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Nancy Wilson is in Heaven

You probably don’t know this woman, Nancy Wilson. It’s weird that I know her, since she’s a pastor in Ann Arbor and I’m an aethiest in Raleigh. But I know her. I knew her.

10 years ago, when I was single and pregnant with Animal and Mineral, I ran into an old “friend” — really just an acquaintance — from middle school. In middle school she had been pretty and popular, while I was neither — at least, it felt that way to me. When I saw her again, she was even prettier and still seemed popular, and I was even more sad and lonely and scared than I’d been as a tween in the early 90s.

(Note: just because you’ve graduated college, doesn’t mean pregnancy as a single woman is a good situation. People say, But at least you had your degree! Unfortunately, it’s never benefitted me in any tangible way thus far.)

My “friend” from middle school eventually became a real FRIEND during that time, and she brought me to church and introduced me to Nancy Wilson.

Nancy ran a ministry for Single Mothers. One night a month we were pampered and doted on and fed, while the children were taken care of by church volunteers.

Nancy also ran the New Moms’ Group, a weekly group for moms of young children to get together and talk about the struggles and challenges and joys of motherhood.


Nancy had a huge heart for mothers. She didn’t proffer advice; she just loved you and welcomed you. She was married to the main pastor and they had five children.

She died on Sunday, very suddenly and unexpectedly.

Even though it’s been ten years since I’ve seen her, I’m really sad. She was so kind and loving — especially at a time when I needed kindness and love. I will never forget that. I think about her all the time.

So kind. So loving. So generous with her heart. I hope to be a little bit like Nancy Wilson.

7 Responses

  1. Your generosity with your thoughts here is a testament to her influence. I’m sorry the world is poorer for her loss today.

    • Thank you. It is. I know people are celebrating that’s she’s reunited with Jesus, but I can’t help thinking of all the people she’s helped here. And her children.

  2. Thanks for this Erika – she is an amazing woman and we will all miss her so much. Every once in a while, she’d ask for an update about how you were doing, since she knew you and I had reconnected on FB. She was so happy that you were happy. I never told you that, but while it may have been 10 years since you’d seen her in person, she still talked about you, cared about you and I’m sure, being Nancy, prayed for you. I love you my friend, God bless you.

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss and for the loss of Nancy from her family and the world. We sure need more like her.
    I’m so glad you had her and I know you will carry her loving heart on in the world.
    big hugs to you.

  4. Hi Erika,
    My dad (Nancy’s husband) stumbled across your blog and sent it to us, her kids, today. It was so lovely to read your words almost six months later about her and to know that she had such a widespread reach. Thank you for your post and for loving my mom.
    Judy Wilson

  5. I’m friends with one of Nancy’s daughters who feels her loss immensely. Thank you for posting this beautiful tribute. While I’d never met Nancy, I’m in awe of her generosity of spirit and SO thankful to count her daughter as a dear friend. I hope you still feel her prayers and know she’s smiling down at all she touched during her too-short life.

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