Fruit of Knowledge

Monday, November 17, 2008
I did something this week that I wondered if I would ever do again. I bought apples. How something so good for you, so pure and healthy, so organic and sweet and natural could be the source of so much pain and heartache for me is truly paradoxical. Something so natural and good causing such an early, early death in the life of my sweet infant seems anything but natural and good.

Apples seem to be everywhere I turn, everywhere I look. Just as water is everywhere you look if your child drowns. Or driving on the roads a constant reminder of the car accident that took another child's life. The paranoia of every intersection must be excruciating. My sister told me of a friend of a friend whose little boy was strangled in his backyard in a soccer net. A soccer net! Can you imagine the constant reminders that sweet mother has every time she drives past a public park, or walks the aisles of any given store where balls and toys are sold? And that's just the beginning. I have one friend who's son died from choking on a pretzel and another a piece of bacon. How do we look at these foods again and learn to enjoy them and not fear? The reminders of our loss are not only apparent on our faces and felt in every tiny crease and crinkle of our existence, but they are literally flashed right before our eyes on a daily basis.

Apple Computers
Apple Pie
Apple Trees
Apple Cider
Apple Fitness
The Big Apple
Apple Home Decor
Caramel Apples
Johnny Apple Seed

The list goes on.

I don't blame others for not being as aware as I am. I don't expect my friends and their children to stop bobbing for apples, making apple sauce, pointing out beautiful apple trees and orchards, or baking up some delicious apple crisp. It even surprises ME, I can't expect them to remember, nor do I think it healthy to dwell on and develop a hatred towards one of God's great creations--the apple.

The historical and mythological attributes of apples are astounding when put in the context of the great tragedy we are living with. I remember how crushingly bittersweet it was when I heard my sister-in-law say, "She really was a princess. She took a bite of the apple and went to sleep." Fairy tales and Greek mythology are full of stories of the alluring magic and power of apples.

In Christianity, though the forbidden fruit in the Book of Genesis is not identified, some popular tradition has held that it was an apple that Eve coaxed Adam to share with her. As a result, in the story of Adam and Eve the apple became a symbol for knowledge and immortality (as well as temptation and sin). For the sake of my experience, I focus on the knowledge and immortality part of the puzzle.

There is no doubt that Lucy's partaking of the apple and the subsequent consequences of that choice have resulted in much knowledge being gained. Heartache and pain, oh yes, but knowledge too. Knowledge that humanity is just as good as I could ever hope for. That unity and love and service abound in times and places least expected. That God does live. That there is an afterlife. Knowledge that suffering and pain are real and intense and necessary for our growth, despite the deep anguish we feel we will never escape from. I don't know why I have been asked to bear this pain and this unbearable burden. I don't know why I had to leave my little Garden of Eden, my happiness as I once knew it, and move to harsher conditions of challenge and growth. But here I am, and I am building an altar of sacrifice of some sort, in hopes that my offering will heal my broken heart. I am offering my heart and my will and my pride. It won't bring my Lucy back, but maybe it will carry me through another day, another week, another month.

I will never be able to look at an apple again without thinking of my princess. Did you ever notice that Vic is holding a green apple in the photo at the top of our blog? I even think Lucy has some of it in her cheek. I noticed this a few months after her passing. Isn't life ironic? The very thing that can bring joy and beauty, satisfaction and knowledge into our lives, can be the very source of our greatest pain. Today my pain is real and deep, in time my knowledge will be the same.

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Our culture has become as skillful in the art of neutralizing emotional and spiritual pain as in sedating physical pain. Medicine is, in a sense, symbolic of our age. Unquestionably, medicine is often a blessing; but as all must know by now, the drugs of our time, both the literal and the figurative kinds, also offer escape—not only from pain, but also from responsibility and reality. And thus some people have developed an instinctive inclination to chart their course, both short and long range, by choosing those alternatives that will minimize their exposure to the uncomfortable consequences of taking life as it comes. Avoiding or escaping discomfort becomes almost a guiding purpose of life, as if getting around such pitfalls were the essence of a happy life." Bruce C. Hafen


  1. I think Peter will like apples. He will come to know of their appearance and good taste. He will be happy to eat the apples you give him. He won't see an apple and think of Lucy. He'll just see an apple as an apple that has nothing to do with death, only life - the apple tree, the apple, the apple seed, the apple tree, the apple...

    Lucy didn't leave because of the apple. She left because she had another purpose. A purpose we don't know but obviously something of great importance. She is saved in the highest kingdom and enjoys the greatest blessings of our Father. One of which was to spend two short years with two of the greatest people she ever met - her parents. Two of the greatest people I have ever met.

  2. Oh my goodness! You have an amazing talent of writing. Your words are so well put together. I am amazed every time I read your blog!!
    I can see how you would have that constant reminder of your sweet Lucy when you see an apple. Your willingness to share your pain, love, memories, fears, experiences, and faith has engraved your story into my heart. I also think of your sweet Lucy every time I see an apple. But, when I see an apple, I think of that adorable little angel that has touched so many people's hearts. I can't wait to meet her on the other side.
    P.S. Good work on buying the apples. Baby steps....remember the baby steps.

  3. Mrs. Molly,

    My name is Djuna. I found you through a blog that had made mention of silent auctions and news of Stephanie Nielsen. When I came across your blog... I needed so much strength to read about your loss. I am so sorry you had to lose your beautiful princess. I don't know what else to say because one feels like saying so much but words are not enough. I can tell you that despite the tears I shed last night, I prayed for you. I prayed for you and for Lucy and your husband and your new baby. I send you so much strength and love.
    And like I told my husband, after I shared your story with him, how strong and poetic you seem in your writings. What a strong woman she is I told him. And a beautiful strong soul at that. I am in awe of you.
    I don't wish to lurk and I just wanted to know that yes, I have love for you even though you don't know me. And yes, I seem so scattered in my words. I am just... I wish to continue reading you and I hope you don't mind.
    God Bless you and take care dearest Molly.

  4. Thank you for sharing this post Molly. It was truly beautiful and well written. I really think when the time is right, you should write a book about these experiences. So many more people could be blessed and enlightened by your thoughts.
    I have to admit, I haven't given my 20 month old a piece of apple since I heard about your tragedy. It honestly scared me to. Unfortunately, it didn't stop him from choking on a penny. He is fine now, but there are dangers all around our little ones...and it whispers to me that we have little control over what our Father in Heaven's plan is for them. Our calling as parents is to love them and teach them, and I imagine you and Vic were the most loving teachers Molly could have asked for.
    Who knew buying apples could be so symbolic?

  5. Molly- you have a beautiful way with words. I have to say, everytime I see an apple, I think of your sweet little angel, too. She has touched my life. I am proud that you are progressing. Just remember everyday you are one step closer to Lucy.

  6. what a marvelous post... i cant thank you enough for sharing.

    i hope you do know, although it may sound weird, how much i DO think about the tradgedy of Lucy's death. i probably think about it too often, considering i have never even met you! i think about you every time i go to the temple. i think about you every time i go to get an ultrasound. i think of you when i see a little girl with blonde hair, playing with her parents... and i wonder... how hard it must be to wake up every day and battle the sadness and hurt caused from a loss in your life.
    you are amazing... both you and Vic. i gain so much from your sharing of your experiences... and i know that God loves you. i KNOW it. sometimes i feel frustrated by trials... but you are right. growth can come from pain- and that pain is necessary.
    thanks so very much for not only trying hard every day to grow and learn from this trial- but also SHARING it. i learn so very much.

  7. i have a quote on my myspace page talking about a very very similar idea as your Hafen quote.

    you are amazing.

  8. Hi, my name is Lanae Monson. I came across your blog from a friend of a friend of a friend. :) Ever since, I come to read and be inspired by your blog and your words of wisdom. I have cried MANY tears as i read what you have gone through and hope my prayers for you are felt. I actually have a little Lucy that was born just a few months before yours so I feel a little connection there. Whenever I feel overhwelmed or impatient as a mother, I come to your blog and am inspired by the things you say. I am truly thankful for that! Your picture you posted with your "welcome home" post is truly breath taking. I am actually a photographer so I wanted to offer my editing services to you if you are interested. I would just save the link from the blog but it is too small of a file. Anyway, email me if you would like me to make some of your special pictures like that even more breathtaking...if that is possible! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your sweet husband and that special baby boy that will soon be in your arms. (I am due in April looks like we are on the same family schedule :) ).
    Lanae Monson

  9. You are wise beyond your years, Molly. What a joy you must be to the people around you. Even from a distance, your light shines.

    You've drawn some compelling parallels here, and the forbidden fruit symbolism really interested me. Having said that, I'm glad you are starting to confront the very real and understandable trauma around apples by having them in your home again. I am always impressed by your determination to heal completely, and this purchase strikes me as another big step in that process.

    :::::still cheering you on from the sidelines:::::

  10. I'll tell you exactly where those enchiladas are- My house, 6:00, Thursday, December 4th. You best be there, cause I'll be cookin' up some muy ricas enchiladas!!!!!

  11. I really love that Anne Morrow Lindbergh quote. This was such a beautiful post. As always, thank you for sharing.

  12. I think of your Lucy every time I slice an apple for my kids.
    Thanks for sharing your insight-
    You are inspiring!

  13. Beautiful post...your words and the words of others you shared in your post really pulled at my heart strings tonight.

    Wishing you well.

  14. You don't know me. I don't know you. And yet, I am drawn to your blog. Your words bring me comfort and joy. I lost my beloved younger brother 2 years ago. As someone of a different faith who does not share your belief in the afterlife I am in awe of your perspective. Upon his death, I struggled for the first time with the meaning of death. I asked everyone I knew what they thought "happened". I had such an urgent need to believe in anything. And here you are so strong in your belief, so comforted by your belief. I am grateful that though I can't find it in myself to embrace it myself I am nonetheless comforted by listening to you share your story.


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