I am a Sweetheart to One and a Mommy to Four Loveable Babes, one of which is smiling down on us from Heaven. I am learning to dance in the rain. Come with me on my journey as I make the most out of Life's mud puddles.

Put on your rain boots. Great adventure lies ahead.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pay It Forward

I've entered a new phase. It's time to "Pay It Forward."

Last Wednesday, I received an email from a friend. She asked me if I would go and visit with a family that had tragically lost their little girl that morning. The child's unexpected death had left their family and neighborhood in shock and overcome with grief. I was asked to visit this Sweet Mother and offer her words of comfort given our recent loss of Bennett. I was humbled to be called and more than willing to offer whatever help I could.

I knew the gist of their schedule so I waited a couple of days. I knew there would be a heavy influx of family, friends and neighbors that would offer love, support, hugs, tears, gifts, food and words of comfort. I also knew that there would be those few that would offer unsolicited commentary on the scenerio, the "what if's" and the "could have beens."

Been there, done that.

There would also be much time spent at the mortuary picking out a casket and burial site, carressing and rocking their baby's body and preparing her for burial. Those moments are ones I'll cherish forever. I consider every moment I spent with Bennett before AND after his death a Gift. And those moments are no exception. Those tender hours that I was blessed to hold him after his passing were an opportunity for me to hold him close while my mind and heart came to terms with this unexpected circumstance. Was he there? No. That is, not in his body. He looked much different in Death than he did in Life (his body weight doubled after his autopsy). But I felt him close. Almost like he was standing next to me with his chubby little fingers on my knee.

Perhaps he was.

After much thought, I thought it would be appropriate to go over on Sunday. We knew that - due to the sacred nature of the Sabbath - much of the "to do's" would be put on a shelf and that perhaps the family would be more likely to be home. However, contrary to my "plan", Saturday evening came and I felt an impression (which I believe was from God) to pay them a visit.

As I approached the home with a gift in hand, I felt the oxygen leave my lungs when I saw a pink tricycle and mini car in front of the house. As this little girl was the only daughter in the household, I knew who those toys belonged to. My heart ached to the point of breaking for this Mother. I knew where she was now but - more poignantly - I knew what was ahead. More aching, questions, peace, gratitude, hope and grief than she could now imagine. A journey that I would not wish on anyone but one that has changed me all the same.

After three soft taps, the door opened and I was lead into the entry of the home while the Mother was called to greet me. Upon her entrance, I gently introduced myself as the Mother of Bennett, a fellow Angel who was called Home in January. When I shared his age, we quickly figured that our babes were born just two months apart. What a great year 2009 was for both of our families.

During our conversation, we spoke of many things. We discussed our broken hearts, the healing of our families, our empty arms that ached to hold our babes and the support we could be to one another. Then - before I left - I shared with her a book that has become a favorite in our home (A Promise Is A Promise). Without explaining the entire storyline, on the last page of the book is depicted a visual reminder of an eternal promise. A promise that I cling to. The promise that ALL that has been lost WILL be made whole. Not only our reunification with our Sweet Bennett, but the fulfillment of ALL the joys, experiences, memories and moments that we missed in this life. I don't how God will make it happen but I trust that He will and that it WILL BE.

What have I learned from this experience? I have learned that I have been called. Called to Comfort. Tragedy has deepened us in ways that only God can understand. And - in that understanding - we have gained a deeper level of empathy and compassion than we have ever known. Once you've gone to that place of I-can't-believe-this-is-happening-to-me, you are changed in an instant. Changed in a way that whenever you hear of another circumstance in the world, it becomes real to you. Each story has a human aspect. You know because you've been there. And behind every tragic story is a Person, Family and Heartache that is just waiting for your love, compassion and understanding.

And so you go.

Is it difficult? At times, yes. Our memories and emotions are still ultra close to the surface. And sometimes you wonder if you are prepared or if you are even jumping the gun when it comes to your own healing. But when I am following His promptings and trying my best to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort", I know I am where He would have me be. And that's all I need to know.

And during those moments, I can almost imagine two little blond haired, blue eyed toddlers running around our knees, so grateful that their Mommies have found each other.

And THAT is why I Pay It Forward.


  1. We just unexpectedly lost my father this past month at 55. While it's not quite the same loss that you have experienced it is the people like you, the ones who didn't know my dad and we're not very close to me, but showed up to offer their support after having been through the same that made me feel so much better. So much more like I could handle it, and that I wasn't alone. Bless you for supporting and helping another family in their time of loss!

  2. I feel your pain and know exactly how you feel! Once you have been there it almost helps you to help others. I love that I can also be in those circumstances. I know that things happen for reasons... but most importantly it's all in the attitude that we handle them! Hugs to you!

  3. Amanda this, this is one of the reasons we go through the difficult things in life. To be an example to others as you have been to me and many! As Gregg and I just found out the results of our Benjamins passing,and still have many unanswered questions. I began to wonder why through so many blessings and prayers that I have been told to also comfort and serve those in need? How and why when I can not even to comfort myself, and I feel as though I am drowning most days? Now I know through your example to ask and always have a prayer in my heart to find those in need, and he will guide me to the right times and situations that I can do the best comforting and maybe they will also comfort my own soul! Thank you sweet Amanda, it is funny that I still have not met you yet, but I love you to piece's already!

    Carli Nelson

  4. I am in awe of your ability to comfort others through your own grief, truly.

    I understood before how much one would want to dress and be with their loved one after death, but having recently buried my younger brother, my mom, sister and I, had the experience of dressing him, and though it was incredibly difficult, it was also incredibly spiritual as well. Something I would not have changed for the world.

    You are continually in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. I just wanted say, you are awesome! You give me a boost every time I read your blog! May you and your family be blessed!

  6. i love your words. Youare such a inspiration. that mother is lucky to have you. Ive missed your posts sweet cousin.


Thank you for being a part of my journey. I appreciate your supportive and healing comments. Here's to a Promise of Sunshine!