Yesterday, I called Deseret Book Store in Orem, Utah to see if they had Borrowed Angel on the shelves. I didn’t expect the person on the phone to say “yes,” and I definitely didn’t expect her to say, “Someone is buying it right now.” I didn’t plan my reaction. I simply responded with genuine happiness, losing all credibility as a “calm and collected” author by somewhat shrieking with excitement. When I heard the lady on the phone laughing, with a hint of confusion, I added, “Oh, sorry, I’m the author. I’m just excited!” After I hung up, I thought about how I probably should have played that off a little better…a little cooler… instead of revealing what a novice author I am. My husband and in-laws teasingly agreed.
But I thought about it more and you know what? I don’t take my reaction back. My response was pure and honest and when it comes to experiences relating to my son, Ty, I am a believer in being honest with my emotions. Honesty is what helped me heal as I blogged daily and weekly about the hard days, as well as the comfort I received. I certainly don’t want to stop now! I am so grateful for where I am in my life to be able to share Borrowed Angel with everyone. But I think it important to clarify my excitement in sharing Borrowed Angel. It is not to boast of my accomplishments or the things I have done to reach this point in my life. Rather, I hope that my family and friends and so many others who touched our lives during this time can feel my gratitude. When someone experiences a loss, no amount of words or actions can take away that pain in its entirety. There is a portion of darkness and sorrow on this journey. However, there is also joy, and that joy can be found through others. I feel so bonded to the people in my life at that time, and even to the new friends I’ve made who have come to know that part of my life second-hand. Borrowed Angel is not only about sharing the loss, but more importantly this joy.
I shed a few tears today, and they were the first sad tears I’ve cried in a while. Recently, my motivations for sharing Ty’s story were called into question by a grieving mother. Although I don’t know her personally, we are both participants in an online support group for mothers who have lost children. Yesterday, in the group, I shared my happiness about Borrowed Angel being shelved in book stores and mentioned its launch party set for Saturday. This grieving mother was appalled by my post, contesting that my celebration was inappropriate and should not have been shared in the support group. I sincerely apologized, recognizing the insensitivity, and understanding that we are all at different points on our grief spectrum. In actuality, I was just trying to share a genuinely happy milestone in my life. This mother later thanked me for my apology, but also added an additional browbeating when she suggested my post was intended only to brag about my accomplishments.
I offered no response and simply removed my post. No further negativity was needed in that grief group. I tried to shake off the hurtful sting of her attack all day, but the feeling lingered. At the end of the day I needed to talk it through and sought out my husband. And here I am, writing–because writing soothes my soul. I’ve been trying to figure out why her comments bother me so much. Do I agree with them? Should I be more angry? Does my excitement dishonor Ty’s legacy? Plainly, no. But I did realize that she is at least partially right: I am celebrating. However, despite the accuracy of her observation, she misunderstands my celebration. Borrowed Angel is not about me and what I have done–it is about sharing the tender memories that are inseparable from the tragic, heavy time in my life. I am celebrating. I am celebrating my growth. I am celebrating family and friendships. I am celebrating a loving Heavenly Father who stayed close to me in my time of need.
Yesterday, while speaking to Deseret Book on the phone, I lost my cool. But it’s ok. Happiness deserves to be celebrated.