Angels Speak

The nausea started as soon as I got the call a week ago Monday. Jack had attacked a number of people at school, including a kindergartener, and had been taken by the police to juvenile detention.

It persisted through each follow-up phone call over the next week:

*the group home, apologizing as they said they can no long care for Jack

*the manifest meeting with the school team, where his teachers cried as they said they love Jack, but he is suspended from school (with at-home instruction of a teacher) for 45 days, or until we figure out a more appropriate education setting

*the Child Protective Services guy, who said someone (I know who) made a case for Jack being neglected (he’s not; what he is, is difficult to care for)

*the county court clerk, who called us about the charges the kindergartener’s parents are bringing against Jack; which, following a psychological evaluation, will be thrown out, but will prove to the state that Jack needs greater levels of funding for more intensive care

*the neuropsychiatric hospital, reinforcing that they don’t have room for Jack to be admitted

*one of the other group home providers, wanting to know the extent of Jack’s aggression before determining if they can take him into their care.

Things are in limbo as we decide what’s next for Jack. This moment does not come as a surprise to us. Since Jack was in the hospital during the month of December, Jeff and I knew his current placement would not last, despite everyone’s best efforts. He needed a change, and the recent behavior incidents have forced the issue.

But still, the nausea. Even when I truly believe God is driving the bus of Jack’s life, I can’t see just exactly how the future will unfold. I’m queasy and struggling to eat. And sleepless in the wee hours of the morning.

Also, my back and shoulders hurt, because they just do. At my physical therapy appointment this week, I stopped halfway through the exercises and said if I kept going, I was going to throw up. The PT and the assistant were sweet and concerned as they made me sit down, bustling around me with ice, pillows, and water. They told me to ease off on the frequency and intensity of my exercise routine while my life is in turmoil. And they massaged the knots out of my back before sending me on my way with their best wishes.

I feel moderately peaceful, at least on the surface, but my abdomen is telling me that subconsciously, there is a substantial level of worry which persists.

In the meantime, I’m teaching and grading, Henry had his first prom, and Charlie had his 10th birthday. Because life doesn’t stop for one kid and his uber extensive needs.

Reader, the crux of the nausea is this: my anguish has been tied up in the unknowns of Jack’s suffering.

He is lashing out. Is he miserable? He is aggressive. Is he in pain? He can’t speak. How deep is his frustration and suffering?

I’ve curled into a literal and figurative ball around this torment as I’ve worried about Jack.


Last week, my neighbor called, saying she needed to come see me.

I don’t know her well. She barely knows me. She was insistent. I said okay. We sat down in my living room late Friday night and this is what she said:

“I was told to come talk to you.”

“By who?” I asked.

“Jack.” she said, never breaking eye contact. “Jack came to me and told me to speak to you and tell you he is FINE.” She emphasized this word.

My initial response was complete disbelief, reinforced by all the reasons why this could not be. Yet, even as that thought materialized in my mind, an outside source pressed instantaneously and deeply into my psyche, overpowering my skepticism. It was a profound whisper that said, “This happened. Believe her.”

Warmth flowed through my arms and chest.

She proceeded to tell me that her whole life, she has experienced spirit-to-spirit communication with people who haven’t been born yet, who have died, who are in comas, and (apparently) who are disabled. It took her years to understand this for what it is–a spiritual gift which isn’t for her benefit, but to help people around her. She doesn’t talk about it, because you know. Awkward.

It happens when she’s sleeping and in a dream state. But, years of this have taught her, she’s not dreaming. She’s seeing people’s spirits. She doesn’t know them, but they come to her spirit because she knows someone who knows them. She wakes up and writes down whatever she saw, for accuracy.

She told me that Monday night of that week as she was sleeping, she saw Jack and he spoke to her without using words.

She didn’t at this point know that Monday was the day Jack lost his mind and went crazy at school.

We looked at each other, blinking.

“What did he look like?” I wanted to know.

She shrugged, “Like himself.” He looked like he currently looks. “But,” she continued, “He isn’t disabled. His spirit is NOT disabled. He is …” she paused, “remarkable.”

She proceeded to say that Jack told her to talk to me and tell me he is okay, that his spirit is not suffering. He wanted me to know that despite the chaotic events, he is fine.

My neighbor looked at me and nodded. Then she smiled softly.

It’s not really possible for me to verbalize the emotional relief I experienced at this moment. The tears spilled down my cheeks, the tension in my shoulders ebbed, the writhing pit of anguish in my belly disappeared.

Jack is not suffering.

Jack is inwardly at peace.

The things that are happening around him are simply things.

But Jack, my Jacky, is FINE.

There was an exquisite silence as I processed this.

After a time, I inhaled and exhaled. I told my neighbor that when Jeff and Peter gave Jack a blessing Tuesday night after the children’s hospital ER and before we returned him to his group home, I’d had a distinct impression as soon as Jeff started speaking. I heard a voice in my head say, “Jack is filling the measure of his creation.”

This gave me pause. “Filling the measure of one’s creation” is a phrase in my faith that we sometimes associate with animals in mortality. I salted it away and determined to think more on it. I did not yet understand.

My neighbor said, “I don’t have words to explain things, other than describing what I see. What I observed is that there is some level of separation between Jack–his body and his spirit.”

Whereas you and I are all in, so to speak–fully immersed in our physical bodies, she saw that Jack seems to be somewhat separate.

“It’s like he is watching himself on a movie,” she described.

He is filling the measure of his creation.

This phrase which had blasted into my brain during the healing blessing suddenly made sense to me.

His body is filling the measure of its creation. He was born and he is living, going through the experiences of his life. But Jack’s spirit is not trapped or imprisoned or in perpetual anguish, as I feared. His body is growing and eating and often hitting or biting people. But his spirit is…fine.

His spirit is beyond fine.

My torment is gone, replaced by the empty fullness of relief.

This is how I know, dear reader, that peace is real in impossible situations. Jesus carries the sorrow for us, while sending actual relief from anguish.

I just re-read in 2nd Nephi that “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost.” They straight up do. This is real to me. Even in the depths of the pit, God sends people to be with me.

Before she left, my neighbor said, “Jack isn’t just here for you. He is here to teach many people many things.”

This is the part that profoundly affected Jeff when I recounted the conversation after she left. He and I have always known this about Jack. But the fact that she said it was a confirmation of both Jack’s purpose and ours as his parents.

He is an eternal being. So are we. My dad is, too, though he’s currently separate from us.

I feel as though if I work toward it, God will lift off the top of my head and send a pillar of light to fill it with more understanding.

  22 comments for “Angels Speak

  1. Robyn
    March 15, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    This brought tears and lots of reflection. Thank you so much for sharing such a special experience.

  2. Noelle
    March 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    This is so incredibly beautiful and such a tender indication of how much God loves you. ❤️

  3. March 15, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Powerful testimony. Powerful spirit.
    So amazing.

  4. Sarah
    March 15, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    I read this and then I cried.

    Megan, this is how I felt while spending all those hours at Lucy’s hospital bedside. She was there, but she wasn’t always fully there. She was not trapped in her sick body, strapped in and helpless. She often had freedom and choices. It is awful feeling powerless over your own child’s situation. I get that part of your story very well. But oh, how amazing it is when clarity, and the Spirit, and love, hope, and faith all kick in and you can feel some peace. Love to you, friend.

  5. Missy Poppenger
    March 15, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    I am stunned at the beauty of this experience. Jack is a treasure as are you. Even in the midst of such pain concern and worry there are blessings. I am so grateful that you always share your truth.

  6. Jessica Searle
    March 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    What an incredible account and testimony. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Stacey
    March 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    What a blessing this experience is!

  8. Jennifer Walker
    March 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Just tears. And love.

  9. Angela Michelle
    March 15, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    What a beautiful experience.

  10. Cynthia
    March 15, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Wow! This story left me speechless

  11. March 15, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    What a beautiful and amazing experience. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Debbie
    March 15, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Wow! Just wow! I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. You have no idea how much I look up to you. You make me see things in such a clear light. Thank you for sharing this. This touched me more then you will ever know. ❤️ To you and your family.

  13. allysha
    March 15, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    I am fascinated by the multitude of spiritual gifts, especially the gifts I wouldn’t think of, but that make perfect sense. I have been thinking of you this week, and hoping you would be buoyed up. I cried reading this. How wonderful and amazing.

  14. Terry
    March 15, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Oh Megan. ? I’m so glad He sent some comfort to you. Love to you!

  15. Jean
    March 16, 2018 at 9:39 am

    In pioneer times, the term fulfilling the measure of creation was applied to men and women, and even the earth itself, in fulfilling the purposes of God.

  16. molly
    March 16, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    amazing, thank you for sharing the good and the hard. so inspiring.

  17. Barb
    March 16, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    This is so tender, I can’t even comprehend it. So special.

  18. Lauren
    March 16, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    You are brave to share this. And I’m glad you did. xo

  19. Vivian
    March 17, 2018 at 7:22 am

    I am always amazed at your spiritual depth and understanding. Thank you for sharing with others so we can learn, too. I’m so grateful you are at peace now. Know you are deeply loved. ❣️

  20. Carol Rich
    March 20, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Megan, I love your blog. I’ve written to you about my own struggle with a special needs, non verbal adult son.
    You are an awesome Mom. Don’t ever forget that. It’s so difficult to be the mother of children who have special needs. It’s difficult to know what’s right, what’s wrong, what to do. I struggle every day with those decisions.

    Might I suggest the Utah Developmental Center for living arrangements. I don’t know the current status on the center but my son resided there for many years when he was younger.

    We live in Ohio now and I can’t imagine Ohio authorities every taking a intellectually challenged individual to juvenile detention or someone pressing chargers. Nor, a provider who says they can’t help a person due to aggression. I am sorry you have been faced with all of that with Jack. Ohio must have better funding and services than Utah. I don’t know.

    If he can go to the Developmental Center in American Fork, services there might be able to properly handle his aggression. Does he take medication? If not, perhaps that’s an option. My son suffers from anxiety and when he is without medication, his self injurious behavior and aggression towards others is off the charts. Some psychiatric meds keep that at bay and help him to function at his day program and has given him a better quality of life.

    Warm wishes and thoughts to you and your family as you go through these challenges. Thank you for writing so openly and penning words that I have wanted for so long to put to paper myself. You are amazing.

  21. Jennie
    March 21, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing sounds so trite when you allow us to be part of this deeply spiritual moment, but thank you. It is a stunning reminder of spiritual gifts. I’m so glad you have this light and peace with Jack.

  22. Brittney Crabtree
    June 7, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    This means so much to me. I also have a non-verbal, sometimes violent, large, red-headed boy. He is 11 and, so far, we are still able to keep him in our home with his other siblings. I love your neighbor for being in tune and being blessed with such an amazing gift. I love her for being brave and sharing that gift with others, when they may (or may not) always believe her. I love you for sharing such personal things with the world. The good, the bad, the really ugly: all of it. I often think of your posts that you have written here. They help me and guide me and give me so much hope, especially on the difficult days.

    Once, I had a dear friend pull me aside at a book club, being held in my home, after watching my son run to and fro, my husband trying to chase him down and put him to bed without disturbing our meeting. She told me, like your neighbor, that she had a special gift and could see spirits on the other side of the veil from time to time. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “There are two others with Austin, following him around everywhere.” I immediately felt the power of her words and knew it was true. That was a wonderful little gift that I continue to cherish. I imagine your sweet Jack may have a friend or two following him around as well.

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