By tony Rossi, Director of Communications
In the movies in which she stars for the Hallmark channels, Nikki DeLoach’s characters always find their way to a happy ending. Real life, however, has provided no such guarantees for the actress. During a “Christopher Closeup” interview, Nikki recalled that in 2017, her unborn son Bennett was diagnosed with multiple heart defects that threatened his survival. He endured three open heart surgeries before age two and is thankfully doing well today.
While all this was going on, Nikki also knew that something was wrong with her father, who lives in Georgia. She’d noticed his personality and behaviors changing, explaining, “My dad was…such a loving, kind man. He had the patience of a saint. [Suddenly], there was no more patience. The kindness and compassion were gone. He was angry a lot, very bitter. Those things happened, almost overnight.”
The family discovered he was suffering from Pick’s disease, a rare and aggressive form of dementia. As a Christian, Nikki admits these experiences prompted her to ask God why these things were happening to the people she loved. Was God making them happen as a punishment of some kind, which is what some Christians believe?
She explained, “I had to re-examine my relationship with God and what it meant to walk with Jesus in your life every single day. [I believe that] God doesn’t do these things to us…God is all good all the time and all love all the time…The truth of the matter is that life is hard and bad stuff happens to all of us. Disease and illness do not discriminate...Our faith helps us to give any situation meaning. Whether that situation is painful or whether it is full of joy, it is our faith that helps us look at it and say, ‘How can I give this purpose? How can I lean into God to get me through, knowing that at the end of the day, whatever happens, I am still being held? I am still being held by the angels and I’m still being held by God.’”
Nikki could have become overwhelmed by her own pain and isolated herself from the world. Instead, she is active in helping the Alzheimer’s Association. Her philosophy was perfectly expressed in a quote she read recently. It said, “The healer’s gift is her own wound. It is the source of empathy and true understanding, of compassion and forgiving. To heal thyself, embrace your wound as your sacred teacher.”
Nikki notes that the traumas we experience in life can create disease in our bodies and minds if they’re not addressed. She concluded, “But if you can bring compassion and love to your wound – and ask it, ‘What can I learn from you?’ – that’s how you begin to heal yourself. That’s also how you begin to help others through deep compassion and empathy…When we see somebody else that’s in pain, we can look at them, knowing what that feels like, and say, ‘I see that you’re in pain. How can I help you?’ Sometimes that means sitting with someone while they cry or while they talk and not offering a piece of advice, but just listening with your heart. Sometimes it may involve a food chain of people delivering food if the family’s going through something. But whatever it is, when you listen from that space – and it’s often from a space where you’ve also been wounded – you can really be a source of love and compassion for someone else.”
For free copies of the Christopher News Note FINDING HEALING AFTER TRAGEDY OR LOSS, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or