Monthly Archives: November 2014


heartbreak to hope tableThree days ago was Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. Springville Library hosted an event, led by my wonderful friend Lisa. I watched as dozens of people reached out just days before the event to offer support and healing for those who would participate. Massage therapists, social workers, Community mental health organizations, musicians, personal life coaches, photographers, healers, teen advocates, and friends, all desiring to gift their light to others who were suffering the loss of loved ones to suicide.

audienceThe room was big and the numbers of attendees seemed small when the event organizer, Lisa, invited everyone to come and have a seat for the program.

As the musicians began to play the song they had chosen just the day before, the room was filled to overflowing with angels – loved ones from beyond the veil. “If two of you are gathered, there am I also with you,” the beautiful musicians sang. And tears began to flow. “If there are only angels, there am I also with you.” And He was there, wrapping His love and His light around the hearts of the participants.

Carla EskelsenDave Eskelsen Because the numbers were smaller than hoped – about 100 attendees and volunteers combined – each individual had an opportunity to sit with these healers and volunteers who opened their hearts to offer healing light. Precisely BECAUSE the numbers were small, miracles were wrought. God knew who he wanted in that room. “If two of you are gathered, there am I also with you. If there are only angels, there am I also with you.”

I AM Wendy

(Photos by Katie Jo Welch with The I Am Message. Music by Carla and Dave Eskelsen)

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snow on leafThis week, I pulled out my sweaters and my fuzzy socks. I wear a sweatshirt with my pajamas, and I still haven’t been able to get warm! Just a week ago, it was sunny and bright. Now, each night as I climb into bed, I put my head under my thick covers to warm my chilled sheets before I can fall asleep.

Also this week, my daughter moved out of the house, leaving me and my husband alone as empty-nesters again. Yes, I cried. We’ve done this before. So, why are we struggling to adjust?


It can be hard, even when it’s good.

When change comes as a result of a suicide, the effects are devastating. Our hearts are shattered and we struggle to pick up the pieces of our lives. Years after my mom’s suicide death, I began to peel back the layers of rocks and dirt and old yucky bandages wrapped around my heart. And all I saw was sadness. I had created an impenetrable wall – a fortress to try to prevent any more heartaches. Although on the inside I cried for connection, my firmly-placed mask kept others at a safe distance.

All I knew to this point was sadness, carefully disguised with a smile. Sadness that sometimes erupted as anger directed at others. But really, it was simply deep, never-ending sorrow. I had become stuck in sadness. My heart was buried in cold, dark earth.

“I feel like two people,” I told my therapist: the broken-hearted, and the hard-hearted. Yet, I was afraid of change. Who would I become if I unburied my heart? Despite my fear – and accompanied by God and by my angel mom – I began a journey. A journey of discovery. I set out to discover my mom – her life, and her death. And what I discovered was ME.

As I peeled back the layers of pain, I found my heart again – and watched as God healed it. He didn’t put all the pieces back as though my heart was never broken. Instead, he gave me a new heart, a changed heart. A heart that could now receive His love and His light. God changed me.

I am grateful for that change. And although sometimes I still bury my head under the blankets, I know that the sun will once again warm the earth. I know that darkness will flee and make space for the light.

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Heartbreak-to-Hope-web (3)My heart is full as I look forward to the event, Heartbreak to Hope to Healing, to recognize Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, People I haven’t even met yet have offered their love, their healing gifts, and their light in order to bring hope to those who have lost loved ones to suicide, those who may be struggling themselves with their own feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide, and those who want to make a difference. There is hope to save a life – and hope to heal a broken heart.

Although life for me and for my family changed forever the day my mom ended her life, I know that healing can come. Dark days can be turned to light.

For more information about the event, please visit:


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leafToday, I am sad. I just read that, as planned, Brittany Maynard ended her life on Saturday, and my heart hurts. My heart hurts for her family who must bury a once vibrant wife and daughter who suffered immensely from her terminal illness and chose to end her life of pain rather than embrace a life of uncertainty and eventual death.

My heart hurts for all of us who saw the beauty in Brittany’s life, and though we can’t  understand the level of pain and fear she must have felt, we ourselves cling to life until God calls us home.

Brittany’s choice also reminds some of us of choices our own loved ones made when their illnesses seemed never ending – seemed to them to be terminal. So rather than face another day of pain, another day of darkness, they too chose their last day, leaving us with eternal questions. Leaving us to ask why? And although I have been led by my own angel mom to better understand the why – and to never judge – I still have a difficult time understanding why a beautiful girl who loved life chose death when every cell in my own body cries out to preserve life.

How many moments of joy and moments of sorrow did she miss? How many sunrises and sunsets? How many days of sunshine? And days of rain? Life is made up of both.

And while to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die – let us not hasten death. Let us embrace each season. Let us embrace life for as long as God intends.

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