I think that was the hardest thing for me to come to terms with throughout all of this.
Also, I was afraid--no, TERRIFIED--that everyone (including myself) would forget him.
So we made a book about him and his life. His LIFE, you ask? Yep...more like his ETERNAL life, really.
My mother in law pretty much spear-headed the whole project. She has a way with words and loves to write poetry. She's a lot like my husband, where thoughts come directly from above into her mind, so she writes them down. My husband does this with priesthood blessings--it's almost like a portal is open between him and the heavens and he speaks exactly what Heavenly Father needs to tell him.
If you haven't figured it out by now, this whole blog post is going to be pretty churchy. That's kind of how this whole experience went with Dean. A divinely driven journey that grew us spiritually together as a family. And this experience gave us a little glimpse into a deeper understanding of life and love that this world can't offer, and how families really are FOREVER.
And now for his story.
Written by my mother in law, through the eyes of my sweet Angel, Gary Dean Martin:
Gary Dean Martin
"My name is Gary Dean Martin and this is my story.
It may not be a long story, but it is an eternal story.
I am the 5th child of Brent and Erin Martin. I have two brothers, Tanner and Decker. I have two sisters, Lilly and Daisy.
I was so excited to join my forever family! But I am getting ahead of myself...
I need to start at the very beginning..."
|My mommy and daddy holding me in the hospital|
"Before we are born, we lived with our Heavenly Parents and their other spirit children. It is here we were taught our Heavenly Father's plan and what mortality would be like. Our time with Heavenly Father was such a special time for we were surrounded by love, harmony and peace. We were told it would not be like that on earth, that there would be opposition in all things. We were taught of the struggle between Lucifer's plan and our elder brother, Jesus Christ's plan. I was there and shouted "Hosanna, Hosanna" along with the other heavenly hosts. What a glorious time that was!"
"I continued along my path toward mortality, and progressing as far as I could without an earthly body. I was so looking forward to my mortal experience.
As I was anticipating the beginning of my earthly existence, a heavenly messenger came to deliver a message from the Father. He told me of Heavenly Father's love for me and that He was aware of the desires of my heart. Heavenly Father was well pleased with my progress in my Heavenly home. I was instructed that I would receive a body but it would be imperfect. I was also told about my family and how they were looking forward to having me join them. I was surprised when I was told I had a choice as to whether I would accept this body. Even before mortality, we have our agency to choose for ourselves."
"I pondered his words in my heart and I knew the consequences of this choice. I knew I was being sent to choice parents and would be theirs eternally. I also knew that it would break their hearts to never know me in mortality. I knew I would have been loved by my brothers and sisters just as I love them now. I also knew that if I lived, my body would have some serious challenges. I would have accepted that for a chance at life on earth. But I also knew that my mission was to receive my mortal body and return to my Heavenly Father and continue His work on this side of the veil."
"There was a part of me that wanted to say, "But I want a perfect body. I want to live with my family, to play and grow with Tanner, Lilly, Daisy and Decker."
"However, I was taught well the blessings of obedience and sacrifice. I was taught of Jesus Christ, our beloved elder brother, our Redeemer, our Savior. I was witness to His life here on earth and His ultimate sacrifice for all of Heavenly Father's children. How could I be witness to this and so many other great examples of sacrifice and accepting Father's will, and not be willing to say, "Thy will be done"?
And so it was decided."
"I was given one special opportunity before my short time in mortality began. My mommy, Erin, was asked to play Mary in the Stake Nativity program in December (one month before she discovered she was pregnant with me). She sang the most beautiful song to the baby doll representing the infant Christ. As she cupped His little bottom and patted His back, the veil parted and I was there--being held and loved by my earthly mother.
Her love was so pure and so strong--I knew what it would have been like if I had lived. I wonder if she knew that's why she didn't want to leave the baby doll by itself that first performance night. I am eternally grateful to have felt her love for the Savior and for me that night.
(Below is an audio version of Erin singing "Mary's Lullaby" from one of the rehearsals)
|Our Little Bean|
|Clockwise: Mommom Kathi, Papa John Dean, Nana Katie and Papa Gary|
|Love is a soft and cozy blanket to snuggle in.|
"I was lovingly wrapped up and then my mommy held me for the first and last time. I knew her heart was breaking as the numbness of grief settled in."
"It was so hard to watch my parents and grandparents grieve over my loss. I couldn't help but think again of Heavenly Father's grief as he watched His Son suffer for all of mankind."
"He took upon the heartache and suffering of my parents so they could have their burden lifted by Him. My heart soared as I reflected on this truth. I know my Redeemer lives and I know I will have the opportunity to be raised by my earthly parents."
"Like the intense fire that transforms iron into steel, as we remain faithful during the fiery trial of our faith, we are spiritually refined and strengthened." --Elder Niel L. Anderson, Oct Conference 2012
"A man from the mortuary came to the hospital room carrying a white wicker cradle. My daddy gently laid me to rest inside. No one wanted to see me leave. Mommy told the man to be sure to take good care of me. He understood her pain and concern, and said that he would. Daddy walked down with him and my mortal body was taken away.
In so many ways I wish my story could have ended with "and they lived happily ever after," but my story is not a fairy tale and mortality is our testing ground.
For some of Father's spirit children, earth life lasts many, many years. For others, it ends all too soon. We must live by faith and accept the Father's will in all things.
Just as my heartbeat was a witness to my life here on earth, it also was a testimony to my passing through the veil. My little heart had endured enough and was stilled.
My mission was complete and I was called Home to continue my Father's work on the other side of the veil."
We are blessed to be an eternal family."
Part two of Dean's story will be continued...