Why Was My Life Preserved?

“Why Was My Life Preserved?” Liahona, June 2002, 44–45

Why Was My Life Preserved?

As I looked back on my earliest experiences growing up in Cuba, one memory always stood out. I could vividly picture my beloved little brother Raúl being sick. I could see my mother caring for him, periodically crying desperately, and my grandmother frantically seeking help. I could see the whole family bending over his bed, weeping. I always seemed to witness my brother’s pain and my family’s tears from some high perch. For some reason, that scene remained in my memory, but I never talked about it.

When I was 10 years old, my mother died, leaving five children. I grieved over her death, but it was even more painful to watch as my brothers and sisters and I were split up. No one wanted to take all five of us, so each set of grandparents took two children, and my father’s sister took my youngest brother, Orlando. Because of my rebelliousness, I was eventually sent to a school for orphans, where I grew up sad, alone, and bitter.

When I turned 16 I began looking for my brothers and sisters. I found only three of them because Orlando had moved with my aunt to the United States. Then, not long after I had located him, Raúl was electrocuted while learning to work as an electrician.

Shaken by the loss, I confided to my grandmother my memory of Raúl’s sickness. My grandmother asked, “What are you talking about? Raúl was not ill. That was you. One night you became so sick the doctor gave you up for dead. We were in despair and wept over your bed. We never knew why your heart started beating again.”

I was so shocked I didn’t ask my grandmother for more information, but questions about the meaning of life began to torment me: Why had my life been preserved? What was I to do? What did it all mean?

Ten years later, I moved to the United States. There I found my brother Orlando. But I had yet to find the answers to my questions. I began seeking answers in various churches. But though each contributed bits and pieces, none of them had all the answers I needed. I prayed that God would help me come to know the truth.

Then one day in the spring of 1986, Latter-day Saint missionaries came to my house. They answered every question I had. And when I studied the Book of Mormon, I was moved to tears by the testimony I gained of its truthfulness. I was baptized in July. A little more than a year later, I arranged for Raúl’s vicarious baptism in the temple. Then he and I were sealed to our parents forever.

Finding the gospel has changed my life. Surrounded by my brothers and sisters in the gospel, I have never felt lonely since. I understand that my life has a purpose and that, as long as we rely on the Lord, pain can teach and strengthen us.

I find joy in the expectation that members of my family are waiting for me beyond the veil of mortality. I know that someday my spirit will leave my body again. But I know that because of Jesus Christ my spirit and my body will one day be forever reunited, and I can live with Him and with my family eternally.