By today, Angela Pratt and her two young children will be in Alberta enjoying some warm, family hospitality.
Unfortunately it’s less of a summer holiday for the Chilliwack family, and more of a necessary respite. Angela is grieving the loss of her longtime husband, Grant, who died suddenly in the hospital on June 12.
Grant Pratt was just 48, and had an undiagnosed cancer. He went to the hospital the day before he died, because he was throwing up blood. By midnight, he had taken a turn for the worst. Angela says he was revived with 40 minutes of CPR, received 16 units of blood, and put in an induced coma. He seemed to be doing a bit better, and was partially breathing on his own.
“We went out for dinner, and came back and things had changed so we couldn’t go in to see him,” Angela says. “We heard code blue over the intercom and I just knew. I knew it was him.”
She is still trying to catch her breath from the sudden shock of losing the love of her life. The two met in cooking school 20 years ago, and were married 18 years ago. They have two children, ages two and five.
This isn’t the first time a tragedy has shaken the Pratts. They moved here in 2008, to be closer to an art school for a son who was 18 years old at the time. He had a dream of being a video game designer. But just a few months later, he was killed in a motorcycle accident.
They decided to stay in Chilliwack, and have made a life here for the past eight years.
A few days after Grant passed away, some family came to visit one day, to help out.
“I woke up and they all showed up to my house around 11 a.m. and started asking my kids what they had for breakfast,” Angela says. “I realized I hadn’t even fed them yet.”
It was a hard moment for Angela, first as a mother but also as a chef. Shortly after that, a good friend of hers, Pam Coop, started what’s known as a ‘meal train.’
Through an online site, friends, family and even strangers can volunteer to cook a meal for someone who is going through a hard time. Angela had once started a meal train for another friend who was going through cancer. And through her business, Thyme to Enjoy, she often feeds people who need a little help in the kitchen.
But now it’s her turn to be taken care of, and Pam stepped in to help. For weeks, people would bring the family dishes like tacos, ribs, macaroni and fajitas.
“It’s usually me on the other side of the fence doing this for people who need help,” Angela says, tearfully. “I’m extremely appreciative of the community support, because I just don’t have anyone else here. People who I don’t even know were bringing me food.”
But the meal train will take a break while she’s away with family. She left for the support, but also out of necessity. Throughout this whole process, the Pratts have been dealing with another hard blow — the house they were renting has been put for sale, and they had to move.
Grieving, unable to keep her one-person business operating, and with two young children to feed, she had to make a decision to leave. But she hopes to come back in a few weeks and revive her business.
To help with that part of the equation, a GoFundMe account has also been set up. It’s nearing $6,000, money that will help Angela put a roof over her children’s heads and get them back on their feet, when she’s ready.
GoFundMe – http://www.gofundme.com/2925wy4
Meal Train – http://www.mealtrain.com/trains/q79q21