It had been a long nine months. In and out of the hospital the whole time. Sometimes spending only a few hours, others spending more than a week.
From the day she learned she was pregnant, she knew it was different. She would say to her husband, “Something isn’t right.” She never used the word wrong. That would be too much. Too strong. Too harsh. “Wrong” might make things worse. “Not right” would leave room for medical intervention. It would not be a final diagnosis.
This mother-to-be knew that what was going on in her body wasn’t like the other times. Not that she was an expert. After all, she’d only been pregnant two times and had one living child. And that pregnancy was far from “normal.”
Normal Is Relative
This mother would soon learn that normal is a relative term.
In less than a year she would learn that normal did not look like she thought it would look. During this pregnancy, this mother would be put to bed. She had a 4-year-old little boy. Her husband would do all the shopping. All the laundry. All the housecleaning and childrearing. And he would work his job.
She would leave the house one day a week for her weekly doctor’s appointment.
Friends to the Rescue
They came to the rescue with help and food. And they made phone calls to the preferred preschool that eventually made room for the 4-year-old.
Every Thursday a friend would drop off a meal. It was all prepped and ready to eat. All the husband had to do was set the table and serve the food. Her husband would later relate that Thursday was the one day he didn’t have to worry about what was for dinner. He went to work, picked up the child, came home and dinner was delivered.
There were no home meal delivery service back then. Just this friend.
The One Grieving
I am the person in this story. And I have never forgotten the person who brought a weekly meal. Nor have I forgotten what my husband said about Thursdays and not having to worry about meal preparation.
I gave birth to Amy, and she lived 4 days. The amount of food brought to our house was staggering. We had a lot of out of town family in, but we could not begin to eat it all. The food covered all the kitchen counters and filled the refrigerator. Finally, my sister and sister-in-law got it ready for the freezer. John and I did not have to cook for 2 months. It was a beautiful thing in the early days of grief.
Grief can swallow one whole and leave one lifeless. One has to choose to get up and be grateful. For the day and for the experience.
C. S. Lewis said, “No one ever told me grief felt so like fear.” And there were days that I was very afraid. Afraid of what would be and what was. How would I go about living? Through it all, I never stopped believing that God was trustworthy. That He was in control. Together we learned to be grateful for the life-changing experience.*
I have taken an occasional meal “just because.” To an overworked, overtired mom with 4 kids running in different directions. To a friend in a time of transition. When I live too far to send a meal I’ve sent a gift card to a restaurant. We often think about taking a meal when someone has died, has a new baby or is ill. But why don’t we think about taking a meal because we know someone is overworked, overtired, overbooked or some other “over?”
Several years after Amy died I had surgery. A dear friend brought a casserole that to this day is a favorite for a quick, easy meal that spells C-O-M-F-O-R-T F-O-O-D in all caps.
It is easy to prepare and can be frozen. Prepare the dish as directed. Instead of baking, wrap completely in plastic wrap and then double wrap in foil and freeze. To prepare frozen casserole, remove from freezer, place in fridge and let thaw for 24 hours. Remove foil and plastic wrap. Cover with fresh foil and bake. The refrigerated casserole will take longer to cook. And it’s a great way to use leftover turkey!
Serve with a salad and these brownies for a complete meal.
- 2 c. broken spaghetti
- 1/4 c. diced pimento
- 1/4 c. diced green pepper
- 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of mushroom soup (I use cream of chicken)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 c. grated Cheddar cheese (divided)
- 2 c. cooked turkey or chicken
- 1/2 c. diced onions
- 1 c. turkey or chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In 1 1/2 quart casserole combine turkey, pimento, green pepper, onions and spaghetti. Pour soup and broth over mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 1/4 cups of the cheese. Toss until well blended. Sprinkle top with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes. Makes 4 servings.
- You can double the recipe & put in 9x13 pan.