our family to feel in very tangible ways the influence of Tyson. I testify that the veil is thin. The same feelings of loyalty, love, and family unity don’t end as our loved ones pass to the other side; instead, those feelings are intensified.

That talk has comforted me so many times as I tried to imagine what I would do if I lost one of my own precious children.  Life is not fair I would definitely exclaim at a time like this, but hopefully I would remember the beautiful words of another sister, who not so long ago who lost a family member and stated at the funeral “Life is not fair.  No it is not.  When seen by the eyes of Eternity, it is not fair. It is perfect.”

As we knelt in prayer with this incredible family Josh’s father tenderly related “When we told the kids we gathered like this.  We sang “Families Can Be Together Forever” and said a prayer.” With tears he looked at us all and my heart nearly burst with sadness when he simply stated “I am so grateful that singing and praying together is something that is familiar to us”.  Gently reminding me that it is those small and simple daily things that you do with your family that binds them to you in times of distress.

My heart is still breaking, my mind is still reeling with the magnitude of this all, but somehow, in the quiet echo’s of my heart, I holding on to that idea.  It may not be fair, but it is perfect.  Why?  Because our Savior who is in heaven is perfect, and because “He live, We shall live also”.

Josh Burton-his younger brother’s hero

9 thoughts on “Because He Lives, We Shall Live Also: Passing Away Of Josh Burton, LDS Missionary”

  1. Thank you for this post–I didn’t know Josh, but many of my family members did and my Facebook page is flooded with tributes to this wonderful man. I can’t stop thinking of his mother and how she must be feeling…about how I would feel if this was my son. I appreciate your words, they were touching. God bless the Burtons.

    1. Rachel, God is blessing this family. I can see so many small ways that the Lord is letting them know that he is keenly aware of their heartache. I am sure that there has been many more ‘tender mercies’ that an outsider like me has no idea about and that are too sacred for them to disclose.

  2. This was so beautifully written and expressed. It truely is the best plan. The knowlede we have and share is amazing and comforting. True it is still hard and painful yet the lining of forever is our founation. God bless and give peace to this family at this time. The plan is perfect, let faith guide and protect you all.

  3. Thank you for having the courage to share your experience. I served a mission in Guatemala, Guatemala City Central and my grandpa died while I was in the MTC. Experiencing the death of a loved one is very difficult but I witnessed great things in the mission field. First, I saw how thin the veil really is and that there are hundreds of people waiting to pass through to paradise. I know there are more waiting to hear the gospel from your son. Second, I came to know that our loved ones help us. Many times I felt my grandpa and other ancestors nearby. Your other missionary sons will have another companion. My thoughts go with you.

  4. I live in Arizona, USA. I am deeply moved by your words here. I am LDS. I have 2 grown sons and a dau 13, son 9. I couldn’t imagine my life without any of them. But I know what I know so it helps as family members are making their way home to Heavenly Father. I have a question. I read the Desnews article and was wondering how I could acquire the CD “Sketches”? (I think that’s the one of all his own compositions) We love good music and would enjoy that CD. Can you let me kjnow how to order one? You can email me at ” thirstyboots at yahoo dot com ” with the information. Thank you and may you and all the family be blessed. FaeLynne

    1. If you go to the itune store I believe you can buy it. If you can’t figure it out, I believe I have an extra CD laying around that I could send you if you gave me your address.

      1. I would love that CD. Can you email me your address and the price and then I can send you the money. You can use the email I put in my first post…. and THANK YOU So much!!!

  5. So touch by the life of your son and the strength of your family. We are serving as Mission Presidents in Brazil. When we heard of this our hearts were broken. Not even knowing who he was or knowing your family the tears just stream down our faces! Having sons of our own and now sons of many others that we watch over, in the Mission Field, we express to you our deepest sympathy. In Mosiah 24:15-16 – This has given me a lot of strength when going thru a difficulty. The Lord will bear you up. He will comfort your hearts. As Alma the Younger met up with the sons of Mosiah, great was their Joy and Reunion so will your reunion be with your son after this life! Live now for that JOY! With much love

    1. This was not my son, but his example and his families example has greatly touched my life. I am so grateful for the gospel.

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