When Life Changes in a Moment

Emily T. Wierenga | January 16, 2016

It’s funny how ordinary your life can feel even as it’s changing forever.

It was a Saturday in winter, and we were downstairs by the crackle of a fire. We were sitting on the rug around a baby jumper; in it sat our youngest son, six months old, fat and happy. He leapt with his baby legs and drooling grin, our oldest stacking Duplo towers beside him. Outside, the Canadian snow fell slowly.

And that’s when our life changed—forever—with one phone call.

I Can’t Do It Anymore 

The voice on the phone was plaintive and warbled, like the sound of someone underwater. “I can’t do it anymore,” she gasped. “I can’t be a mother anymore.” I knew this voice because it sounded a lot like me on desperate days. I tried to calm my friend with empathy. “I know, I’ve been there—it will pass, you can do it.” No, she said, this was different, and she was scared.

My friend was young and single, just exiting an abusive relationship and fending for two small boys with no home and no job. I’d met her through Young Life 10 years prior, as a volunteer leader walking the halls of the local school. I glanced at her, this 12-year-old blonde with…

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