Early one morning last year, around 3 a.m. as she is prone to do, my wife woke me up. She had a very pressing question. “What was the name of that president with the top hat and the beard?” I replied that she must be talking about Abraham Lincoln. My wife has always been a dreamer, it is one of her spiritual gifts. Over the last two or three years, her dreams have been ever more frequent and impactful as she has submitted herself completely to the will of our Heavenly Father. One of my spiritual gifts is the gift of faith. We are a perfect match. I chide my wife because I believe more in what she sees than even she does sometimes.
That particular morning, my wife related to me that she had seen a baby crying, a little boy. He was sad that he had no one to play with. He showed my wife a picture of Abraham Lincoln on one hand and the number 49 in the other. Paola wondered what the number meant and asked me what I thought. The only thing that came to mind was that 49 is seven squared.
We have had numerous discussions over the last year about the meaning of that dream. We have been married nearly two decades and had 4 boys by our mid-twenties. The doctor who delivered our fourth was negligent to the extreme and nearly killed my wife. We were young and naive, and the word malpractice never entered our conscience. But it scarred my wife, and it was another 6 years before we welcomed our 5th son to the family. He is now six years old and struggles with autism. We are “old” and our older four boys are teenagers. We have talked on and off about having more kids, but the lure of seeing the “finish line” is strong. Our financial situation over the years has ranged from bad to worse, and it has had at least some factor in our decision making (though apparently not much the first six years).
My kids are weird. They’ve been nagging for more brothers and sisters for years. I don’t think 20 would be enough for them. They truly are the peculiar people the Lord spoke of in the Old Testament. So we began talking to them about Abraham. Heaven knows I would never have chosen that name myself, but the baby seemed intent that we know his name. Did he mean that he would be the 7th child and was crying because we wouldn’t or couldn’t have that many? Or the 49th? LOL. But regardless, there hasn’t been nary a day the last several months, the name Abe didn’t cross the lips of at least one of our kids.
In the meantime, the 4 a.m. wakeup calls continued periodically. Paola had several more dreams about Abe, but in nearly every dream since, she has dreamt of holding a little girl. Was Abe crying in the first dream because we were going to have a girl and he would be wanting for attention? The thing with dreams or visions, is many times the meaning comes clear after the fact. Yes, they can be to warn or guide, but the future is fixed and most of the time they serve as testimonies of promises kept. Just like with prophecies in the scriptures, it is easier to see them unfolding with the luxury of hindsight. Very few people knew the greatest events in world history were happening in the moment they happened.
My wife and I chose the name Abigail or Abby 18 years ago when we were deciding girl names for our first child. That name has sat in the cupboard, waiting to be used since then. When the baby girl in the dream started to pop up, our kids glommed on to the idea of having Abe and Abby in our home. We didn’t know how or when, but it has been almost a sure fact for us for some time.
On Monday, June 26, 2023, our three oldest sons headed out for FSY, a weeklong church youth camp. It was also the same day my wife went into the doctor’s office for her first ultrasound. She was 8 weeks pregnant. At 10:12 a.m. I received a text message from her. “Babe. They can’t find a heartbeat.” The nurse said that the doctor would be in shortly and they would run additional tests to verify. My wife went in to the restroom while she waited. It was then the Spirit spoke to her. “You already know what happened.” She was reminded of a dream she had a few weeks earlier. In the dream she saw a baby in a car seat, the baby was very deformed but he smiled at her. She was told, “this is the way it has to be, he was extremely disabled. He was a boy.”
As Paola got in the car she said a prayer of gratitude and told the Lord that even though our situation wasn’t ideal she loved her baby. It was then that she heard Abe’s voice saying, “I love you, mom.” He was now a young man, about the age of our oldest son, with similar features. He is tall and a little more blonde and a lighter complexion than Joseph, our 18-year-old. His voice was similar to Joseph’s, but distinct. My wife could tell the difference and knew her son intimately as only a mother can.
We determined not to break the news to our kids until they had returned from camp. When they were leaving, they teased their mother that she was about to find out she was pregnant with twins. It was something they constantly needled her about. She didn’t think she could handle twins and cringed at the thought. It was a worry that they would inquire about how the appointment had gone before we were ready to break the bad news.
In the meantime, Abe was around us. “This son is a bigger nag than Joseph!” my wife complained through tears on Wednesday. I was just surprised she didn’t say he was a bigger nag than Hyrum, our 14-year-old. She was resting that morning, in physical pain from the delivery and in emotional anguish from the loss of our beautiful boy. “Mom, get up. We have a lot of work to do,” Abe said to Paola. “This is the way it was supposed to be. Everything that has happened has been part of the plan. Everything. We will be together again.”
Late Wednesday evening, Joseph called us from camp. “The Spirit told me to call you and ask about the baby. What’s going on?” My wife told him it was just one baby, not two, and was going to leave it at that. That wasn’t good enough for Joseph. He insisted on finding out what was going on until Paola broke down and told him. He wept with us then, and again on Thursday night. On the Thursday call, he told us that he had felt Abe come to him earlier in the day – “I will always be here with you.” he promised.
On Saturday, we welcomed the kids home from camp and brought them into our bedroom. After exchanging pleasantries, I broke the news about Abe to the children. My heart broke as I saw tears fill Matthew’s eyes, my 12-year-old. Joseph stood next to him and put his arm around him. Joshua, our 16-year-old, stood quietly in the corner, processing the information. He has always been quiet and reserved, and one not for hugging. He has made tremendous strides in the last year socially and spiritually. He has quietly began reading from the New Testament and doing individual Come, Follow Me study. Joseph and Joshua frequently share scriptures with each other via text, and I heard he had a wonderful week at camp.
Hyrum is a social butterfly. He’s a little too cool for school and sometimes we worry about him, but he really is a great kid. I only remember seeing him cry once when I came down a little too hard on him, but he was very emotional about the news as his mother shared her insights. Joseph shared an impromptu testimony about our forever family and told his brothers about Abe’s visit to him a couple of days earlier. All four of our older boys gathered around my wife and hugged her together, then gave each other a group hug. It was truly a blessing for me to see and witness.
Hyrum later told us that he was so emotional because he was so looking forward to being with Abe and that on Thursday night during a testimony meeting, he had heard an audible voice that said, “I love you Hyrum, I will be with you always.” It was a voice that he’d never heard before, but familiar. When he looked up, he felt the presence of a young man, again with the appearance of my oldest son, standing right in front of him. The Spirit dwelt upon him, and became emotional for reasons he didn’t understand. He pondered on the meaning of it for 36 hours, not knowing exactly what had occurred until we told him what had happened. It was another testimony, and another witness for all of us.
Joseph then shared that while he was packing on Friday and getting ready to go home, he was determined to make some changes and help his brothers along. As it so often happens, the enemy entered in and made him feel overwhelmed and discouraged. It was too big of a challenge to walk as straight and steady as he desired. At this moment of weakness, he heard his brother again: “I will always be with you. I will help you.”
In every interaction that we had with Abe prior to this week, it was of him as a little baby. And ever since Monday, he has always appeared as a strong young man. Before this week, he resided with our Father in the premortal realm, and now, having been given a body, is in the post-mortal Spirit World. He did not need to be tested in this life, and does not need any saving ordinances. He doesn’t need to choose whether he will follow Christ or not, and thus is in this world but having never experienced the removal of the veil. He remembers the covenants we made prior to coming here as a family, he knows of the trials we have faced and will face in the future. He knows of our choices prior to coming here. He has made it clear to us that this is part of the plan, and everything we have faced until now was part of our plan. And he has made it clear that he is here to help us. “We have a lot of work to do.”
My initial thoughts included the fact that my 6th son turned out to be my first missionary. Joseph is putting his papers together right now to go on a mission, and his imminent service has been forefront on our minds. I envisioned my son teaching some of my friends who have passed on, I wondered about his companion perhaps being my grandfather, who I know is tasked with watching over me. As the week has gone on, I’ve began to wonder if his mission is simply to be with us. I’m sure we will have further light given to us with the passing of time.
As Latter-day Saints, we have a universe of light and understanding not even touched by other faiths. We believe we are eternal beings – meaning we existed forever before this life and will continue to do so after. And yet, our understanding of our premortal life is a spec of dust compared to what is actually out there to know. The same goes for our understanding of the Spirit World and what occurs post-judgment. The Lord is standing before us, waiting to open the windows of heaven, to reveal the mysteries of the universe – and yet we interpret too much of the scriptures with temporal eyes, with temporal blessings in mind, rather than the vastness our Father offers.
Our hope in sharing this is that you can have questions answered that you may not have even thought of before, that it may open up a new world of revelation you never thought possible. I have come to know many truths through these experiences. I hope to share more insights with you in the coming weeks as we continue to have our eyes opened to the meaning of what has been shown to us. As much as we have shared in this blog, it is but a fraction of what we have seen and heard. We have several family members and friends who have gone through the pain of miscarriage, and we hope what little we have shared can be of value to them and others.
Our son exudes light and love, beyond that of any being we have ever met in this mortal existence. He was only 8 weeks old – not even big enough for the doctors to determine his gender – and yet we knew him and loved him and mourn him and celebrate him because he has been eternally with us. He is truly a gift from our Father in Heaven.
We love you Abraham Turner,
Love, Mom and Dad