Not Just a Pillow, A Bless-ed Pillow


Bless-ed Pillow Sunday at Tucker First UMC

By Katherine Griffith
For more than ten years, the United Methodist Women (UMW) at Tucker First UMC has made special breast cancer pillows for patients in the community, church, and local hospitals. The handmade, heart-shaped pillows provide a soft barrier after surgery between the surgical site and things like a seat belt strap or being bumped by someone. The group creates about 75 pillows a year, then they are dedicated and prayed for by the entire congregation. New this year, the group added a seat belt pad to provide extra comfort when traveling.
The women who make the pillows typically never see who receives them, and all the recipients typically only know that a local group of ladies made this pillow and prayed over it. The pillows are given by the UMW President to a nurse navigator who works with breast cancer patients.
This year, a local breast cancer support group, led by a retired nurse navigator, Rose McKeever, was invited to help bless the pillows.
Twenty-three breast cancer survivors, some with their families, attended Tucker First UMC on October 17. They were excited to meet and thank the women who created their special pillows and "pay it forward" by praying over a new batch of pillows.
I am a breast cancer survivor (complete with pillow) and a member of both Tucker First UMC and the breast cancer support group.
I always saw these pillows as the perfect shape post-surgery, and as a church member, I was happy to pray over the pillows. The pillows took on a new meaning when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and became the recipient of a pillow. It stood for faith, comfort, and the faithful who prayed over these pillows. I am ever grateful.
The support group wrote personal thank you notes to the UMW, and the ladies were deeply moved that these pillows provided more than comfort and stood for love, faith, and caring. The "Blessing of the Pillows" in the worship service was renamed "The Blessing of the Bless-ed Pillows" by the support group after one of their members used that phrase in their thank you note.
“Receiving these bless-ed pillows was such a blessing to my life. The labor of love was heartwarming during my recovery. Words can't express how thankful I am for your mission to support women going through a challenging period in their life. God bless all of you. I call my pillow a bless-ed pillow (pronounced with two syllables bless-ed). I have had breast cancer twice, and each time, I had the honor of receiving a breast cancer pillow. They allow a survivor to provide a comfy cushion to a surgical or treatment area allowing relief from pain. The pillows emanate a spirit of love and caring from the church ladies, making them the cancer recipient. It is important that the hands that make these pillows know that this is an ‘act of healing.’ The pillows also provided me comfort and stability at home, traveling in the car, and visiting family and friends. I am truly blessed that I received both my pillows.” Charlene
A member of the support group, Angela Paul, spoke during the service and thanked the UMW and the church for the gift of the pillows. She also said that when she received her pillow, it made her think of Proverbs 31, where a virtuous woman helps people by making things and Acts 19, where people took handkerchiefs and scarves that had touched Paul's skin and touched the sick, and they were made well. These pillows were more than comfort; they represented a source of healing and prayer.
“The bless-ed pillows are a boundless blessing to me. When I use my pillow, I feel like I am receiving a loving hug as the pillows provide physical and emotional support. Not only do they relieve physical pain and discomfort, but for me, the softness and unique shape of the pillows also provide a sense of comfort, relief, and peace. When I use the pillows to combat the pain, I experience a sense of relief and calmness that reminds me that God's got me. I cannot thank you enough for letting God use you to bless me through the bless-ed pillows. These pillows are an ongoing tool in my healing process from my first surgery until now, as I still use them three years later. God bless you for blessing me and so many others. Thank you!” Syreeta

Katherine Griffith is a member of Tucker First UMC.