Peace I Leave with You
April 1983

“Peace I Leave with You,” Ensign, Apr. 1983, 30–31

“Peace I Leave with You”

One warm Saturday in March, I was awakened by the morning sun shining in my face. While the rest of the family slept, I dressed and walked around the yard we were landscaping. The marigolds and rosebushes were waiting to be planted. We had collected flat rocks for a walk alongside the driveway. The wildflowers with their variety of colors were in bloom. As I viewed the landscaping and our new home with all its projects, I felt a gratitude for the beauties of the earth and the happiness with which we had been blessed.

My husband and I were celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary, and we spent the rest of the day together. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant. We reflected on our years together, our conversion to the Church, the birth of our seven children, the goals and dreams we had realized. We remembered with fondness kneeling at the altar in the Salt Lake Temple nine years before.

At the completion of our day, we prepared to attend the Saturday night session of stake conference. As we backed out of the driveway, I turned to Phil and asked, “Are you sure I look all right in this bright red blouse?”

He replied, “You look beautiful in anything you have on!”

Those were the last words I remember my husband speaking to me.

As we drove down the boulevard toward the meetinghouse, a pickup truck pulled into our lane of traffic. The driver had attempted to pass several cars at a blind spot in the road. All efforts to avoid the head-on collision failed. Phil saw that the accident could not be prevented, and he threw himself across my body as protection for me.

The next sound I heard was the rescue squad cutting the metal of our car. As I regained consciousness, I knew that my husband was gone. No one had to tell me. Yet as that knowledge came to me, a peaceful, calm spirit filled my whole body. “Phil is gone,” the Spirit whispered to me. “Everything will be all right. Your life is in my hands.”

In the midst of all the confusion, concern, and great loss, I understood as never before the peace to which Christ referred when he said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.)

I had suffered a broken neck and several other injuries. But on the noisy ride to the hospital as I was questioned by the medical personnel and felt the concern of my bishop and stake president, I remained at peace. “Why is everyone so worried?” I wondered. “Don’t they know everything will be all right?”

It was this peace that allowed me in a semi-conscious state to remind the children to have family prayer and to continue to hold family home evening. Our daughters, fully aware of their loss, but reassured by my words, arose the next morning, dressed their younger brothers, and attended stake conference because, as they explained, “That is what dad would want us to do.”

When I returned home from the hospital, the anniversary card Phil had given me was lying on our dresser where I had left it four weeks before. I once again felt the Spirit of peace as I reread the words he had written: “I can’t comprehend what it will be like as this happiness and love continue to grow throughout the eternities. Much love, Phil.”

  • Edith Rockwood, mother of six, teaches Sunday School in her Orem, Utah, ward.

Illustrated by Richard Brown