As a signature service, we provide a comfort meal to the families we serve. With the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT, we partnered with SympathyFood.com to provide comfort meals to families impacted. “This is an event that many in our profession are wondering how we can help,” says Kelly Roberts, Managing Partner. “It seems natural for us to extend the same gesture that we provide locally to the families we serve.”
Guest blogger and local author Daniel Undem shares this great piece:
There was a large pink elephant sitting idle in the front yard of a modest rambler as I biked by. It sat on its haunches, trunk pointed to the sky. At first I thought is was some kind of bold political statement or a reminder that I had been on the bike for too long that day and was now starting to hallucinate.
As I approached I noticed it was neither a political statement or a hallucination, but rather a large sprinkler set up in the yard for kids or the young at heart. The sight of the elephant brought a slight smile to my sweat covered face as I remembered back to memories of a similar elephant in my life.
I was at my niece’s birthday party and she had just unwrapped a toy elephant that blew butterflies out of its trunk. The drawing on the box showed a group of well behaved and well dressed children catching paper butterflies in nets as the elephant shot them out of its trunk. I watched my niece hand the toy to her Dad and I knew he was going to open it and set it up despite the condition of the room. The floors were already covered in pieces of discarded wrapping paper and untied bows. What’s another couple dozen paper butterflies?
My brother in law, Chad, was one who always loved opening and assembling kids toys. I think he had as much fun opening and assembling kids toys as they had playing with them. It wasn’t long before the grey elephant and the butterfly nets were out of the box. Chad carefully loaded the butterflies into the elephant and flipped the switch. The fan started up and after a brief moment the room was covered in floating dainty butterflies with three happy little girls were chasing them around trying to catch them their nets.
In the middle of this whole mess sat Chad, sitting on his haunches and smiling and laughing as much as the girls were. Even when an errant net hit him in the back of the head the smile never left his face.
I prefer to remember Chad like this; surrounded by a bunch of butterflies with a smile on his face. I know it’s not the way he would want me to remember him, butterflies are a little feminine after all.
Chad was taken from our family too soon in a snowmobile accident during the winter of 2011 and I’d be lying if I said that life has been easy since the accident. There have been many nights of lost sleep, time spent staring off into the corner of the room hoping it was all a dream, time spent feeling as if we had been set a drift in an ocean of the unknown. The feeling of loss has been one all too familiar over the past year and a half and yet there have been moments of immense comfort and joy; moments placed in my life by God to let me know that I am not alone in this.
The comforts given to the family from God have come in a variety of forms. I’ve seen smiles return to mourning faces, laughter replace tears, dancing when we never thought we’d dance again. I’ve heard stories of light bulbs burning out, pink elephants dotting the sides of roads, butterflies landing on boats and dreams of Chad so real that you wish you never had to wake up. The pain of the loss is all too real,
Hope that one day we will all be reunited. Hope that we will all once again be able to sit around a table and share a meal. Hope that one day I will see Chad with a smile on his face and laugher on the wind as butterflies swirl around the bill of his ever present Minnesota Wild baseball cap. The comfort from loss can take many forms, even a large pink elephant sitting on the side of the road.
Check out Daniel’s blog at http://danielundem.com/
His new book, “The Offensive Catholic” will be out soon.
This picture says it all . . .
Having an American Bald Eagle perched on a veteran’s marker at Fort Snelling has incredible Memorial Day symbolism. Think of our symbol of freedom, an eagle, hovering over this national cemetery – a hallowed ground for many unsung heroes. Fort Snelling is such a humbling place to visit. I try to imagine each soldier that rests here serving our country. How old was this soldier when he or she served? Did this soldier’s life end on the battle field? How did this soldier adjust to life after being honorably discharged? Does this soldier’s family know the dangers that were faced fighting for our freedom? How do I say thank you today for the gift of freedom? The strength and the keen eye of the eagle seem to be protecting those who have protected us.