After going through a number of health scares, Brandy Porche was assigned a “church mom” who would serve as a pillar of support. She talks about learning the true gift of connection as part of Psychiatric Times’ series on Women Who Inspire. See highlights below or read the full article in Psychiatric Times here. 

cartoon drawing of three diverse women's faces, smiling, standing together, with no eyes

I would like to introduce you all to Peggy Hayes, a woman who inspires me. Peggy is a favorite of many, but I am blessed to be able to call her my church mom. I met Peggy in December 2017. At the time, Peggy and I attended the same church. Peggy is 70 years young and a pure joy to be around. She is a jazzy, sassy, and sophisticated woman who instantly gains the respect and admiration of everyone she meets without solicitation.  

In the last months of 2017, I experienced many health challenges. I was hospitalized three times and almost died. I was at the end of my graduate program, and I had to drop out for the semester due to my emergency hospitalization. I had my last surgery in December 2017. I was out of it mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  

While at home resting, I received a voice message from Miss Peggy. I was completely out of it and did not return any calls. The next thing I know, I receive a text message from our senior pastor asking me why I had not returned Miss Peggy’s call. Eventually, I got up enough energy to call Miss Peggy. 

While I did not want to be bothered, I knew that her only goal was to connect with me. We chatted for half an hour, and she asked me not to be a stranger. When I finally met Miss Peggy face-to-face, the first thing out of her mouth was, “Pastor assigned me to you. You are my daughter.” She gave me the biggest hug ever, and I just felt so comforted. Her hug provided an emotional release that I had not realized I needed. From that point on, we were connected.  

I consider myself a giver, yet I have never met anyone with the same gift to give as Miss Peggy. She would bring me little gifts like scarves to church because she saw that I like to wear them. She gave from her heart, consistently. 

For example, I was in a vigorous graduate program, and I do not have family here in Texas. While working 85 hours a week trying to finish my clinical hours, I could not be home for a delivery. I called Miss Peggy, and not only did she help me out by going to my place for the delivery, but she also dropped off lunch for me at the hospital. That was the sweetest gesture ever, and it really touched my heart. 

Miss Peggy was best friends with another lady at church, Miss Claudette, whom I loved very dearly. When Miss Claudette passed away, I was really shaken up by her death. I was working so many hours that I had not known about her recent illness. I felt guilty about this until Miss Peggy reassured me that Miss Claudette would’ve wanted me to stay focused and finish my hours.  

At Miss Claudette’s funeral, the church directions were that only the family could come up to view the body. Crying, I turned and asked Miss Peggy, “I won’t get a chance to say goodbye?” Miss Peggy walked me right up to the front so that I could say goodbye. Even though I am sure she was going through her own grief, she took on a comforting role. I am not sure I could have shown that strength. 

Miss Peggy inspires us to love better, to comfort better, and to serve better. She is an inspiration to serve one another more lovingly and completely. She is the calm that we all need, and if I could bottle her spirit, I would share it with everyone. Saying that Miss Peggy is a blessing to my life and to the lives of many others is an understatement. 

Ms Porche is a licensed professional counselor with Mindpath Health. 


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