church imageAs we walked to the news set the other night, I asked Kristen, my friend and co-anchor, “Do you ever cry in church?”  She laughed and said, “I’ll text you the first time I don’t cry in church.”   That made me feel better because last Sunday I had an extemely emotional experience in church and I wanted to know if I was crazy. Kristen assured me I wasn’t.

Last weekend, I ended up kidless on Sunday morning and so took advantage by going to church by myself.  Going to church alone doesn’t bother me.  It’s not like flying solo to a movie.  That does bug me.  But when it comes to church, I actually prefer to go alone.  I didn’t go to my church.  But instead traveled up to Lake Tahoe to visit St. Francis of Assisi. 

In 2004, we baptised our daughter, Eva Diana, at St. Francis.  Since then, it’s always held a special place in my heart.   And now, sitting alone in my pew, I was once again happy to be here.  When Father Bill entered I immediately sat up straighter.  His presence didn’t make me nervous, but rather more alert… like a freshman on the first day of class.  I wanted to truly understand the lesson I was about to hear.  And learn I did.

He asked us all to allow the Holy Spirit into our souls so that we could forgive those who trouble us the most.  The Holy Spirit would guide us in allowing our feelings of ill will to be replaced with love and eventual peace.  And when he said, “We need the power to deal with those that cause us the most pain…” my eyes immediately filled with water.

On December 21st, 2011, my best friend died.  4 days before Christmas.  She would have survived past the new year, but my brother and I gave her permission to go to the other side… and she did… that night.   I thought I was ready. I thought it would be best for her to move on to the next world. But I was wrong.  Living without my mom causes me daily pain.

As I glanced at Father Bill, trying to hide the tears that were now streaming down my face in a river of emotion,  I was horrified to admit the one person causing me the most pain was the one person who would never do anything, ever, to hurt me… my mom.   She would be so sad to know I struggle at the feet of her demise.  But I do.  We are coming up on her two year anniversary of leaving us and I still feel like that lonely kid who was forgotten at school.  I keep looking for her to come around the corner to get me. 

So with a deep breath,  I closed my eyes to allow the Holy Spirit into my core.  I breathed deeply several times to allow the warmth of his being to enter my soul.  And I felt… nothing!  Dammit!  So I sat there some more and waited.  And waited.  By this time my tears were drying up because I was getting irritated.  Where was the Holy Spirit when I really needed it??  I left church feeling a tad disappointed.

On my 40 minute drive home, I looked at they sky, still pale grey with smoke from the fire burning near Yosemite.  I thought how my mom would have complained about all the smoke.  She hated anything but bright sunny days in Reno.  And that thought alone broke me again.  New tears followed the dried stains already on my cheeks.  And this time, I allowed myself to sob.  To release some of the water that filled my emotional bucket.  I allowed myself to be angry.  I allowed myself to climb right up on that pitty chair and have a party.  And then it happened.  As I slowly pulled down into Reno off the Mt. Rose Highway, my tears dried up.  My anger floated away from me.  And a sense of warmth filled my body.  A warmth like I’ve never felt.  A warm blanket enveloping my heart.  And finally… peace. 

The magical spell lasted until I pulled into my driveway.  The chaos of my kids, now back at home, dulled the sense of warmth inside me, but I knew it was still there.  I had released some of the pain of my mom’s death.  I have a long way to go to be out of daily pain, but moments like that, where you connect with the Holy Spirit make me realize I will someday get there.

(note:  My Holy Spirit is the Divine Trinity.  What’s yours?  Is it Mother Earth?  Is it your own belief that doesn’t have a name?  Whatever, or whoever, you pray to, I hope you find peace in your God like I do mine.) 

A book that opened my eyes to the Divine Trinity is called The Shack.  It’s a fictional story, a good read, but man does it have a thought provoking kick to it! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it:


About Wendy D

I was born in San Francisco and ended up marrying a rancher in Reno, Nevada. I have a big city job anchoring the 5 o’clock news but come home to the country where my husband’s family has ranched for 5 generations.


  1. Michael Liles says:

    We ask why, we ask it of God, of those we love, we cry out against the night, like children crying in the dark, crying for the light, and with no voice but a cry. Can we name our grief, do we even have a right to, with no voice but a cry how do we? We are childlike in the face of grief, open, raw, like a child wanting only for the pain to end, for peaceful comfort to begin.

    Like you, I have lost my parents, I have found where grief ends solace begins. When my wife lost her mother I told her what follows: sit down while in your grief and have a conversation with your mom. Tell her you love her, you understand she had to leave that life is not forever. Tell her you are not angry at her for leaving you and it’s ok. Tell her you will keep her memory alive in your heart but you must grieve then let her rest with God that you cannot continue on in never ending grief and despair, let go and let God. I also told her to write a letter to her mother, as we say in recovery, nothing changes until it becomes real. Actually hand writing a letter makes it real, there is some kind of connection I don’t pretend to understand.

    Yes, I went thru recovery many years ago, it helped me process my grief much the same way as I help my wife process hers when she lost her mother. It would be arrogant presumption on my part to offer advice, I can only tell you the process I have gone thru and helped my wife thru. I sincerely hope you are not alone in your grief, I hope you share it with those closest to you so you may gain strength from the sharing and so they may gain a better understanding of what is in your heart. God bless you and your family.


    Michael Liles

    • Wendy D says:

      Michael, thank you so much for this message. It brought tears to my eyes. I will definitely follow your guidance. I hope the letter helps me…as I’m sure it will. Have a beautiful day and know you are appreciated!

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