Friday, March 11, 2011
The Magic Blanket
In the last 7 weeks since Bennett's death, our family has received SO MANY kind, generous and thoughtful gifts. In fact, David and I have decided that it will take us the rest of our lives to "pay it forward". And - somehow - we're okay with that. Frankly, I can think of no better way to spend the rest of my days.
One particularly tender gift arrived in the mail just this week. It was from a mother whom I've never met who lives in another state. She too lost a child suddenly (interestingly enough, close to Bennett's age) and had to walk her children through the grief of losing their sister while she and her spouse where grieving themselves. In the box, she sent the softest, most luxurious blanket you have ever felt. It. Is. Heaven. In her note, she shared that after her daughter's death, a friend had given her a similar blanket with the insight that it was a Magic Blanket. When you were sad, lonely, hurting or missing your loved one, you could wrap this warm, soft blanket around you and - somehow - it would help you feel all the love and warmth of the memories you shared. What a Gift.
Well, this package arrived on a particularly interesting day. A day after I came down with a head cold, my girls followed suit and we were all achy and congested together. Of course, when feeling under the weather, emotions are ultra close to the surface. So, soon after coming home from school, my six year old curled up on the couch and burst into a torrent of tears. She cried because her tummy hurt. She cried because she had a sore throat. She cried because it was raining and she cried because she was missing her little brother. And - in that moment when Mommy wasn't up to par herself - there, few feet away, was the sweet package that I had retrieved from the mail that afternoon. I grabbed the velvety soft blanket and wrapped up my crumbling little girl, testifying to her of its "magic powers" while praying that she would feel the comfort she needed to get through that tender moment. And do you know what? It worked. It didn't change our situation and it didn't bring back her little brother, but - somehow - she felt better.
I've been thinking about the "Magic Blanket" ever since and have been trying to identify what exactly it was that made my little girl feel better. And I think I know the answer.
Last August, our oldest daughter Emma was baptised into our church. At her baptism, my mother shared a story that she also shared at my baptism years ago. In that story, a mother explains to a little girl why the Holy Ghost is referred to as The Comforter. As an object lesson, she grabs a soft, fluffy comforter from the linen closet and wraps it around her daughter and has her describe what she feels. Warm, protected, soft, loved. All adjectives of Comfort. Then she related those feelings to those felt from the Holy Ghost, our Heavenly Father's messenger of Comfort and Peace. THAT is how He sends us His love and lets us know that He is aware of us, loves us and is there to comfort us in any way we stand in need.
Our "Magic Blanket" is a physical reminder of a spiritual Gift given to us by a tender and loving Heavenly Father. He knows of the gaping hole in our family. He sees our broken hearts. In fact, I think there have been many times where He has wept with us. And yet, AND YET He loves us enough to allow these things to happen so we can grow. Can you imagine that? For this mother who wants all-things happy and wonderful for her babies and cringes at their every pain, I cannot. But HE is all wise and all knowing. Omnicient. And HE has a plan for our family. And - despite the difficulty of this path we are on - THIS is part of His plan. And we have made the choice to trust Him. Knowing that - in the end - all will be made whole again.
We recently ordered Bennett's headstone and are finalizing the images and wording that will be engraved on his memorial. On the back, there will be the final verse to a song played angelically on the harp (by his Aunt Sharla) at his funeral:
Be Still My Soul:
The hour is hastening on
When we shall be
Forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, Love's purest Joys restored.
Be Still, My Soul:
When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed
We Shall Meet At Last.
I believe in every word of that verse. I know those promises are true. And I cling to every one. I WILL hold Bennett again. This grief and loss we feel will not last forever. And our family will once again be made whole.
But for now, my Magic Blanket will have to do.