My Relief Society held a service auction two months ago. Sisters were asked to donate items in the form of time and talent, so I offered to write a poem for anyone for any occasion. I missed the actual event, but afterward one of my cul de sac neighbors informed me that she'd purchased it for 10 points (a low-bid item), and that she wanted me to write a poem for Christmas for her mother who was recently unexpectedly widowed. I've thought a lot about what I could write, and finally, not feeling that I had adequate inspiration asked my neighbor for more details to give me the needed insight. She sent this:
"There are a lot of things going on right now, and I'm a writer myself; being brief isn't one of my strong suits, so please bear with me. Basically with the passing of my father, things are just piling on top of her and she's feeling a lot of different things right now. One of them is that with my sister being married in June, this was going to be "their" time to be together. She is his second wife, so my Dad already had three boys when they married,and then they had us, so with my younger sister being married they were "done" with the raising kids part of life and finally would have time to just be them and focus on themselves. My Dad is sealed to his first wife also, so she struggles with the fact that even after she is reunited with him, it might not be the two of them still. She feels she's lost her chance at that. We talk a lot about how we don't know what will happen and that Heavenly Father won't put us in a situation we're unhappy with, but in a way that feels like a cop out to her, and we can't help having a mortal perspective right now. Another thing is that my parents were very very close. My dad is the most Christlike person I have ever met. I know people tend to put those who have passed on a pedestal, but he really is the best man that I know. He didn't have any really big character flaws, he was kind, he did everything for my mother, not because she demanded it but because he loved to serve her. He worked from home, so they were literally never more than 10 feet apart. Whenever she was home, just hanging out, he was there, and working in the background. Even growing up, and moving out of her own home she never lived alone, she always lived with friends and then was a live-in nanny for a few families (that's how she met my dad, although of course she never really knew him until after his first wife passed. She and Linda were closer than sisters, too, actually. It's a really sweet story.) and then of course, she married my Dad. October would have been their 25th anniversary. So being alone is a huge struggle for her. She does have a testimony of the gospel, but my Dad was her rock. It is really hard for her to go it alone. With all the other financial troubles that my father's death has brought upon her it is easy for her to feel discouraged and that Heavenly Father has forgotten her. A lot of the things people tend to say, unfortunately come off as sounding canned, like platitudes. You know, "Your Heavenly Father is aware of you," "Loren is in a better place," "He was needed more there than here," "Just have faith, this is only a test," all those types of things. They can be a lot more frustrating and turn people away from the church than towards it. And of course she's dealing with all the usual emotions with the passing of a loved one- she lived for him and to care for him and serve him. She struggles with feeling like she has a purpose or that life is still worth living without him because he was her purpose (she's not suicidal, though, I've watched out for that), wondering if maybe his death was supposed to be some lesson or punishment for her, some trial she needed to go through, and of course not knowing why. That is especially hard for her. She feels like if she had some clue of why he was taken from us, that it might help her to cope, but of course there's no way to know why. She's always struggled with self-worth, she wasn't raised in a family that built up her self esteem at all and she can't see her strong points. She thinks everything is her fault all the time, so that's exacerbated by my father's passing. She feels alone, because no one will ever be there for her like he was. We can help, but I can't call out my brother on how his wife isn't being considerate towards her, because it isn't my place. My Dad would do that. And at the end of the day, as much as it is hard for me to admit it, my priority is my own children and marriage. It's painful even to type that, and I am trying to convince her to move in with us, and be a part of our family; my husband and I would welcome her with open arms; he is incredibly supportive of me and her, but it isn't the same as having a spouse who's number one priority will ALWAYS be YOU. Does that make sense? She has moments of joy and happiness, especially around my two boys, but the rest of the time is a struggle to keep going and see the point of it. (Again, she isn't suicidal. It's more just a desire to "give up" and stay at home/in bed and stop trying.) She's had to take on an extra job, and a demeaning one at that, and get renters in our house since Dad was the sole income provider. Her first job was more of something to get her out of the house. So between having strangers here and not being comfortable in her own home, and having two jobs that are exhausting and not incredibly rewarding, it's hard for her to see the point. she does have good days and moments, and I personally believe when she moves with us and gets in a new space and lifts those burdens of renters/two jobs it will improve her spirits dramatically. I don't mean to paint a grim picture, but it's what she's going through right now. I hope I wasn't too verbose, I just wanted to give you a more rounded picture of what she's going through. It doesn't have to be super literal either. I'm sure you know that! I apologize for the lengthy response. I hope it was helpful and not annoying. Thanks!"
So no, not annoying at all. Quite helpful, in fact. But here I am, three days from Christmas, realizing I'm writing a poem to myself 25 years in the future should Mr. PNU suddenly die. I'm not meaning to avoid the work, but I don't know if I've ever been called on for such a task as this.
And to think this struggle was purchased for only 10 points.