After losing Ansley, I knew I wanted some spiritual guidance; some words of inspiration, some scriptures that would start me down a path of healing. I thought about calling Father Scott. He had married Chris and me. I had known him just about all my life. I knew he would say the right things, the things Chris and I needed to hear. The only thing that prevented me from calling was that I would have to tell him what happened. And, every time I tried to talk about what happened I couldn’t get words out past the tears. I would open my mouth to begin to talk and all I would do is cry.
Nurse Linda was back on duty and asked if I would like to talk to the hospital Chaplin. I thought this would be best. I thought I would get what I needed without having to talk about what happened. I thought this was what I wanted.
A nice older gentleman entered the room. He said he had heard about our loss and was very sorry. So far so good. He then went into a story about his recent loss, his wife had passed away. He jumped from that story straight into about 5 other stories of tragedy and death. Well this was not helping at all. I was too emotionally drained to offer much sympathy for the stories he told. I was lost in my own grief.
He had a small teddy bear in his hand and after each story, he would push the teddy bears paw and it would sing “Jesus Loves Me”. I get it; his message for me was the same for each person in each story he told. Jesus Loves Me. But, this was not what I was expecting; I didn’t want a sing-a-long.
Finally, he asks if we can pray together. I think to myself, finally! As we all bow our heads and we begin to pray he plays the teddy bear again.
I don’t remember exactly what he said, that is until about mid-way through the prayer. He says, “And lord, I pray that Chris and Jessica will be BETTER people than they have been.” Chris and I immediately look up at each other. I think EXCUSE ME, you don’t know me, are you implying that we are bad people, that we in some way deserved this? But he didn’t stop there he went on to say, that if, IF, we are better people and live by his word that MAYBE he will bless us and we will see Ansley again in heaven. IF -MAYBE!!!!
By this point my tears have faded away, I am far too angry to cry. I wanted to throw him out of my room. I just lost my daughter and these are the words you choose to comfort me!?! He wraps up his prayer, as he plays the teddy bear one last time and hands it to me. Everything in me wanted to throw it across the room, but I didn’t.
Before he left, he told me about an upcoming surgery he had and that I would be one of the last people he would council. His days as hospital chaplain were coming to an end. THANK GOD for that, I thought.
It was few months later when Chris and I were watching TV and a 1-800-flowers commercial came on. The commercial showed an arrangement that featured a very similar looking teddy bear, before I could comment, Chris changed the channel. We were thinking the same thing. I don’t think I like teddy bears anymore, and the song, Jesus Loves Me, takes me immediately back to a dark place that is filled with anything but love.