* Some of the names in this post have been changed to protect the privacy of those written about.
It took me almost a year to write one of the most important letters I’ve ever written; my fear stopped me from doing it much sooner. John told me twice before I was willing to take the not-so-subtle hint, and follow through. This isn’t the actual letter I wrote, but a post about the letter I finally did write to John’s wife and my ex-sister-in-law, Megan.
I need to give a little bit of a back history about John and me. When John was alive, I really did not like him; OK, I more than didn’t like him – I couldn’t stand him. I’m not sure how to say it any differently or any nicer and remain honest. When John cheated on Megan, I prayed for both of them – that they would overcome that trial and that they would both receive peace. But shortly after that, I had a few exchanges with John that were very unpleasant, and I decided I didn’t like him at all. Then my husband cheated on me. This had nothing to do with John, but he had done the same thing to my husband’s sister – as every other man in that family had done to their wives, so I decided that John and my husband and the rest of them were all cut from the same crappy mold. I resented him and hated him for the same reason I struggled to continue loving my husband. I wanted nothing to do with John after that.
The last time I saw him was at a family Thanksgiving dinner just before my husband and I divorced. John came into the house and said hello to everyone as he passed hugs around the room. He walked over to me to say hello and put his arm around me, gave me a squeeze, and asked how I was doing. I glared at him and brushed him off – holding onto that grudge and those negative feelings to the point that I refused to even pretend to be cordial.
Three years after my ex-husband and I split up, I found out through the grapevine from a mutual friend that John had died in a car accident. As I read all about it online, I truly felt sorrow for Megan and the kids – but mostly I felt sorrow because I had never resolved those feelings I had for John. Part of the grudge I held for him was not even mine to hold. It broke my heart to realize that someone had left this earth knowing I felt that way about them – when those feelings were so dark and icy. I was reminded of 3 Nephi 14:2 that tells us:
“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
I knew I had judged him unrighteously, and that I had brought condemnation upon myself. I was praying one day shortly after finding out about his death – feeling horrible, and wishing there was a way to resolve this. I knelt in my bathroom – which at the time was the only room available where I could find a few minutes of privacy, and as I prayed out loud I asked God: “If it’s at all possible, please can you deliver a message to John for me, and tell him that I am so sorry, and I forgive him, and I have had no right to hold these grudges.”
I was told very clearly: “Tell him yourself” — and then John was there before me! I DID tell him myself; I told him just what I had asked God to relay for me, and asked John if he would forgive me. He told me he had already forgiven me, and that he loves me. I was surprised that he would tell me he loves ME. I was even more astonished at how I could tangibly FEEL that love. I cannot tell you how much love I felt from him – it was truly amazing. He also told me that he is doing well and has overcome so much from this life, and he let me know that he is happy. He also told me to tell his wife Megan. John left, and I knelt there sobbing in my bathroom – filled with the spirit, and overwhelmed with love and joy.
And then, I neglected to tell his wife.
Almost a year later, I had another encounter with John. This time, he came with several others from beyond the veil – including some of my own deceased family members. My great-grandma, my grandma and grandpa, and my little brother were all there. I was blessed to be in the presence of some other truly extraordinary people who were there as well: Moses – whom my little boy has seen in our home several times, Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, and the Savior. There were others there too, but these are the people I interacted with directly.
They were all wearing white robes, and they each came up to me one-by-one and hugged me and said hello. It was an awesome reunion! John was the only one I had an extended conversation with that day, however. He hugged me tightly, and told me he loves me and reminded me of the same things we talked about before. I felt the same intense love I did from him that I did when he visited me previously. He told me he loves me, and again – that all is forgiven between us, and that he had been doing well. He chastised me for not telling his wife that he came to visit with me last year and told me that this time, I NEEDED to tell her.
I was given to understand even more this time – about him and his progression since his death. He has truly overcome a lot, and was able to be there in the presence of Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, and the Savior. This was obviously significant. I also understood that given his love and forgiveness for ME, he truly held no guile or bitterness in his heart; he would not have been allowed to come to me in this way if he had any hidden dark feelings. His heart has become truly good and pure and I knew this was true – as he even had love and unconditional forgiveness for me – his stupid ex-sister-in-law who did not like him in his life. And he made sure I understood how much he loves me. It’s hard to explain the level of love that beings from beyond the veil have for us and are able to show us, unless you’ve experienced it. We are so limited in our ability to communicate in this fleshy tabernacle, and we put up walls and have doubts and insecurities and fears and reservations and grudges and judgment…. all of that was gone when John talked with me, and he loved me as if I were his favorite sister – or at least, that’s how it felt.
As I said earlier, I allowed my fear to prevent me from contacting John’s wife and telling her these things he asked me to pass on. So after his second visit, I finally wrote that letter and sent it to her.
I am not sure why John came to me – other than maybe because I reached out to him and had already forgiven him too. I hope that the message I was supposed to relay was conveyed the way he wanted it to be. And I am eternally grateful to have the burden of wishing for John’s forgiveness, lifted from me forever!