Stumbling Toward the Light

"We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly" -- Madeleine L'Engle

A collection of thoughts and messages I wrote after my daughter died May 17, 2000. Primarily this blog is concerned with grief, bereavement, the death of a child, hope, courage and a tough faith journey.

Location: Kansas, United States

Husband, father of four, friend, dog owner, owned by a cat, Episcopalian, last liberal Republican left in the U.S.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


[Originally posted on DayByDay email list November 23, 2005]

My wife, Diana's women's group met at our house Monday night. Not a real good time to have a meeting.... Thanksgiving week... and Diana was a nervous wreck the last few days preceding the meeting. Cleaning the house, yelling at me to clean the house too; Putting up decorations for Thanksgiving, yelling at me to help put up things for Thanksgiving too. There's no place like home for the holidays?

We'd both taken off Monday and Tuesday this week and Monday morning we (we???) decided that there really weren't very many Thanksgiving decorations in the house. Thanksgiving to me is FOOD... my favorite "decoration." But Diana wanted more things "autumnal." So Monday afternoon, after recleaning the already recleaned house, we drove to the Hallmark store nearby.

The store was already full of Christimas decorations although we did find a couple things there... turkey and leafy ceramicky stuff. Then I mentioned that there might be a few things next door at the Christian Book/Gift store too. So off we trotted to that store.

It was on a table across from the 1/2 price fall/Thanksgiving stuff the store had left to sell. I saw it almost immediately and stood there for a second, staring at it. I walked across the front of the store toward the table, Diana calling after me, "Where are you going?"... then she saw it too.

We stood there gawking at this statue of a little blonde girl. Her hair was flowing around her head, blown by an unseen wind. Her arms were uplifted in a dance that only God, animals and small children know. In her hands, around her legs and on her dress (a dress made to twirl around in) were fall leaves... probably from the leaf filled basket in front of her.

Memories flooded our minds, souls and hearts and we stood there gazing at this symbol of... The word was actually written at the base of the small statue... "JOY".... and I uttered a word that one should never, EVER say in a Christian Book and Gift Store...


Oooops... I don't think anybody heard me but Diana and God... and I have a feeling that He was smiling... and maybe wiping a small tear from His eye.

Joy... that's what she was.

I would rake the leaves into piles in the front yard, knowing she was waiting at the front door, hiding in the shadows. Just as I'd brought the leaves in one of the piles to a near Tower of Babel height the front storm door would slam open, there'd be a loud skreetch that would make a banshee cringe and she would be running down the porch headed for the pile at top speed. A WOOOOOSH as she lept in the air and landed on top of the leaves, disappearing into a mountain of yellows, reds, organges and browns. In a moment she would appear out of the mess dancing, arms lifted, covered by the remnants of summer, much like the small statue on the table in the Christian Book and Gift store... Joy.

We bought it and set it on a side table in the living room... Didn't say anything about it to anyone. Funny thing is that Rachel's godmother, at the meeting Monday night, suddenly got up from her place during the meeting, walked over to the table, picked up the statue, looked at Diana and said, "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! It's her."

Joy is hard to hide.

Joy and grief will share a place at our table on Thanksgiving. I am thankful for the Joy. Through the pain of her diagnosis of leukemia, nine months of cancer treatment, her death and loss she left some of the joy... her joy... in each of us.

Thank you, Rachel. Thank you for the joy.

Much love,



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am starting at the end of your blog and will work towards the recent. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

11:44 AM  

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