I’ve baked a thousand casseroles in my life but never imagined I would receive a thousand. Yet, on a lovely fall day (the kind you dream about in the summer and practically beg for in winter), my turn in the “casserole circuit” began. On September 30th, my precious daughter (Lily Katherine Wilson) was stillborn at eight months . . .
As I sat in the hospital mourning the loss of our daughter, I wondered how I would ever learn to live again. All the dreams I had for my family seemed to pass with her. I pictured my life without Lily in it and all the lovely moments I would never experience. I would never see Lily dancing in our kitchen in a princess dress, never talk about her heart being broken by a foolish boy, never kiss her skinned knee, or even watch her blow out her first birthday candle. I carried Lily for eight months and knew her every move, but I will never know her eye color.
As I looked at the past and what could have been, an army of women across Charlotte were looking towards the future and how to care for my family. Cream of mushroom soup was being purchased and family recipes, the ones that are shared for generations and are believed to have true powers, were being pulled out of recipe boxes. Our friends and community starting planning on healing our family, one casserole at a time.
A dear friend and true saint, Lori Martin, organized a meal delivery for us and over the next several weeks our door bell rang, and strangers and friends alike brought us meals. We rejoiced in the love poured into each baking dish. We rejoiced in seeing people at our door to remember our daughter and acknowledge our pain. The “casserole circuit” is amazing and I’m so proud to be a part of it. These women gave me the strength I needed to endure the most painful experience of my life. One thoughtful friend even brought us milk because I feared going to the grocery store and seeing people I would have to explain our loss to. My husband and I learned so much about what it means to be a part of a caring community and to give unconditionally.
I wonder if the women of Charlotte know how amazing they are. Ladies, we could run The White House if only our schedules would allow the time. Will you wonderful women ever fully understand what you gave to my family? Through Tupperware and teary eyes you told us that everything was going to be okay. You taught us that in even the darkest moments, there is light.
Now, when I cook for a family, whether to honor times of joy or sadness, I treasure every turn of the spatula knowing my time matters more than I could have ever imagine. I’ve learned to believe in the miracle of life, the importance of owning good Tupperware, and the healing powers of cream of mushroom soup.