I was privileged to have a brief vision of my son, Paul, and myself that happened in the pre-mortal realm before we came to earth. In order to understand this experience, you need to know a little about us.
My son, Paul, was born in 1978 with severe cerebral palsy. During his entire 25 years of life, he had the motor skills of a baby. Paul could not control his arms, legs, head or neck muscles. This meant he could not hold up his head for more than a few seconds. He could not sit, crawl, or even roll over. He was spoon-fed soft solids and wore diapers.
He could not speak or communicate in any effective method other than facial expression, crying and vocalizations. He was totally helpless and dependent on others.
By the time Paul was two years old, I found myself in Springfield, Missouri, going through a divorce. My parents were dead, and my few remaining relatives and friends were in California, where I was raised. My situation was rather desperate, and I resented the fact that I was stuck raising this disabled child by myself with no help from anyone. I felt alone and abandoned.
A woman in my church befriended me. She had a grown son who also had cerebral palsy, and she understood what I was going through. She showed me love and compassion, as a mother would. She was also a blunt, outspoken woman, but so was I. We got along well.
One day, when I was feeling sorry for myself again, she got fed up with my pity party. With righteous indignation, she stood up and yelled, “Carol, you should get down on your knees and thank God every day for the privilege of being Paul’s mother!”
Her words startled me. But because they were spoken in love, the Holy Spirit was able to penetrate my heart. I let go of my resentment for the situation, and my heart filled with compassion for my son. This was a life altering experience for me. Although life was not easy, from then on, I did not resent my precious son.
Despite the fact that he could not talk, I knew Paul was intelligent. He could learn and feel things as any other growing child. Over the years, I read to him, took him on outings, played the piano and sang to him. The smiles on Paul’s face, or the intensity of his concentration, showed me that he loved all of these things!
As Paul grew, our heart-to-heart and spirit-to-spirit communication improved. I could better sense what he wanted, felt or thought. We grew very close.
By the time Paul was six years old, we were living in Utah. I could no longer care for this growing boy. I was suffering from a mysterious illness that years later would be diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I could barely take care of myself, let alone my severely disabled child. With great sorrow, I had to place Paul in a nursing home for a couple of years until I could to find him a better place to live.
When he was eight years old, Paul moved into the Connor Street Group Home, which was set up for disabled children. This was the best the State could offer, and it made me sad that this was the best we could expect for the remainder of his life.
I visited Paul as often as I could and sometimes took him on outings, but I only saw him three or four times a month. Paul missed me, and we both wished he could live with his mother.
One night, my heart was filled with sadness for Paul’s plight in life. Sobbing with grief, I knelt by my bed to pray. I asked God about my son’s future. My tears subsided, and the Holy Spirit enveloped me.
In my mind’s eye, I saw my son—not as the frail boy he was to me, but as the full grown adult spirit he was before coming to this earth. I was also in spirit form and had not yet been born. Paul, my son-to-be, stood facing me with his hands on my shoulders, and I felt the majesty of his pre-mortal spirit.
I looked up into his piercing eyes and handsome face. “Do not weep for me,” he said firmly. “Do not grieve for me.”
The vision lasted only a few moments, but in my heart and mind, I knew! Paul freely chose to come to earth in this body. He accepted this path with all of life’s challenges before he was born. I committed to be his mother and to care for him to the best of my ability.
Paul, knowing how my heart would ache, told me not to weep for him. He wanted me to understand that it was all right. He chose this and wanted me to be happy for him. I ended my prayer with gratitude to my Father in Heaven for sending this vision to comfort and enlighten me. In his wisdom, instead of showing me my son’s future, God showed me a moment from Paul’s past.
This changed my entire view of life. Whenever I started feeling sorry for Paul or myself, I remembered that we had freely chosen this earthly experience. I recalled the biblical story of the evil spirits who were cast out, preferring to live in the bodies of pigs rather than have no bodies at all. This insight helped me endure many trials and be grateful for the physical bodies we have.
Paul returned home to live with me when he was twelve, and we were both happy to be together again. As a young adult, he began to resemble the man I saw in vision years before.
During these years, Paul was often at death’s door and faced a choice—continue living in his decrepit body, or return home to his Father in Heaven. With great faith and courage, he decided to live, time and time again. I sensed that he did so out of love and concern for me.
At age 18, his heart stopped, and he went into a coma for a week. All who knew Paul were concerned. When he came out of the comma, he could barely move and could no longer smile. This loss made communication much harder, and it broke my heart.
Paul finally passed away a month before his 26th birthday. He had survived six full cardiac and respiratory arrests and many other challenges.
I am grateful for the privilege of being Paul’s mother. He blessed my life. Caring for him taught me the godly virtues of patience, tolerance and unconditional love. What greater gifts can a son give to his mother?
NOTE: Carol Edic, a musician and writer, is currently writing the full story of her life with Paul.