O Grave, Where Is Thy Victory?


My Mother passed away over a decade ago. My journal entry for the day she left this world read:

“My Mom died today.”

That is the entire entry for the day. I remember writing it and stopping. I could not find any words that could describe my feelings. So I left the rest of the page blank. It was my way of paying tribute to my Mom because you cannot put into words the sadness of losing your Mother. But I can say that I have thought of her often, particularly when pondering alone late at night, or during moments of solitude during the day. I take great comfort from the words of prophets that I will see her again. I quote from a talk given by Gordon B. Hinckley in April of 1999 entitled “He Is Not Here, But Is Risen.”

“I have stood at the tomb of Napoleon in Paris, at the tomb of Lenin in Moscow, and before the burial places of many others of the great leaders of the earth. In their time they commanded armies, they ruled with almost omnipotent power, their very words brought terror into the hearts of people. I have reverently walked through some of the great cemeteries of the world. I have reflected quietly and thoughtfully as I have stood in the military cemetery in Manila in the Philippines where are buried some 17,000 Americans who gave their lives in the Second World War and where are remembered another 35,000 who died in the terrible battles of the Pacific and whose remains were never found. I have walked with reverence through the British cemetery on the outskirts of Rangoon, Burma, and noted the names of hundreds of young men who came from the villages, towns, and great cities of the British Isles and gave their lives in hot and distant places. I have strolled through old cemeteries in Asia and Europe and yet other places and reflected on the lives of those who were once buoyant and happy, who were creative and distinguished, who gave much to the world in which they lived. They have all passed into the oblivion of the grave. All who have lived upon the earth before us are now gone. They have left all behind as they have stepped over the threshold of silent death. None has escaped. All have walked their way to “the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns” (Hamlet, act 3, scene 1, lines 79­80). Shakespeare so described it.

But Jesus the Christ changed all that. Only a God could do what He did. He broke the bonds of death. He too had to die, but on the third day, following His burial, He rose from the grave, “the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20), and in so doing brought the blessing of the Resurrection to every one of us. Contemplating this wondrous thing, Paul declared: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55). ( 1999 April GC.)

Since that time Gordon B. Hinckley and his wife have joined those of which he spoke of that day. The road of this life will always come to an end. But I take great comfort in the words of prophets and apostles who testify that those that have gone on before us are alive in spirit, and will be resurrected come that glorious day. Without this great knowledge, I don’t know if I could handle the death of so many of my family. The pain of separation from loved ones would be intolerable. I am sure that I will see my Mom and all my other loved ones again. It will be a blessed reunion made possible by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


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