Calee Reed | Apr 27, 2018
For the last few years I've been a single, full-time mom living in my Dad's basement. I've been working two jobs—one in a doctor's office and the other as a singer/songwriter for Deseret Book. I never dreamed that I'd get a divorce. Never anticipated living in my Dad's basement in my 30s. There have been so many times I wish I could call my Mom and ask for her help or advice. . . but she died in 2011 after a brutal battle with colon cancer.
Fast forward to July of last year. All of my single-mom/divorcee-dating-woes seemed to be coming to an end when I met and began dating the most wonderful man. He was funny, kind (SO kind), and levelheaded. The only thing that gave me pause in falling immediately head over heels was the fact that he was a widower with four children. Having lost my own Mom, and having struggled intensely with my Dad's quick remarriage. . . I was hesitant to move past casual dating with him. I knew how insanely difficult it is to lose your Mom, and my heart ached at the thought of causing more distress for his four babes (ages 8 to 2). Dating him also meant facing some of my deepest triggers with doubt and heartache—it reminded me that I have so many questions still about the way Mom died and why it all happened.
I had an experience a few weeks after we started dating, though, that helped me see pieces of beauty in losing my Mom:
It happened one Sunday when we decided to go to church together for the first time. I was nervous. Going to church together is a big deal in my world—and we had all of the kids (he had four kids and I had Vi, five kids total) and I was half expecting it to go so horribly that we'd just break up and never speak again afterward, haha.
About halfway through the service, one of the twin 6-year-old boys was sitting next to me, nestled under my arm.
He looked up and whispered, "Do you know where my Mommy is. . .?"
My mama-heart wrenched inside of my chest as I said, "Yeah, buddy. . . She's in heaven."
We sat in silence for a moment.
"Do you know who she's with?" I whispered.
"My Mommy," I said. He smiled.
The love that I felt as I looked down at that little boy was so overwhelming that I had to quickly wipe away the tears. A Christian song that I know and love came into my mind and these lyrics rang in my ears:
"Love like a hurricane, I am the tree. . .
Bending beneath the weight of its wind and mercy."
That was the perfect way to describe it—the love I felt in that moment. The empathy from that shared heartbreak overwhelmed me; it felt like a hurricane. A massive, unquantifiable explosion of love for him.
I don't pretend to understand why God would take the mother of these four beautiful children home so early—just like I don't understand why He took my Mom the way that He did. But as I sat there looking down into that little boy's face, the beauty and sacredness of being able to connect on that level with another precious child of God through shared grief amazed me.
That experience on our first Sunday at church together will remain a cherished one for me. I look forward to the next decade or so of sitting next to that same little boy in church because I now have the privilege of calling him my son.
I have seen the way that God has shaped me through my trials and heartaches over the course of my lifetime—and especially over the last several years. I believe that that is God's true intention: to shape us, to perfect us, and to sanctify us through all the burdens and challenges that we face. I believe that our refining process can be beautiful, even when painful, if we will open our hearts to see it.
For more music from Calee Reed, visit deseretbook.com.