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Song background:

I follow the Primary Music Leaders facebook page. I noticed a few discussions about what to do/sing when someone in the ward passed away (a child or parent especially). I was thinking how it would be so nice to have a song that addressed this situation. Sure, there are songs that brush the topic but it’s such a big part of life I felt it needed it’s own song.

I have had very little experience with death. For that reason I felt I shouldn’t write this song. But the prompting was strong. I told my husband Sunday morning of the October 2018 General Conference about my prompting. I said, “If there is a talk about death, I will know for sure I need to write a song about this.” First talk of that morning was President Ballard’s talk, “The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead.” Heavenly Father blessed me with reassurance.

I started off trying to write about what happens when a person dies. Shortly after doing this I was stumped. I prayed about it. Later I had an impression to focus the song on the Savior. No wonder I wasn’t being inspired. Without the Savior, there would be no hope associated with death. The sting of death would be unbearable. Reading Doctrine & Covenants 138, as suggested by Elder Ballard, I found my chorus in verses 23-24: “And the saint rejoiced in their redemption, and bowed the knee and acknowledged the Son of God as their Redeemer and Deliverer from death and the chains of hell. Their countenances shone, and the radiance from the presence of the Lord rested upon them, and they sang praises unto his holy name.” That was a good place to start.

My first draft was about how people feel sorrow but, there’s Christ, so all will be OK. I felt like it was insensitive. I read articles and listened to people about their experiences. Some people who experienced the death of someone close said people would tell them they must be so grateful for the Savior and not address their grief. I really wanted to rewrite the lyrics to validate that everyone experiences a wide range of sad emotions: grief, sorrow, loneliness, anger, confusion while still manifesting the hope of Christ.

Let’s say to get that idea across took a lot of work. But every times I came up with something that worked, I was elated! I finished the song the week before April 2019 General Conference. At conference President Nelson spoke about people who refuse to receive essential ordinances. He said, “while there is a place for them hereafter–with wonderful men and women who also chose not to make covenants with God–that is not the place where families will be reunited and given the privilege to live and progress forever.”

The second verse to my song says, “While I have time on earth I will keep God’s commands. For I want to return to heaven and be with my loved one again.” Having previously written this line, and hearing President Nelson’s words, I felt the spirit guided me to hit that nail on the head. We must do our part to be with our loved one again and Christ will make up for what we lack. He is risen. He atoned for our sins. Because of Him we can be with our loved ones again but we need to do our part.

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Lyrics: When my loved one departs <br/>And on earth I remain <br/>Do I feel loneliness or anger? <br/>Am I wrong to feel so much pain? <br/>If I turn my thoughts to the Savior, <br/>Who knows all my sorrow and grief, <br/>His peace will come as I ask <br/>The spirit to comfort me. <br/>My knee shall bow for my Savior, Redeemer. <br/>My lips shall sing His praise. <br/>He dries my tears and gives me hope <br/>That life goes beyond the grave. <br/>While I have time on earth <br/>I will keep God’s commands. <br/>For I want to return to heaven <br/>And be with my loved one again. <br/>So I’ll turn my thoughts to the Savior, <br/>Atoning for all who would live. <br/>This great vicar’ous gift brings <br/>Deliv’rence from death and sin. <br/>My knee shall bow for my Savior, Redeemer. <br/>My lips shall sing His praise. <br/>He dries my tears and gives me hope <br/>That life goes beyond the grave.
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