I recently received an email from a “Hard Times and Holy Places” reader which touched my heart. I’m glad that my new friend as found some encouragement during her very difficult trials. With her permission, I share portions of her message with you:
“October through January I was back and forth from Utah to Arizona helping care for my oldest daughter. We found out last October she had stage 4 gall bladder cancer and it was metastasized and systemic, so we knew we had only a few months left with her. She passed away on January 22, 2011. Two weeks before her passing, I was still in Arizona caring for my daughter when I got a call from my sister saying our mom (who was 94 years old) had suddenly taken a turn for the worse and they had to call hospice. She was in congestive heart failure and they only gave us a month at the most left with her. I came home from Arizona to say my good-byes to her and help care for her for a week, and then I was going to fly back down to be with my sweet daughter again. While I was home my son-in-law called to tell me my precious daughter had passed on. I was heartbroken because I never got to go back down and be with her again. Then 19 hours after that news my mom passed away.
On top of all of that, while I was home caring for my mom, my second daughter had to have gall bladder surgery, she had complications from an instrument breaking while they were doing the procedure and they had to open her up to go find the piece. Her heart rate and blood pressure bottomed out in the recovery room and we almost lost her.
Next sequence of events was that my fourth daughter had complications due to the stress from her heart problems, and so I was worried I was going to loose her, or at least end up at the hospital with her on top of everything else, and my third daughter had a divorce finalized and she left the church (after a Temple marriage).
I became very angry at God, and kept asking him why this all had to be happening to me. I do not have a companion. I have been a single mom for the past 25 years, so did not have anyone but my children to help me through these times; and I did not want to burden them because they were suffering also. I could not turn to my siblings and burden them because they were suffering also. I could not even turn to my mom for comfort, so I felt alone and helpless.
July was the 6 month mark of all of these happenings. I fell apart again, and I had not been back to church in four months because I let people in the church and their actions, or lack of actions get to me. I could not face people and their comments of "at least you have the gospel and know they are in a better place" or "just remember the Lord knows your strength and will not give you more than you can handle."
So chapters 8 & 9 were especially comforting to me. Your words about people making you feel horrible by what people thought was encouragement by saying Heavenly Father wouldn't give you more than you could handle made me cry. I loved your thoughts about the Atonement of Christ and that it is NOT true that we won't be given more than we can handle, and that is why Christ suffered for us; because he knew we could not handle it alone. I had felt like you that people were just pushing a knife deeper and deeper and causing me more pain and making it harder, and turning me away from them. And I said to myself, I really can not handle all of this. You gave me a new holy place in adding to the sentence that I can not handle it alone without letting Christ and his Atonement help me. You gave me a way to remember how to not be alone and helpless, because I can do it with Christ. I must now remember to not let the people of the church get to me, and to go back to church and ignore comments from people, because Christ is with me and he loves me, and is always there to help me when nobody else is.”
My prayers and heart go out to this sweet woman and to those who suffer so tremendously. I know that Christ loves each of us individually and infinitely. We never have to feel alone or without help.
I know he lives.