This summer after the birth and death of our daughter, Annie Rose, many wonderful families brought us meals, cookies, muffins, cupcakes – you name it, we gratefully received it all! It was such a blessing to not have to think about dinner plans for the first couple of months following Annie’s birth, and for our children to see in a tangible way how much the community cared for our family. I think that I’ve heard others say this before, but part of my grieving process very early on was that I had a hard time doing normal, everyday things. Take cooking a meal, for example: I would open the refrigerator, see that there was food inside, and say to myself, “I know that if I take these items out of the refrigerator, put them together in a pan, and cook them, somehow they will turn into a meal for my family. But I just can’t figure it out right now!”
Not only did these meals and goodies provide sustenance for my family when I couldn’t, but they also provided comfort, continuity, and a constant reminder that we were not in this thing called Grief alone. When I sat down to a delicious meal, I felt surrounded by those who had prepared it. The experience was so much more than just eating; it was, truly, an experience of communion with others, and a reminder that others were remembering Annie along with our family. For the first few weeks after Annie’s birth, I didn’t have any appetite, and had it been up to me I might not have eaten much wholesome food. With these meals, however, I ate what others provided for me, not only because I knew that I needed to eat for strength, but because I needed to know that others were taking care of me. For someone who can be stubbornly independent, this was a small miracle, and just one of the many ways that God provided for us. Every night, we made sure to thank God for the family that had prepared the meal for us, so that our children could remember to be grateful. I’m not sure that we got thank you notes out to all those who helped us during that time, but at least they were acknowledged in prayer!
May God bless you as you begin this week. Mary, Queen of Families, pray for us!