Church was interesting today. I'm the nursery leader and I like being tucked away with my cranky kids, goldfish, and Diet Coke hidden in a dark colored water bottle. It makes me feel safe. Today however I was asked to come into Relief Society for a few minutes and help with a lesson on service. My part? To compare two very different experiences I've had - one where the RS stepped up to the plate and served me well, and the other when the ball was dropped pretty hard. The person who asked specifically had in mind the time when my daughter Lily died and my feelings of abandonment. I was surprised how many people found me in the nursery room later to apologize and/or thank me for the information I had given them. So, I thought maybe I should pass it on to you. So here is a list of death do's and don'ts, written from a perspective of what I wish I would have said four years ago.
1. Don't tell me that I must have a greater appreciation of the Plan of Salvation and please for the love, don't tell me how comforting it must be to know my dead daughter is in a better place. There was nothing wrong with where she was...right next me.
2. Don't ignore me. I would rather you come up to me and give me a hug and tell me you have nothing to say than to watch you stare at me through the corner of my eye and make me feel like a bigger freak.
3. Please be careful when sharing faith promoting experiences. It hurts to hear that your cousin's child was in the hospital and the priesthood came and now everything is better. Don't you think I prayed? Don't you think I had the priesthood administer to my child? My knowledge and faith are on the rocks, no matter how strong I look or tell you I am.
4. When you talk to me, please be ready for me to either be very closed off or very ready to tell you everything. Please don't judge me. My feelings are raw and they are my feelings.
5. Deep inside I have a testimony and as much as it might make you feel better to bear your testimony to me that I will see my daughter again, chances are great that I don't want to hear it. The only thing I want is to see my daughter now.
6. Ice cream is always a good option. Especially if it comes with a friend who is willing to take you away from your house, pay for it, laugh with you and cry with you.
There you have it. Please remember that when the casseroles have run out, there are still plenty of opportunities to serve because service comes in many forms. Promise.