Beauty for Ashes

By Molly Bice-Jackson - 10:13 PM

Did I ever tell you about walking into Lucy's room at the hospital while she was on life support? It was the first time I saw her after the choking accident. I was preparing myself to see her still, motionless, hooked up to medical equipment, and hoping with every energy in the universe that her eyes would flutter, she'd wake up and see her mommy's face and smile, alive with her radiance. I knew it would happen. It had to.

I weakly walked into the room. I'd been in a wheelchair since arriving at the hospital hours earlier, unable to muster the energy to move my limbs, the limbs that fed and clothed and reached after and cared for my daughter. She was lifeless and so were they.

Vic had been by her side from the moment he could. For me, it took some time to be able to face it head on like that. As I approached her bed and let out a stifled sob while trying to catch my breath, there was a beautiful blond nurse tending to her on her right side. Vic sat stoically to Lucy's left, holding her hand, caressing her face and hair, heavy with the weight of a father wanting to protect and save his precious daughter. We spoke softly to one another, calling Lucy by name, and trying to make sense of the situation. The nurse kept staring at me. She seemed to be moving very quietly, almost suspiciously as she worked. Finally she looked up and said, "Your daughter's name is Lucy?" "Yes. Lucia, actually, but we call her Lucy."

Vic and I continued speaking through our tears. He then said my name aloud as well, "Molly...its going to be ok."

Again the nurse froze.

When I heard the words she spoke next, I once again sobbed and felt an immersion in God's love.

"When your daughter arrived she was just labeled as a number. A case. An emergency with numbers and letters. She seemed so familiar to me. I even said out loud that I felt like I knew this little girl. I've never met you. I've never met her...but I have a daughter named Lucia. We call her Lucy... she is blond and beautiful and lively and it is rare to meet another Caucasian named Lucia. And...and...

and my name is Molly..."

I knew God was aware of me. Now, three years later, as I struggle to find meaning in the incident and process the intensity of what took place, I always go back to Molly. The first nurse to lovingly care for my Lucy. I can't deny I was being watched over.  When it came to light that Lucy would be taken off life support, we asked for our nurse, Molly, to be the one who worked the last shift and assisted me in saying goodbye. What are the chances in all the universe that our nurse would be named Molly with a daughter named Lucy? I have to cling to this. The heavenly hand played in this event cannot be denied.

As I've rediscovered myself since that day of choosing to stand on my feet and face the gravity of the situation, I have faltered again and again. I've gone back to that wheelchair. I have felt either too weak, or too different, too overwhelmed, confused, or battered to stand. But each time I do, each time I open my eyes, I see another manifestation of God's love for me--His specific care and concern for me as an individual.

Molly and Lucy. Molly and Lucy.

I may not be "the best" Mormon in the world. The best mother or wife. But I'm trying to be a great human being who is authentically connected to the truth around her.

I will never forget my Molly. My earth angel and my beginning of seeing beauty amid the ashes.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness..." Isaiah 61:3



I took this photo in my backyard a few weeks ago. It is so glorious in Park City right now it nearly brings me to tears everyday. Really. Winter into summer...beauty for ashes. 

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14 Loving Lines

  1. It truly is amazing to see God's Hand in the simplest of miracles.

    What an incredible story.

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  2. Very touching post Molly! It so reminded me of one of my favorite conference talks, "He Know Us; He Loves Us" (Sydney S. Reynolds --- November Ensign 2003.) Thank you so much for sharing.

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  3. Oh Molly dear - I was there with you when Molly the nurse met Molly the Mom.... indeed a powerful moment. As Lucy's grandfather, I was also struck by how merciful God was in that moment. I needed to be reminded of that moment this morning - and I love Isaiah's words "beauty for ashes". Your sharing this memory filled my heart and eyes - although the small bandage under my left eye (had a mole remove) which I'm supposed to keep dry, is now wet. How I love you and Vic and Lucy and Peter the Healer. --DAD

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  4. That is amazing.

    And I love this:
    "I may not be 'the best' Mormon in the world. The best mother or wife. But I'm trying to be a great human being who is authentically connected to the truth around her."

    Being "the best" Mormon is incredibly overrated. Being a great human being is underrated. And I love "authentically connected to the truth" piece. What a powerful way to put it.

    Hugs. I'm so glad that you have your Molly.

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  5. Two reactions come to mind. This is truly amazing and incredible and completely impossible... and, I'm not the least bit surprised! It just makes sense that Molly would care for Lucy, and that Molly stood for you when you couldn't stand for yourself. I'm in awe of the ways Heavenly Father finds to let us know how much He loves us, and to what lengths He will go to protect and comfort us. I hope you have a blessed day and weekend. Sing to Lucy, play with Peter, acknowledge Vic. Know you all are loved!

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  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts. I love that scripture and have often found the strength to not completely give up by those words "beauty for ashes" and "joy for mourning." Love you!

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  7. That was so beautiful Molly - both the picture & the words.
    And, I truly believe, when we get to the other side & truly SEE all the different ways God tried to show His love for us EVERY MINUTE of EVERY DAY, we will just be absolutely overwhelmed. I'm so glad that you see, and more importantly - constantly remember - His love for you.

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  8. This reminds me of Elder Bednar's talk about tender mercies. Your blog has been a tender mercy for me many many times as I silently follow you and Vic's life from the sidelines wishing to jump in and give you both hugs as I think about you and your fam. often.

    “But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Ne. 1:20).

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  9. I had a similar story happen to me when my husband suddenly died. Not familiar names as what happened to you...but things that happened at the time, and on looking back gave me great comfort. Something very personalized, like your story. Something that told me I was not alone and Heavenly Father knows me and he gave me those special blessings to tell me so.

    So as I read this post, I got it. I understand what you are saying.

    I am in awe by you, and the connection you know between heaven and earth.

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  10. God is so aware of us. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us. I am grateful for all of the reminders of His tender mercies in your life and mine.

    Heidi

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  11. It's amazing all the "little" ways that God gives us comfort, and we really have to cling onto those things at times to remind ourselves that this is all part of the plan!

    As for not being the "best" Mormon, I love this quote from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts-what we have DONE. It is an acknowledgement of the final effect of our acts and thoughts-what we have BECOME. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become." Molly, you already are and are continuing to become an even more amazing person!!:)

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  12. What does "the best Mormon, mother, wife" mean anyways?
    You are being vulnerable and authentic and that is extremely hard! Thank you for it.

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  13. Here I am 5 years later. . . and something does happen. . . the light does return, the smiles are more often and less labored, the tender mercies are more evident. . .Molly, you are beautiful, wonderful, lovely, amazing. I love you. I love Lucy. I love your heart. I love your strength to keep on keepin on through the fight. You are doing so phenomenal. God is PREPARING you to do something Magnificant. . . I promise you he has big plans in store for you. YOU can and WILL and ARE making a difference. . . all because of your sweet baby girl. Love you. I need to talk to you about some 'stuff'. . . I think you are gonna like it.

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