sorrow and sweetness

The errand of angels is given to women;

And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim;

To do whatsoever is gentle and human,

To cheer and to bless in humanity's name.

My dear friend and cherished midwife, Briana Blackwelder, died in a car accident on Saturday afternoon. My heart is broken as I reflect on a world without her generous, beautiful spirit. Her influence reaches almost every aspect of my day to day life; her blessed hands were the first to touch my children as we welcomed them into this world, she taught me how to breastfeed and how to make caramels, and as I sit in my living room this morning, I can see her laughing on my couch as we ate German pastries just a few short weeks ago.

Briana's passing has brought waves of grief and pain, but I've also felt  immeasurable joy and sweetness as I read and hear stories of how her life is woven into the most personal and sacred experiences of the lives of her friends, clients, and family. Her life and her life's work was dedicated to healing, supporting, and empowering women, and I truly believe that she will continue doing this beautiful work where she is now.

There will be a celebration service held in her honor on Wednesday at 7 pm at 951 East 100 South in Salt Lake City and on her birthday, May 6, in California.

The treasured photo is from Sela's birth, taken by my mom. Beautiful words from the hymn, As Sisters in Zion, written by Emily H. Woodmansee.


Gogo said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is so painful to lose a dear friend. I will be thinking and praying for you and her family.

BriannEm said...

My sister came home yesterday evening and told me. I'm so... so... sorry. I'm glad you gave me the opportunity to meet her even though I didn't know her well. If you'd like Peter and I can watch the kids on Wednesday night. (The memorial service is at our chapel.)

lovely lindsay said...

that photograph is amazing. my heart is aching.
i too have loved seeing the way she was woven into so many lives.
love, lindsay

The Askeroth Family said...

Rachel, I am so so sorry to hear about the passing of your friend. It sounds like she left behind a wonderful legacy and influence in the world.

Mama Luce said...

Rachel, I wanted to let you know that some people from my ward are putting together a book for the Blackwelder family. Here is the facebook announcement asking for people to submit things.

"We are making a book for the Blackwelder family. Please send photos, memories and thoughts of Bri to: rememberingbriana@gmail.com by Wednesday morning"

My heart and prayers are with you and everyone affected by her passing. I am grateful that I had the chance to know her through your blog.

Thank you.

Emily said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Briana. I've not yet lost a close friend (only family), and I can only imagine how difficult it may be, the intimacy you and Briana shared. Both you and Blackwelder's are in my thoughts and heart as you go through your own processes of grief/celebration/working things out. Love you, friend. xoxo