On New Year’s Eve, 2017, I had the thought that 2018 was going to be my year. I even said it out loud to anyone who would listen. That thought was soon obliterated. January 2nd, 2018 goes down as the worst day of my life.
I received news I had never considered I’d hear. My brother-in-law called me to tell me that we lost my mom. It didn’t register with me at all. I actually thought my mom was lost. I even giggled envisioning her walking around town, disoriented and in her muumuu and winter boots. But devastatingly enough, that wasn’t what he meant. It was an out-of-body experience once I absorbed what was said to me. I let out noises I didn’t know I was capable of making. I dropped to my knees and felt absolutely shattered. I felt so blindsided, so betrayed. We did not expect this at all. Yes, her health wasn’t the best it had been, but we thought we had years left with her. My mom would always tell me that she was a tough ol’ broad. That always gave me reassurance she’d be around for a long time. My mom was invincible to me.
My beautiful mother was only 61. I was only 35. My husband and I had a 6, 3 and 1 year old. This wasn’t right. This made no sense. How? Why? WHY? When my kids would cry for me or ask for me, I would cry and say that I understood. I just wanted my mom. Moms make everything better. We will always need our moms. It’s a fact, regardless of how old you are or how dysfunctional your family might be. To say I was absolutely devastated and broken was an understatement. I felt so robbed. I was too young to lose my mom. She was my cheerleader. She was my safe place. She was a source of love, support, strength and laughter. I felt that my children were so robbed. My kids were too young to lose a grandparent. My little one year old, Lachlan, will have no memories of his Grandma Margi. I felt sorrow, regret and guilt for not having more pictures of the kids with their grandma, especially Lachlan. I felt ripped off knowing I only had one video of her. ONE! (Guilt is a real part of grief, by the way.) I just always thought I’d have more time.
It was all just too much. I felt so much. I even felt anger towards my Heavenly Father. I felt abandoned. I felt so very alone. Did I mention I felt anger? (Anger is also SUCH a real part of grief.)
For the first few days after my mom died, I would wake up in the middle of the night. I would wake up and then the realization would hit that my nightmare was actually my reality. I couldn’t fall back asleep. One particular morning, I woke up at 3 and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I looked on my phone, hoping to distract myself from my new reality. A cooking video came on my Facebook newsfeed. As soon as I saw butter melting in a pot, I was committed to view the finished product. It was comfort food in all its glory: chicken pot pie. I thought to myself how amazing it would be to eat some chicken pot pie. I certainly was in no position to make any food for my family other than pouring milk into a bowl full of cereal. Eating chicken pot pie was not in my future, or so I thought.
Within one day of each other, two friends brought me chicken pot pies. Not one, but two! Soup, lasagna, casseroles, pizzas and the like are typically the comfort food people will bring over when there is a celebration or tragedy. Chicken pot pie certainly hasn’t been on the list. This wasn’t a coincidence. It was a divine influence. I broke down and cried. I was incredibly touched. And it reaffirmed to me that God was mindful of me and loved me. It showed me that He cared about me in all ways, even my insignificant desire for chicken pot pie. I needed this reminder so much. I was also reminded that He didn’t withhold love from me because I was angry with Him. I didn’t feel abandoned. I felt completely loved.
I’m forever grateful for those two friends who recognized and followed a prompting to bring me a chicken pot pie. They ministered to me in ways they couldn’t imagine. They helped me feel my Heavenly Father’s unconditional love when I needed to feel it the most. Their actions helped strengthen my own testimony of God’s love.
Remember that song by Alabama called Angels Among Us? That song is so powerful and beautiful. The chorus gets me every time.
“Oh I believe there are, angels among us
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above
They come to you and me, in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love.”
I know firsthand that there are angels among us, both heavenly and earthly. This is one example, of many, where I’ve felt Heavenly Father’s love through other people. I’ve been blessed with that healing power of love. Because of this, I am trying harder than ever to pass that love along.
I’m trying to not shrug off those seemingly random thoughts. They are not random. They are promptings from the Holy Ghost. I am trying to recognize and follow through with those promptings. They might be the answer that someone struggling needs. I’m trying to not let my own insecurities or doubt get in the way of ministering. I’m certainly glad my earthly angels followed through.
Whether you have a feeling to take a chicken pot pie over, write a heartfelt card, or go grocery shopping for someone who doesn’t want to leave their house and face the world, PLEASE follow through with that feeling. I’m a recipient of all three, and more. I’m here to tell you that it has made a huge difference in my healing and grieving process. We shouldn’t downplay the difference we can make. We should be more like the Nike slogan and Just Do It.