Acts of God

October 15th

Last week the Phoenix area was hit with nutty weather — not yet another day of 100-plus degree heat, but tornadoes and hail the size of bricks. Car, house, window destroying bricks. My little car happened to be parked in the midst of chaos.


I sat in my boss’s office and watched as the skies turned an eerie shade of yellow before crashing, banging and otherwise throwing a giant tantrum that left much of the Valley in disarray. The car dealership nearby reportedly lost 300 cars to severe damage; it was unreal — a bit of mayhem for people who rarely if ever see snow, much less golf-ball sized hail clumped among the cactus.

This storm arrived the day after a much scarier one thankfully began to dissipate. For the last six months my my mom’s been sick. It started with a backache and quickly progressed to something obviously more serious. It took four months before the specialists could figure out the region of her body causing the pain and another two before surgery was scheduled. There were countless appointments and even more tests. She was poked and prodded and thoroughly annoyed by the time they got her into the surgical suite.

My mom and Dad

My parents mean everything to me. These two, and my brother, are my world.  Somehow, out of 6 billion of us, I got lucky with these three as my clan.

Mom + Dad

Cody, cute

The last six months have been an ugly blur. Many nights that I woke up at 1 am crying. Bags form under your eyes, your belt gets a bit tighter as you try to eat away exhaustion, your mood is snippy and nothing seems to be good enough. The looming darkness that could be wrapped us in blankets of anxiety. I reverted to a selfish child. What if she was really sick? What if she couldn’t come to my wedding one day? What if she never met my children? What would my dad do? What would we do? I want my mommy!

Night after night I made a list of things I had to ask her, things I wanted her to teach me, sentiments I had to say again and again to make sure she really knew. Just in case.

It’s that space of “just in case” where we do so much needless harm. My dad and brother weren’t coping any better. Thankfully, we took turns calling each other to cry — rotating who was the strong and who was the one overwhelmed with grief. To hear my dad and brother cry — I would have given anything in that moment to change life.

Dad, Mom, Moi

We rallied her and made sure she had no idea how very worried we were. She was showered with cards, flowers and prayer. My dad’s adoration for my mom was even more clear — he did everything he could to make sure she was comfortable and as happy as could be.


The surgery came and went last week. I sobbed and later celebrated when we got the news — no cancer, completely treatable, she’ll be fine.They finally figured out exactly what it was and she would be good as new.

The day after the storm, two days after the surgery, I called my insurance company about the damage to my car. The agent apologized for “acts of God” that caused the destruction. I couldn’t respond. What do you say to a “storm specialist” after this kind of week? How do you adequately communicate your pure relief that this act of God kind of damage could be repaired with a $500 check?

The same way you say, “I am so glad you didn’t die. I’m not ready. I’ll never be ready. I love you.” You just do. And then I recommend hugs and margaritas all around.  Because, oh sweet God, it is time to get back to celebrating life!


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Faith, Journal
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24 Responses

  1. I’m going to get the tissues now. Lots of love to you and your family. I’m so glad for all of you that your mom is in the clear!

  2. I’m so very glad that your mom is ok and that your family is feeling relief. I will be thankful today for the acts of god that have guided me to where I am today.

  3. good analogy. love it. 😀

  4. I understand … Now, go do all the items on those lists you made.

  5. Oh Kelli – I have no words, only love.

    Big Hug!

  6. Wow, your poor mom – and poor all of you, trying to cope with the fear and the worry. So glad to hear you’ve all come out the other side and everything is going to be fine. There’s a lot to be thankful for there.

  7. Blessings to you and your family!

  8. Kelli…What a beautiful tribute to your mother. She is loved!!!

  9. oh, that family worry is hard. both of my mom’s boughts with breast cancer had me doing many of the same things – only we knew what was going on and it didn’t go on for 6 months.
    wow. you’ve had a lot on your plate, lady. bless your heart. xo to you and your mama.

  10. So true!!!!!!

    Hugs to you and your family!

  11. (((HUGS))) Glad all is well.

  12. I’m very happy for you and your family, Kelli. Your mama looked so pretty the night of your book signing. I’m sorry you all had to go through 6 months of fear. You hid it well, at least in the blogosphere.

  13. Very very thankful that your mama is going to be a-ok. My little bro just had a wee cancer scare and it’s humbling how intense that fright can be (he’s ok, totally in the clear). I definitely said a hippie healing prayer or two for your mom, glad to hear that she got at least one or two of ’em 🙂

  14. Wow, Kelli. Had no idea. Glad your mom is well!

  15. So glad to hear your mom is on the mend! I don’t think any of us can ever be prepared for the day when our mom won’t be in our lives. Don’t even want to think of that ever being a reality! Hugs to you & your family!

  16. So glad all is well, what a blessing (and your parents are adorable!).

  17. So glad to hear that everything is turning out well for your mother! Hooray!

  18. I’ve been there myself, twice to be true, and I can well understand you and your feelings. Luckily for both of us (and our moms, obviously) all went well, they’re still with us doing good. And reminding us what true love is. Lots of love to you and your family.

  19. I’m so happy to hear that you mom will be okay.

  20. So happy to hear your mom is ok. So scary, I know. Prayers for her continuing good health.

  21. (((hugs))) Glad she is OK!

  22. Thinking of you and your family…. sometimes you just gotta give it up to God to handle… after the 4th bout with cancer for my Mom, that’s pretty much what I have learned!

  23. So happy to hear that the hurt is treatable!