It’s hard to even find words to begin writing this. These are the types of things we don’t plan on ever writing, at least not now.
During my high school years, while I was beginning to learn about the Church, I grew close to a very special family, the Brandts. The father of the family, Mike, was my go-to guy for all the questions that I ever had about the Church. He would invite me over for dinner, and afterward we would sit at the kitchen table for hours, diving into the scriptures and finding answers to my questions. He was a mentor, a confidant, and a role model for the rest of my life.
He continued to teach me as I progressed in the Church, ordaining me to the Aaronic Priesthood shortly after my baptism and escorting me through the temple during my endowment. His letters to me while I was a missionary were fatherly. I attended every one of his institute classes that I was able to make after my mission. Most everything I learned about the Savior and His restored gospel I learned from Mike Brandt.
Not only did Mike treat me as a member of the family and a son, but so did his family. Anyone who walks into their home feels a special kind of love from everyone there.
On Sunday, August 7, Mike and two of his children, Ashley and Carlan, unexpectedly and suddenly lost their lives in a car accident as they traveled home to Las Vegas from a family reunion. Ashely was a newlywed, her husband surviving the accident, and Carlan had just returned from his missionary service in Alabama a week earlier. Mike’s wife, Joy, survived the accident as well.
Though there is no doubt that these three are with their Savior living in eternal joy, those they left behind here in mortality, myself included, still long to see them and spend time with them.
“Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection–Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.”
“And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.” -Alma 40:11-12 (Book of Mormon)
As life goes on, those who experience such sudden loss often ask the question, “Why?” Why do some people die after a long life, and some so early?
Of all the things I’ve read, I’ve found the most comfort from President Spencer W. Kimball.
“If we say that early death is a calamity, disaster, or tragedy, would it not be saying that mortality is preferable to earlier entrance into the spirit world and to eventual salvation and exaltation? If mortality be the perfect state, then death would be a frustration, but the gospel teaches us there is no tragedy in death, but only in sin. “… blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. …” (See D&C 63:49.)”
There is no tragedy in the loss of my friends, for they were rock solid in their faith. They knew their Savior and His gospel. They loved it, and they lived it. They died in the Lord, and for that they will be forever blessed. Their legacy continues on and their examples will never be forgotten.
For those who are mourning the loss of those they love who died suddenly and unexpectedly, remember with me the One who is with them now. Jesus Christ died so that we might live. Their loss is not a forever goodbye, but just a small time apart until we meet them again in glory and eternal life.
“Jesus said unto [Martha], I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” -John 11:25-26
A GoFundMe account has been created for the family.