Something you probably didn’t know about my book, Borrowed Angel: I considered titling it “Like a Willow” because of the symbolic nature of this gorgeous willow tree that was planted on our behalf. This willow didn’t always look like this. In fact, it once was so scrawny with wispy branches that it barely looked like much.
Excerpt from Borrowed Angel, Coping With the Loss of a Child:
When I reflect on the ups and downs of grief and healing, I cannot help but remember a certain willow tree. A few days after Ty’s funeral, Karl (the recreation therapist from Telos, where I worked) invited Dan and me to attend a memorial in Ty’s honor. All of the teenage boys and the employees also attended. With his hand on the trunk of a small, potted willow tree, Karl explained that the grassy area where we stood would be landscaped into a beautiful “peace garden.” Here the tree would grow and bloom until it could offer shade and a quiet place for people to go when they were feeling sad or in need of comfort. Each of us present, including some of my immediate family members, took turns shoveling dirt around the potted willow. When the pit that held the willow was filled, Karl let go of the trunk and said, “Look how well this tree stands on its own when it is supported.”
Not only did that tree stand on its own, but it continued to grow and bloom. By the start of summer, those flimsy, scraggly branches began to sprout lime-colored leaves. I remember having a conversation with a coworker, who commented with satisfaction, “I was worried the willow wouldn’t survive the cold spring.” I laughed and thought to myself, “I know exactly what you mean.” The willow tree did survive that chilly spring and remains today, growing taller and fuller with every year that passes. It stands as a symbol of hope and comfort, a promise of life in the spring.
The photo of the grown willow tree was taken in July 2014. I have the opportunity to visit Utah a few times a year. When I make it there during spring and summer, I always stop by and take a picture of that willow tree, reminding me how far I’ve come, and how much life and hope remains in my future.
Borrowed Angel is the poignant story of a mother who lost her first child to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In this captivating book, the author describes her journey through the gauntlet of grief and reveals how hope can be found even amid tragedy. Weaving spirituality with a practical approach to healing, Borrowed Angel reflects on motherhood, the grieving process, and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.