Monday, November 2, 2015


Eighteen years ago I had a baby. They put her in my arms and I cried, not because something was wrong, but because everything was right. I cried because I was old enough and had been pregnant enough to understand all that could have gone wrong. I was humbled that many don’t get to hold one baby, let alone six. I cried because she was perfect and pure and filled with love and light and everything good. I cried because her fingers curled around mine with complete trust. I cried because this tiny girl who had grown next to my heart, now held a piece of it. I held her through the night. Nurses came into my room to take her, and I wouldn’t put her down. I caressed her skin and kissed her tiny head. I felt the delicate puffs of her quivering breath. I was holding 7 lbs. of pure miracle.

At the end of August, I sent that daughter to Utah State. She made it until Labor Day weekend. Then she called us. She was hysterical, laughing one minute, crying the next. Something about a dance, a fall, her head…  Finally, her roommate took the phone. She was crowd-surfing (which is really just a trust exercise with strangers) and had fallen on her head. At first she experienced a temporary paralysis. Her first thought, “Crap, I’m paralyzed. How embarrassing.” After several seconds, she was able to move her arms and legs and jumped up and said, “I’m fine!” Only she wasn’t. The back of her head was bleeding.

Some smart friends loaded her in a car and drove her to the ER. Some other smart friends who are priesthood holders for our church jumped in the backseat and gave her a priesthood blessing. She was blessed that she would feel no pain. Her pain disappeared.

When they got to the ER, the doctor checked her and said she would need staples in her head, but everything else looked good. Immediately, she felt anxiety about having someone use a stapler on her head. (Why this anxiety failed to manifest itself while she was crowd-surfing is a mystery.) Her bishop came and gave her another blessing. He blessed her that her fears would go away and that she would have peace. Her anxiety vanished.

Before sending her home, they decided to do a CT scan. The CT scan showed that she had a brain bleed. When she hit the ground, her brain bounced off the back of her skull and hit the front of her skull and started to bleed. Not good. She needed to be at a hospital with a neurosurgeon. So, in the wee hours of the morning, they transported her from Logan to Salt Lake City.

When she arrived, she looked awful, but was in great spirits.

I found out later that the front part of your brain is where your filter is. Your dominant personality traits come out. People usually think you’re drunk or on something if you injure this part of your brain. Tess is an outgoing, friendly, go-go-go type of girl. So, we were seeing Tess on steroids. She had the ambulance staff and the ER laughing. Since there was so much laughing, I wasn’t too worried. They would look her over and we would be home soon. But we weren’t.

Apparently brain injuries can be funny and serious. The next few days the adrenaline wore off and the headaches came. I thought about what would have happened if the back of her head wasn’t bleeding and she didn’t go to the ER and the doctor wouldn’t have discovered her brain bleed. I thought about the baby I held 18 years ago.  I slid into the hospital bed next to her. I curled my body around her like a protective cocoon.  I listened to her quiet breathing. I felt the rise and fall of her breath against my sheltering arms and I cried for what might have been and I cried tears of gratitude for what was.  I cried because I would get to see this beautiful daughter who was full of light and love and goodness fly.


  1. Let Tess know I'm praying for her and I hope she recovers okay.

  2. Wait, what? It's over! No! Keep writing! I LOVED this post and I didn't want it to come to an end!

  3. A mother's love is a beautiful thing!

  4. A mother's love is a beautiful thing!