After her whole world collapsed with the death of her spouse, Tracy Peart suddenly found herself as a single mother of four kids. But then a neighbor’s act of kindness reminded the sorrowful widow that she wasn’t alone.
In 2011, Tracy and Sean, her loving husband of 20 years had four wonderful children and life seemed to be pretty good.
But in just one night everything was shattered. It was a day just like any other, it was the day before the last day of school, so her kids were excited and “bouncing off the walls.” But still, Tracy had a gut feeling something wasn’t right.
At night, the feeling got worse, but Tracy brushed it off, and never imagined that she would have to grapple with the sudden loss of her husband.
Sean got home from work and the two spent a little time catching up before Tracy headed to a neighbor’s house for a meeting.
As Tracy walked to the meeting, her gut feeling grew even more intense. “No sooner did I walk in my neighbor’s door and sit down when I heard a voice tell me, ‘Tracy, go home right now!’” she recalls.
Sean was out when Tracy got home, and later that evening, when two police showed up, it confirmed her worst fears.
They informed her that Sean was killed in a car accident that shattered her heart. “I collapsed on the porch and began sobbing,” she says. “The officers didn’t say anything, but I could feel their pity. I noticed the shorter officer kept looking at the window at my children’s confused faces.”
Tracy Peart couldn’t see it yet, but God was already working behind the scenes to give her pain a purpose.
“In days after Sean’s death, I was told ‘First You’ll Hurt’, ‘Then You’ll Heal’ and ‘Then You’ll Help’,” she explains.
Tracy Peart and her family were planning Sean’s funeral and Greg Cook, a friend and neighbor of Tracy’s and Sean’s decided to accompany Tracy when she went to the cemetery to pick out a plot for Sean.
“I didn’t ask why he came, but I was so glad he was there,” Tracy recalls. “His presence was comforting. God, I felt so alone. I swallowed hard as we pulled up to the cemetery. I couldn’t breathe.”
Sean’s sudden death meant Tracy wasn’t prepared for his funeral — emotionally or financially and she finally picked out Sean’s final resting place at the second cemetery they visited.
Greg then revealed his reason for joining Tracy. “I want to buy Sean’s grave,” he told her.
Tracy protested as it was too expensive. But Greg insisted. “He placed his hands on my shoulder and told me, ‘A few months back Sean came and saved me from a plumbing nightmare when my water heater went out and wouldn’t let me pay him for the labor. Sean’s not here to argue with me. Let me give him this final gift of thanks, to him, to you and your family.’ I was speechless. Silent tears ran down my cheeks.”
God had already placed a system of support all around her. “The grave Has been my healing place and refuge from the storm,” Tracy says. “I go there to think, to meditate, to heal, and to give it all over to GOD when I am weary of carrying burdens by myself.”
It was not the only act of kindness she would receive, because the community rallied around Sean’s grieving loved ones.
Tracy struggled greatly during the holidays that year as a grieving widow and did not want to take part in the usual Christmastime festivities.
“But Mom, Daddy would want us to celebrate,” her youngest child told her. “He’s with Jesus.”
Neighbors and a local group of Boy Scouts came and hung the lights for Tracy Peart, some brought meals and found acts of service to do for the Peart family. They acted as the hands and feet of Jesus.
“My family was the recipient of an outpouring of love,” Tracy recalls. “In the mess, I found my message. When my heart began to feel the love I could no longer feel the pain I was blinded by. Healing began when I was able to focus on others — getting outside of myself — love, service, and meeting someone else’s needs. I finally got it.”
The sudden loss of her husband brought a new calling for Tracy Peart, she is now an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and force behind the Holy Shift Blog. And inspired by the kindness shown to her family during grief, she also founded the Sean Peart Foundation. It’s a charitable organization aimed at helping children, single mothers, and widows.
“God is always orchestrating his master plan,” the widow says. “The plan always has a purpose and is usually always for the good.”
Life is so unpredictable and we never know what can happen the next moment, but if we trust God and lay everything at His feet, He will use our pain and turn into an unexpected blessing.