by Erica Kiefer
Weaving spirituality with a practical approach to healing, Borrowed Angel reflects on motherhood, the grieving process, and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
By Jennifer , Submitted on 2015-02-25
I recently read a book called "Borrowed Angel" written by Erica Kiefer. We lived in the same neighborhood when she tragically lost her baby boy Ty to SIDS. The day of Ty's funeral I debated whether or not I should go. I didn't know Erica or her husband and I had never met Ty. But she was a mother and I felt the need to support her, so I went late and stood in the back. Every single chair was filled. The funeral was so beautiful and the building was filled with so much love. The Sunday following the funeral she was brave enough to face the world and come to church. She sat behind me and after the meeting I asked if I could give her a hug. It was a hug probably more for me than for her, but I'm grateful her arms were open. Her bravery and faith have carried her through the pain and she has successfully written about her experience to share with the world.
When my baby was in the hospital there was point when we were unsure if he would get to come home with us. It was about this time three years ago that we visited the cemetery to look at a plot...and we said hi to little Ty and a few others. I reached out to Erica and asked if she would be willing to talk about her experience and help me prepare for what might come. At that point she was the only person I knew who had lost a child. She was so open to share her heart with me and I was so grateful! Thankfully our phone date never happened and we got to bring our baby home.
When her book was published I was so happy for her success and healing. I hesitated to read it because it was too close to what I was trying to somehow prepare for, even though three years have passed. When I visited a friend, she had it on her shelf and I paused before picking it up. She encouraged me to read it and told me it was inspiring and uplifting. I took it home and it sat on my dresser for a few days before I opened it. Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down. Although I skipped the chapter where she found her sweet angel lifeless, I couldn't bear to embody those details.
The chapters following were full of learning to cope with grief and to arrive at hope and healing. Her story is not just for those who have lost a loved one in death. Her story of healing can be applied to ALL hurt. I am amazed at how far she has come in just a few short years.
If you are hurting, give this a try.
By Maicee, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I love this book! Worth the read!
By marie, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I was so excited to read this book. So when an opportunity came to write a review and read it early I was super excited. I, like most people, have also had my share of challenges in life, so I wanted to see how she dealt with her loss and the path she took to heal her own heart.
The story was heart felt and real. It gave me a real sense of who Erica was and is. I love the joy and excitement in anticipating the first child. The fears and the unknowns. The decisions to be made such as, "do I stay home or do I work." And the feelings of "who am I" when it is know longer just me that I worry about.
Erica is very accomplished in her life with sports and schooling. She seems to love her work and the life she has with her husband. But it is amazing to me to see how when we have a child everything about us changes.The new parental role is something that is hard and rewarding all at the same time. I love it when she decides to stop and enjoy her son rather than do the regular crazy routines that she had put on herself. I find that as a mom the schedule tends to overtake me sometimes. So I have to remind myself what is most important and what do I really need to be doing?
This is a tender moment in the book. One that I am sure she cherishes often.
"I cradled Ty in the rocking chair that morning, ignoring the reminders of the things I could be doing. Instead I savored the pleasure of kissing my baby's sweet face and feeling his little hands clinging to my chest. My to-do list that day became simple: love my son and enjoy my time with him as a mother."
When I had my miscarriage I was very sad. I did not want to eat and I did not want to even function. With the help and support of my husband and mother I was able to have a quiet and inspirational moment in my life that gave me the courage to heal.
So when it was that morning of finding her little boy not breathing and the feelings that came and her trying to do what she could to save him. Then as the paramedics showed up and it was out of her hands, the fears and the screams, the feelings of "this cannot be happening to me." It was heart wrenching. Your stomach sinks and you feel the helplessness that she is going through.
I felt that same way when my brother almost drowned. I screamed so hard ( I was only 10 yrs old at the time) at the thought of him being gone. It brought back that feeling of helplessness.
This is where you find what a strong and amazing women Erica is. No matter what she accomplished at this point in her life. She finds her greatest accomplishment, besides her marriage, is gone from this life. She now has to pick up the pieces and find where those pieces belong in her life and how to fill that void. Some people give up and give into the sorrows and never fully find themselves again.
Erica does struggle, she goes through many ups and downs while trying to find a purpose. She longs to have another child. She wants to connect with her husband, but they handle things differently, so that brings its own challenges and struggles. She also has many family members who struggle through this difficult time as well. The one thing that I love is that she always refers to how the Lord prepared her in many ways and guided her on this journey.
"Taumafai," is a Samoan song that Dan learned on his mission. It is a song that teaches to have courage and strength and to rely on the Christ in difficult times. Which they very much did through this.
I really enjoyed hearing how the Lord had helped her to truly deal with her pain. She was wanting to get pregnant so bad, partly to feel a void. It was not happening and it was making her angry and frustrated. So through the help of her husband and bishop, she goes to counseling.Through counseling she deals with that anger, she learns not to fight the anger. Instead she uses the anger to find the purpose of faith and hope. She learns, that part of healing is going through the pain, not avoiding it. There is a beautiful poem that she puts in the book. You will have to read it to see what it says. I really enjoyed the words of that poem and what it meant to her and what it can mean for all of us.
I loved hearing how she turned to Lord as you would a father here on earth. She prayed to let him know of the pain she was in. She used the Lord, as we all should, by expressing all our feelings and not letting the fear that maybe I should not feel this way, be the reason to not communicate with our Lord and Savior. When she referenced Mormon's word of hope and faith in Christ. It helped me to see how they work hand in hand. I was able to see how hope with faith and using those through the atonement of Christ is how it can heal us.
I look forward to reading this again. I feel that anyone going through hard times,whatever it may be can use this book for words of advice and encouragement to there own healing.
By Christina, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Borrowed Angel by Erica Kiefer is a heart-wrenching and heart-warming story. It is non-fiction and is a very personal account written by Erica after she lost her baby who died from SIDS. I was in tears from page one. I could only read a few pages at a time so that my kids wouldn't ask me what was wrong. It started off so heart-wrenching as you read the account of her baby's death. As the book describes their grief and the ways they cope and hold tight to the gospel the mood of the book changes slightly and becomes heart-warming. She talks about the things that happened to help her after her son died, the people Heavenly Father put in her path to help her. It is a really good book; full of hope and reminders to cherish the time we have with our loved ones. You feel her testimony through her words. It is very inspirational and moving. There is life after death. Even if you haven't suffered a loss this is a really good book. She has really good insights on how to either cope with a loss or to help understand and help others who are coping with a loss. It was a good reminder that our time on earth can end at any time. We don't know how long we have to hold our precious ones close. When you read this book have some Kleenexes nearby!
By jenny, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I just finished it and even though I have not yet lost a child, my faith in trusting in God's timing and will is greater today because of this book. Thank you Erica! I highly recommend it to offer comfort to anyone going through great trials in life.
By SamanthaJo, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Borrowed Angel is a beautiful account. It is not an easy read, emotionally. As I read, I felt Erica and Dan's pain, first in finding their infant, and then through the very difficult months after. Through the telling of their story, they are a wonderful example of seeking to strengthen each other and their marriage through this loss and trial. I would recommend this to anyone. It's focuses of grieving and overcoming loss, but can really be applied to anyone who is or has struggled with anything.
By Jeffrey, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Approaching 60 myself, I have dealt with the death of loved ones: sibling, grandparents and parents. Nonetheless, all these experiences pale in comparison to the loss of ones own child. Erica Kiefer does an extraordinary job of making both the pain of loss and the healing process all too real and personal. Despite the incredibly sad story, the book is powerfully moving and uplifting. Indeed, anyone who has experienced personal tragedy will gain from reading it. And to those fortunate few who thus far may have been spared the heartache of loss, read the book so you can comprehend the pain of others. More importantly, we can all take heart in seeing that healing is possible but requires both time and effort.