The last week was a hard one.
A family in our church congregation has been struggling with a lot of issues,
family deaths, health problems, and serious sickness, and last week their
12-year-old daughter took her own life.
As a mother, I was heartbroken, but as the Relief Society president,
I had to jump into action and help where and when needed.
Wednesday-Sunday, I was totally consumed with helping and arranging.
Together Jane and I visited their home to assess needs; clearly,
there was a lot!
The house was cluttered and messy.
Laundry in every nook and cranny of the house,
garbage everywhere, the kitchen needed decluttering,
and a live Christmas tree still stood drying in the corner of the living room
complete with decorations and lights.
I arranged for several sisters, including Jane and me,
to go into the home and deep clean.
We loaded up 20 giant black garbage bags full of
clothes that needed to be washed into my car and
I distributed them to other sisters in the congregation.
The family didn't even own a vacuum.
Serving with Jane was such a gift for me.
Seeing her help, love, and minister to my friend and her
the family was inspiring and beautiful, and I hope to never forget it.
I have been on the phone making arrangements, and it's taken
me away from my family, and Lottie has noticed.
Yesterday Christian took Oliver and Lottie to the church gym to play
basketball, then over to MacDonlands for lunch.
Oliver was really excited for Lod to try out the fish fillet sandwich.
Christian told me she had eaten a whole sandwich, including a giant
Dr. Pepper and french fries.
Later in the evening, I could tell Lottie wasn't doing so well.
She was acting squirmy, and every time I would say,
"Lottie, are you feeling ok?"
She would shoot back defensively,
Finally, at night when I suggested she get ready for bed, she was really
happy to go and didn't put up a fuss.
That's when I really knew something was up.
I followed her to her room and snuggled with her for a while, and asked
her what was really wrong.
She finally broke down and said her tummy hurt.
Then she began to shake and ask for me to say a prayer.
I called Christian to come up to her room, and we prayed
again, and she shared her faith with us in her 8-year-old way.
She said that sometimes when she doesn't feel good, she asks
Heavenly Father to send down the Holy Ghost to hold her hand.
She said, "I know the spirit doesn't actually hold my hand,
but I like to imagine he is." I melted.
Then she started to shake, and I picked her up and said that I
knew she didn't want to throw up, but that I thought her body really needed
to, and that she'd feel much better.
She resisted, and then I did something mean- but for her own good!
I reminded her of the fish sandwich she had eaten at lunch,
which worked immediately because she threw up within seconds.
In between heaves, she said to me,
"I will never eat boy food again!".
I know the food didn't sit right with her, but more than that, I think
she senses the stress and distance from me.
The Nies are so connected to me in every way.
Lottie lay on our couch in our bedroom, sleeping like a log with a big silver bowl nearby.
She looked peaceful, but I couldn't sleep.
I had so many thoughts and feelings pulsing through my mind.
So much uneasiness, worry, and frustration.
But looking at her sleeping comfortably put me at ease.
I need to remind myself that God is my father, and he doesn't want
me to suffer. He wants to guide me through the hard times,
He loves me and wants my happiness just like I wish for Lottie.
And for my friends in their situation, too.
Christian and Ollie, 2005,
before Ollie started eating "boy food."