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.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The One

Have you ever heard something that just made your stomach turn? I have. Last night. And it took me back to the early moments of my grief and the thoughtless things some people would say.

Let me explain.

While perusing the latest postings of a private facebook group, I read the leader's emotional post about the suicide of her 14 year old daughter's best friend. My. Heart. Broke. While my child passed away in a much different manner, my heart ached for the sweet Mother, Father, siblings and community affected by this tragedy. I can only imagine what they were feeling. My whole soul just heaved for them. Oh, the heartache.

What began as a heartfelt "live in the moment" post quickly turned into a soapbox rant on health and nutrition. Among other things, this woman (a dietitian) stated that "eating soda and junk food was no different than shooting yourself in the head." When I read those words, my stomach just flopped. Did she REALLY just compare this girl's tragic suicide to eating junk food and drinking soda? I. Was. Sick. I prayed that that Grieving Mother would never read that post. I can't imagine what she'd feel.

I too have had people innocently say things to me that acted as a sucker punch to the stomach. Words that left me reeling and only added to the overwhelming pain in my soul. That's an awful place to be.

I wish I knew this grieving family. I wish I could show up on their doorstep and just wrap my arms around them and cry. I mean really, really cry. It's amazing how much shared mourning can comfort the soul.

I speak from experience.

Bennett passed away on a quiet Saturday morning. The following Sunday, I was a mess and decided I wasn't quite ready to go to church and be approached by throngs and throngs of people. So we stayed home, held one another close and tried to eat enough to sustain life (we had no appetite) while we visited with countless friends, family members and neighbors that came to our home.

Minutes after our church meeting ended, we received a knock at the door. A moment later, a dear woman I had worked with in church entered the room - tears streaming down her face - and just swallowed me up in her arms. We both. just. sobbed. She cradled me as we wept together for what seemed a really long time. No impromptu speech was given. No rehearsed cliches were rendered. We just mourned together. And when we felt like we couldn't cry anymore, she gave me one more hug and simply walked out the door.

That's all.

I have said many times since that this dear friend TRULY did the perfect thing. She didn't stay away, not knowing what to say. She didn't avoid the subject when in my presence. She didn't share all the blanket statements you hear so often after losing a loved one. She just came to be with me and - together - we wept.

In the last year, my heart has changed. A lot. While I've always tried to be a good person, something inside me has just switched. In essence, the Light has turned on.

I have learned what compassion, charity and true service is at the feet of angels. Both in heaven AND on earth. And I am learning what it means to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort." I have tried to do that all my life but it's all different now. I have received quite the education. The tuition has been high, but the wisdom that I'm gaining is life changing.

Because I have been the One.

I have been the One to experience tragedy.
I have been the One that could scarcely breathe.
I have been the One that has known what it physically feels like to have a broken heart.
And I have been the One that has looked to the heavens, wondering if my Life would ever be the same.

But I ALSO have been the One to know comfort.
I have been the One to feel enveloped by a Peace that only God can give.
I have been the One to be the recipient of more love, prayers and quiet service than I could document in a lifetime.
And I have been the One who has come to know God in my extremities.

So my prayer is that when the opportunity presents itself, that I will act as my dear friend. I pray that I will not use the moment to philosophize, offer opinions or dwell on the "woulda coulda shoulda's".

But instead, I will embrace. I will weep. I will listen. I will share my love. I will do whatever can be done to lighten their load. And I will let them know that I will be there. For the long haul.

Because I too have been The One.


  1. Mandy, you write so beautifully, I hope you'll consider writing a book and/or doing motivational speaking one day. You and Bennett could help so many grieving people with your testimony, your love, and your compassion.

  2. Beautifully written, Amanda! Totally captured so many private conversations I have had in the last 24 hours! And made me cry -- for you, for them, for tender moments and mother hearts that yearn across the globe! And for the unifying power and strength that can come from a simple, "I'm sorry!" in so many situations. From mourning with those that mourn to repenting when you have done someone wrong. I love you -- truly, truly! :-)

  3. So beautiful! I love you and your beautiful family!

  4. Reminds me of this too: Job 2:11-13

    Even though they changed their hearts later I have always loved to visualize them just sitting with Job in his grief without feeling like they had to say anything. I think we all should try and have bigger ears and smaller mouths.

  5. Oh i just love you Amanda. Thank you for posting that. It truly touched me. Thinking of you always.

  6. Well said. I hope more people remember the Savior's words and follow them exactly. Too often the attitude toward grief is "Move along, nothing to see here." and uncomfortable things are shoved to the side like a car accident.

  7. “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
    ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

    Amanda, you are one of those beautiful people. Thank you once again for sharing. God bless you and your family.

  8. Thank you for this beautiful counsel and advice...it rings true to me and touches me very deeply tonight. One of my dearest friends lost her husband so unexpectedly last night. No explanation, no answers as of yet...he was 27 years old. They have a beautiful 16 month old baby girl, and she is 32 weeks along with their second. This afternoon I did not know what I could possibly say or do to be of any comfort to her, I just knew I had to go...to be there. So I did. I said nothing...I just climbed underneath the blanket with her, held her, and cried. For the remainder of the day, I listened and I wept. I will continue to go, continue to weep, and continue to listen...thank you, Mandy.
    Cassidy Clark

  9. My precious friend I wanted to let you know that last night was our Institute class and the subject was Service. On Facebook earlier in the day someone made a reference to your blog and I realized I hadn't been to your site in a while so I went there. This post was an answer to my prayers. One of the points I wanted to really emphasize was how our own fears, not knowing what to say, or just uncomfortable in some situations keep us from serving and comforting one another. I had my own profound experience in college that taught me the lesson you shared, but yours was so beautiful I closed our lesson last night reading this blog. Mandy you are truly a gifted writer. Add to that your incredibly deep and perceptive soul and every word you write touches me every time I read your blog. Yesterday your blog touched students who, as of now, can't fully comprehend the depth of your suffering, but they will never forget "the way" to mourn with someone perfectly. It's never been about the words, only heart speaking to heart. Thank you for your continued effort at sharing your learning along this difficult path. You blessed 150 kids and ME last night. I love you Mandy!!!


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