The remarkable life of Charles Reynolds: pastor, missionary, troublemaker, stubborn Irishman, thorn in the side, devoted friend
I pulled into the driveway of a little house that looked as if it had been lifted out of Northern Ireland and dropped, unscathed, into the hills of Pennsylvania. The ceilings were low, the windows were small and cute and the stone fireplace had been built by hand.
On one side of the house was a cow pasture and on the other a tiny, century-old cemetery with a sign on the metal gate that read “Enter At Your Own Risk.”
I blew my nose as I parked and began to rehearse what I would say to the elderly Irishman inside, determined to not let him talk me into staying for tea. I did not want tea. I wanted to go home, lay down and fall asleep after a long day of work at the local weekly newspaper and catching a cold that had only gotten worse as the day went on.
I would simply tell Rev. Charles Reynolds, the aforementioned Irishman, that I was too ill to come in, but would stop again another day when I was feeling better.
The door swung open and a man with blond-white hair, glasses slipping down his nose, stood there in a button up dress shirt and a pair of dress pants, his traditional garb for as long as I had known him; as if he had just returned from church.
“Hello, Rev. Reynolds, I’m sorry I can’t stay long, but I seem to have a cold and I don’t want to get you and Maud sick,” I steeled my resolve to not be swayed by his Celtic charm.
“Come, come. Have a cup of tea,” his Irish brogue was thick. “Maude, put the kettle on. We’ll have some tea and Lisa will feel better.”
“But I -”
He was already walking away from me, gesturing for me to close the door.
Maude, his gray-haired wife, had dutifully shuffled into the kitchen, off to the left of the front door, and placed the kettle on the stove.
“Yes, Paddy.” She nodded curtly at her husband, like a soldier to a superior.
Her tone hovered somewhere between affection and sarcasm.
I sat at the kitchen table and waited for the whistle of the kettle as cookies, crackers, plates, tea cups, a bowl of sugar cubes and cream was placed on the table before me. water was poured into a teapot filled with loose tea and steam rose as it was poured into my cup and bits of the leaves settled at the bottom.
Rev. Reynolds leaned over the table and added a cube of sugar to my cup. Two, round white horse pills pills showed up next.
“There now. That will be just what you need. Tea and vitamin c.”
Rev. Reynolds’ had a doctorate but sometimes he seemed to forget it was in theology.
The dainty tea cup covered in blue patterns was warm in my hand and clinked against the plate when I set it down. Being served tea this way was a far cry from tea at my house, served in a mug with a tea bag after pulling it from the microwave.
“So, have you talked to Ian lately?”
I marveled at how Rev. Reynolds had the worst timing and the least tact of almost anyone I knew, other than my former editor.
I had no interest in talking about my former editor. My departure from the daily newspaper I had once worked at hadn’t been pleasant.
But if it hadn’t been for that job, my first in newspapers, I wouldn’t have met Rev. Reynolds.
“Hey, Lisa – this is Rev. Reynolds.”
Ian was the editor of the local daily I had started working at while still in college. He had a slight nasal tone when he spoke, like he had a permanent stuffed nose.
“He’s from Northern Ireland and would be a great source for a story about all the drama going on over there. We can localize an AP story. Interview him and give me 15 inches for the front page tomorrow.”
Localizing, or “adding local color” to a national or international story, was a favorite pass time of Ian, or as Rev. Reynolds would often call him “eeeeeahn”. The concept of localizing involved using an interview or information from a local resident and adding it to a story we had pulled off the Associated Press wire. Ian wanted me to add Rev. Reynolds’ comments to a story about the possible peace deal being negotiated between the Irish Republican Army and the United Kingdom.
“Oh, you’re Irish! Do you speak Gaelic?”
The elderly man with a slightly bulbous nose and holding a stack of papers, looked indignant.
“Noooo!” he cried in a drawn-out Irish accent. “That is the language of the rebels!”
I had no idea who “the rebels” were. Had we just switched to talking Star Wars? I didn’t know, but for the basis of needing to write a story for the next day’s paper, I needed to know.
Even after we talked I was a bewildered by it all. to this day I remain bewildered. It wasn’t until later I started to connect that rebels appeared to be synonymous with “Catholics.” In the world of Rev. Reynolds. As a Protestant, Rev. Reynolds had been raised in a family who supported Northern Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom. Most of those who supported the province remaining within Great Britain were protestant and those who wanted to break off and be part of the Republic of Ireland were Catholics. That’s about all I can explain because even after he explained it to me, wrote a book about it and told me to read it, and I looked it up online, I still can’t wrap my head around why there is an Ireland and a Northern Ireland.
In some sort of ironic twist straight out of a Hollywood script, Rev. Reynolds ended up in the hospital at one point after our friendship grew and his roommate was a local priest, who was well known to my husband and I. Not only did a friendship develop between the two but through him Rev. Reynolds developed a friendship with an Indian priest who was serving as an assistant priest at our local Catholic Church. I remember Rev. Reynolds inviting my family, including my parents, and the local priests to dinner at a local restaurant where he spoke about his life coming full circle – from a distrust of Catholics at a young age to an affection for members of the church he had come to call friends.
From that day at the paper, I became the contact for Rev. Reynolds for his various projects. And he always had a project underway. A fundraiser for an Indian village damaged by a tsunami; a new book he was writing and wanted publicity on; a need to bring awareness to the need for more women in the medical field in India. They were all worthy causes but sometimes it was hard to keep up with his ever-growing list of charitable pursuits.
“Tea has healing properties,” Rev. Reynolds slipped another cube of sugar into my tea.
The tea came from a 50-year old stash in the shed across the dirt road that they’d brought back from India during their time as missionaries. Rev. Reynolds pulled back a tarp one time to show me the small, square white and green boxes stacked high, each full of traditional, loose leaf Indian tea. They’d had it shipped to them from India and knowing Rev. Reynolds he’d found a way to get it there at little to no cost to him. Rev. Reynolds had a way of convincing people they wanted to help him.
I began to realize my headache and body chills were fading. Maybe Rev. Reynolds was right about the healing properties of tea after all.
It was often hard for me to imagine this man, sitting across from me at the table, now in his mid-70s, as a young man living in Northern Ireland. During World War II he joined the Royal Air Force and was stationed in India, where he fell in love with the Indian people, but also with a young woman from a little farming village in Pennsylvania who was in the country as a missionary. After the war he and Maud became missionaries to the country for 20 years. Maud had been an only child who had grown up on a farm and had been taught how to do anything a man could do – including fixing cars and hiking through some of the most remote areas of the world.
Over the years they met many famous people, including Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama and several American and British political leaders. Rev. Reynolds also once lead the leader of Northern Ireland around the United States in a public relations campaign in support for Great Britain continuing it’s rule over Northern Ireland. In 1995 he was also appointed as an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II.
But to me he was simply the man who called me to help him send an email, figure out why his computer wasn’t working, write a news story, or eat a traditional Irish meal of boiled ham, potatoes, carrots, turnips and cabbage with him and his wife, or sometimes some new person he had taken under his wing. In truth, we were almost family, since Maud was related to my grandfather’s family, but we were also family because we somehow adopted each other.
The day before our wedding my strong-willed great aunt and the maybe slightly more strong-willed Rev. Reynolds battled over where the main flower arrangement would be placed for the ceremony.
“The arrangement will go on the altar because it deserves to be the center of the ceremony,” Aunt Peggy said in her thick Southern accent.
She had designed all the flower arrangements, full of gorgeous purple lilies. She transported them to Pennsylvania from Cary, North Carolina, stopping several times along the way to spritz them with water and make sure they stayed cool. Once she arrived at the century old house I had grown up in, she rushed them into the cool stone basement.
On rehearsal day she placed a large, expansive arrangement on the altar between the unity candles and stepped back to inspect her handiwork.
We all stepped back.
We all admired its beauty.
All except Rev. Reynolds.
Rev. Reynolds picked it up and moved it to a stand that was sitting off to one side of the altar.
“It can not be on the altar. The altar is for the candles and the holy book.”
“It will be fine in the center of the table.”
“Noooo….you can no’ place it there.”
The more agitated they became, the thicker their respective accents became.
The exchange went on for several moments longer with the flowers being moved back and forth as each person explained their position.
It was like a scene from a sitcom.
The rest of us wished we had a bowl of popcorn for the show.
I thought my aunt’s eyebrow, which arched when she was indignant, was going to fly right off her fac. Her lips, pursed tight to keep herself from saying something “unpleasant”, were now a thin red line.
Rev. Reynold’s ears and nose were glowing red.
Eventually, a compromise was reached and the arrangement was placed to one side of the altar, still in an appropriately visible location, but not in a place that would detract from “the holiness of the altar.”
Rev. Reynolds could be bull-headed, sometimes even rude, but those moments were overshadowed by a deep desire to serve, to be the hands and feet of God. No matter where he was, from the green hills of Northern Ireland to the remote forests of India, to the tiny Pennsylvania farming community, he never shied away from sharing the gospel. In the last book he wrote, “He Leadeth Me,” he wrote about meeting with the Dalai Lama with a contingent of missionaries and leaders from the United Methodist Church. They hoped to help the exiled Tibetan leader and his people, who had been pushed from their country.
The Dalai Lama turned abruptly to Rev. Reynolds during one conversation and asked, in English, “Why do you help my people? We are not of your faith or your culture, yet you help us.”
Rev. Reynolds said he wasn’t sure how to respond at first, surprised by the question, but believes the Holy Spirit directed his words when eventually relayed Luke 10:33.
“I repeated the simple story of the Good Samaritan and the teaching of our Lord Jesus that we are to love our neighbor, even though that person was not of our faith, our race or our culture. Anyone in need of help and who could not help himself was to be touched by the grace and love of our Lord. This discussion continued on into our knowledge and kinship with God.”
I have many regrets in my life and one of them is driving by the hospital that day, ignoring Mom’s warning that it might be my last chance to say my goodbyes. I was in denial that death could ever come for someone so full of life. A few days later I stood in the back of the church the day of the funeral and held my crying baby, mourning loss and celebrating new life simultaneously.
There are many times since I have felt the void of the insistent Irishman who often drove me to my wits end, blessed me with his kindness, and demonstrated to me what it means to truly live in the footsteps of Christ.
“I believe God made us all as individuals, each with their own life’s work, calling and talents. We should therefore find a place of service in this gigantic jigsaw puzzle that we see as the world, and as having found it, we should serve to the best of our ability. Shakespeare understood this when he had Polonius say ‘This above all to thine own self be true.; However, we know that Polonius was not true to that affirmation, so Shakespeare added a contra when he wrote, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’ True, many people wear masks and act a role, but nobility of spirit requires identifiable personal characteristics.”
~ Rev. Charles Reynolds
Why I briefly broke my 30-day Facebook detox (and no, it wasn’t to vent about a fast food restaurant.)
Turn off the interrogation lights!
This week I logged on to Facebook, briefly breaking my 30-day detox.
I’m a total fraud.
Let me explain.
Here is how it all started: without logging onto Facebook, I looked at the Today Show Parenting Team’s Facebook page this week, out of curiosity, and discovered one of my posts I had submitted on the community, had been shared. It had 38 comments and 240 shares.
The post, entitled “A Pregnancy Loss is A Loss No Matter How Small” was about my early pregnancy loss, which was caused by a blighted ovum. The post focused on the feeling by some women that they don’t feel they have a right to mourn an early pregnancy loss. In reality they do, because that pregnancy, no matter how brief, represented their idea of what was to be. And because that pregnancy was the start of a life that ended too soon.
Some of the comments on the post were so heartbreaking that I wanted to show the grieving mothers support so I hesitantly broke my Facebook detox simply to try to offer them some words of comfort. A couple days later I checked on the post to see if any other women had commented and discovered my post had also been shared on the Today Show’s main Facebook page and there were now 408 comments, 2,652 shares and over 11,000 reactions. I was flabbergasted and knew I couldn’t comment to all those women so I just read most of the comments and cried at how many of them had been told they had no right to mourn such early losses.
I just couldn’t imagine not offering some words of comments to these hurting moms, especially one who had lost a baby only a couple of days before she commented. She had been 32-weeks along. My daughter, my rainbow baby, was born at 37 weeks. I can’t imagine being so close to full term and losing a child. I have at least two friends who have lost children later in the pregnancy and it breaks my heart to think of the pain they suffered during that time. It breaks my heart even further to imagine they may be afraid to talk about those losses because we live in a society where miscarriages can be so easily dismissed, especially if the loss is early in the pregnancy.
I want those women to be able to share their feelings. I know I blogged about my feelings here and under the Today Show’s Parenting Team challenge to share about a pregnancy loss, but the whole situation is still difficult to talk about.
There was a lot going on in our family during that time in addition to the loss. It was a whirlwind of emotions and confusion and rejection and part of me shut down after the miscarriage. There was some shame mixed in because the pregnancy came during a marriage trial.I worried some might think the pregnancy came to try to save the marriage when that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Even now I feel myself cringing inside as my fingers hit the keyboard. Despite having a personal blog, I’m not a person who thrives on sharing intimate thoughts or feelings, even if I think the sharing might help bring comfort to someone else.
What I hope the post the Today Show shared will do is help grieving moms have the courage to speak about how their pregnancy loss made them feel and ultimately understand they are not alone.
Looking at her young face staring back at me from the vintage, monochrome photograph it suddenly struck me how young she had been when her world fell apart. Her story was family folklore, passed down as one of those subjects discussed in hushed tones and only around certain family members.
Here she was, though, appearing to me younger than I had ever imagined her when I had heard the stories as a child, a teen and even as an adult. I saw in her eyes a bit of fear, maybe trepidation, but also a lot of grit mixed with the slightest hint of humor.
When she’d met the man she would one day married she was head over heels in love. He was handsome and charming, and loud and boisterous. Some, though, especially her family, called him trouble.
She wrote love letters to him and told him she couldn’t wait until they could be alone again, married and on their own.
The details are hazy, the story one fractured by memories not as strong as they once were, possible family biases, maybe a bit of resentment and a whole lot of “he said, she said.” What is known is they married, he did something that hurt her deeply, her family chased him off with a shotgun and she came home with a 2-month old baby and soon to be divorced, something not often heard of at that time.
The baby was born with the last name of Hakes, but a line was struck through that name and it was eliminated, one might say. When the divorce was final the baby’s last name became Robinson, his mother’s maiden name, and stayed that way, even when she became an Allen through a new marriage, years later. Family lore, accurate or not, says her family wouldn’t allow the little boy to have his father’s last name. So, the baby, my grandfather, was Hakes by blood but not by name.
Raising a son alone, so young, with a broken heart and maybe added shame, must have been close to impossible, even with the help of her family. I often wonder how those events shaped her inner being, how it maybe led her to throw up walls that it took years to let down, if she ever did.
It seems when we get older we are told new stories about family members, or more of the story or maybe we just listen better and find out what we had always thought was the full story really wasn’t.
More pieces to the puzzle of the story of my great aunt, taken away from her family to live in a mental hospital and then a nursing home were recently given to me, correcting my belief that she was placed in the home at a young age. Instead, she was apparently closer to 30 when her parents had her committed and one reason was the fear she would harm my dad, who was about three or four at the time.
And she wasn’t really abandoned there, as I had previously thought. Instead, she withdrew into herself after years of odd behavior and her parents felt she was safer in the hospital. They also had limited income and only one vehicle to visit her with or bring her home.
So while I heard new information about my great aunt’s story recently, the story that remains a mystery for most of our family is what really led to my great-grandmother Blanche leaving Howard Hakes. It’s not really a topic you bring up when meeting distant relations only at family funerals every few years.
“Hey, so whatever happened with that whole divorce thing with Blanch and Howard anyhow?” you can’t simply ask. Or, “Was that Howard a real jerk or what’s the real story?”
It wouldn’t exactly be polite dinner (or funeral) conversation.
There are the family “rumors”, of course. He liked his parties, women, and alcohol, was the one rumor. Blanche, had finally had enough, some say, and she left Waverly, NY, considered the “big city” back then in the early 1900s and returned to her family’s farm with her young son, Walter, who happens to be my grandfather.
It’s always a bit awkward to write about family drama when some of those family members who might know more are still alive so I will admit that I know very little about what led to the end of the marriage. Not too mention, because it was so long ago and I never met Blanche and was only about 2 when my grandfather died, I don’t have a “dog in this fight” so to speak. I don’t see either party as an enemy or at fault, simply because I wasn’t there, therefore I truly have no idea.
What I do have is a wonder about how Blanche felt about it all, and even how Howard felt. And when you get right down to it, what did Walter feel about it?I wish he was around for me to ask.
Whatever led to the failed marriage, it came and my grandfather was raised without knowing his father. It wasn’t until Blanche died, well after my grandfather was an adult with two adult daughters and one young son, that Howard showed back up. My dad remembers he was about 13, returning from a Boy Scout camp out, when a man approached him in town and told him, “I’m your grandfather.”
Later that day, sitting with my grandfather on the porch of my dad’s house, now remarried and a father of other children, Howard tried to make peace with his firstborn, asking him, “Well, your first born is always your favorite, aren’t they?”
“I don’t play favorites,” my dad remembers my grandfather saying in a deep, stern voice.
My dad was the baby of the family, his sister Eleanor was the oldest and sister Doris the middle. And no, Walter wasn’t going to play favorites.
Maybe Grandpa was telling Howard he wasn’t about to accept an attempt to suggest one child should be loved over another as any type of apology for being an absent father.
Even if my grandfather couldn’t accept the failed attempt of an apology that day, some sort of peace was made. Visits were had, half-sisters were met and Howard’s funeral was even attended many years later.
Two, faded and short, letters are tucked away in a jewelry box in my parent’s room and my parents aren’t even sure where they came from. It’s clear they were written by Blanche to Howard and start with “My Love.”
“They are heartbreaking,” my mom told me one day. “She really loved him.”
And she did. Telling Howard she hoped his new job was going well and that she couldn’t wait “until you are here in my bedroom with me again.”
Gasp! In her bedroom?
Scandalous stuff for 1900.
Maybe so scandalous some in my family might not think I should air the family’s “dirty laundry.”
But, if we are honest, every family has their own dirty laundry and some of that dirty laundry isn’t really dirty, but just heartbreak caused by broken people.
I must admit I’m sad to see our garden now gone.
I miss the garden even though it didn’t yield much in the way of produce. Our backyard seems so barren and drab now with the garden dead and the left over plants brown and brittle and crushed under the weight of the snow and frost.
For awhile this Fall we had unseasonably warm weather. That warm weather meant the grass was greener longer, which was welcome, but not normal and I don’t like when things are abnormal when it comes to my routine and environment.
The days became shorter, nights and mornings cooler and I knew soon there would be less sun. Because things had been so weird in the world the past several months, I was actually yearning for the normalcy of warm weather fading into cool weather and cool weather slipping into cold weather. I wanted, in some ways even, for it to get darker earlier, though it meant less sunlight and time to play outside with the kids. Yet, even as I yearned for the normal cold of winter, in the pit of my stomach I felt dread because weird things seem to happen in my world when the days are shorter and the sunlight is less. Most years it’s is depression that sets in and invades everything in my life.
Last year it was depression but it was also sickness and the loss of our dog and then for three months straight I vibrated inside like I was sitting 24/7 on an engine.
No one could figure the vibrating out – not my family, not doctors. A couple blood tests were off but nothing pointed to a medical cause of what I could only describe as internal vibrating. Not being able to pinpoint a reason for it scared me and the more fear set in, the more I vibrated, night and day.
When it started I thought it was my ears. They had been stuffed and full all winter and my balance was off. No one else thought it was my ears. They thought it was all in my head. Soon I began to think the same thing and even now, I still wonder. The only people who could relate were two friends – one who had something slightly similar during panic attacks and another who said a friend who had recently lost her brother told her she had been vibrating inside for weeks and felt it was from extreme stress.
I hadn’t faced any trauma, though, so what was wrong with me, I wondered. Losing a pet who had been part of our family for 14 years wasn’t the same as losing a brother, even if the loss of the dog was intertwined with overwhelming guilt for me since I believed, and still believe, I could have reduced my little dog’s suffering if I’d only focused more on his needs and less on my own.
The vibrating wasn’t a symptom of any medical conditions, a doctor told me. It was much more likely my physical symptoms were stemming from mental anguish, anxiety and a complete loss of normalcy and security in my life, she said. In other words – I was suffering a near mental breakdown, or at least that’s how I understood what the doctor said.
In the next month heart palpitations and nighttime waking caused by feeling like I had stopped breathing kept me awake most nights. I felt like my body was turning on me, trying to kill me. I soon realized it wasn’t my body that was trying to kill me but my mind. And even more than my mind it was spiritual forces influencing my mind and driving me further into panic, fear and sheer terror.
Were my symptoms real?
Honestly, there are days I still wonder.
I stepped up my electrolytes and started to stretch muscles and do lymph node massages to try to drain the ears. I listened to sermons day and night about fear and rebuking evil. Slowly the vibrating stopped and one morning I woke up and it was gone completely.
Even now I can’t be sure what combination helped the most, or what was really going on, but I know prayer was the only thing that got me through.
Trusting Christ, using His words to fight a battle waging around me in the spiritual realm was what I needed most. This is not the first time I’ve found myself battling demons and knowing things were moving against me spiritually.
Before the battle was against the very fabric of my family. This time it was my health and like before I only saw the physical battle. Even more during this battle than the last, I was spun out of mental control. This battle told me I was going to die and leave my children alone. These thoughts didn’t just tell me my family would fall apart but I would lose Nmy life.
There are times I still feel the dread that it will all happen again but I know I now have weapons I didn’t quite understand how to access before. And I’m still learning.
A sermon by Joseph Prince about the battle for our mind is something I have listened to on repeat for almost a year now.
Prince talks about our mind being where the main battles are waged in our life. And those battles are launched in the spiritual realm, not the physical one.
The battles we often see as physical- the health concerns, the financial worries, the tension within our families- are being waged in the spiritual realms and we can’t fight them the way we would in the physical world. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons and our main weapon is fervent, focused prayer.
Speaker Priscilla Shirer saysin her book “Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer”:
“If I were your enemy, I’d magnify your fears, making them appear insurmountable, intimidating you with enough worries until avoiding them becomes your driving motivation. I would use anxiety to cripple you, to paralyze you, leaving you indecisive, clinging to safety and sameness, always on the defensive because of what might happen. When you hear the word faith, all I’d want you to hear is “unnecessary risk.”
And that is what happened to me – I was crippled mentally. I couldn’t fathom anything positive coming from what was happening to me and I lost interest in everything I loved. I clung to my house and my bed and yes, I felt having faith was a risk to me, to have my hopes and dreams shattered around me.
When I find my thoughts drifting back to last year, to the darkness and the fear, I try to remember what finally pulled me through – placing my focus not on my enemies of Fear and Dread and Infirmity but on Christ and my knowledge of Him wanting the best for us, even when we feel like our lives are totally out of control.
We may not always understand why we are in the midst of our trials but we always know who is the author of our story and He was there when our story began and He will be there when our story ends.
Out of the two of them I worried about telling my 11 year old son the most. I dreaded it, in fact, but then I dreaded more the delay in being able to tell him; a delay caused by his spending time with a friend and then unexpected weather. My daughter is only three so I knew telling her her great aunt, who was part of her grandparents home and who we saw almost every weekend, had died would be hard, yet somewhat of a vague concept to someone so young.
But I knew he, at 11, would be hit with the full brunt of the reality of it and I knew his innocence bubble, chipped away at by the death of his dog earlier in the year, would be shattered by the blow. He’d been at a friend’s house when we first heard the news and we left him there to be shielded for a little while longer because we knew that’s what she would have wanted – him having fun instead of at home and grieving.
Then, when it took longer than we hoped to get to him, so we could break the news, we felt at a loss and like someone else in our family, not just her, was missing. We wanted him with us so we could grieve together, as a family.
When the news was finally given and the tears rushed down and the arms tightened around his small, grieving frame it was a type of release and a new type of prison all at the same time because now he was no longer shielded, but one of us, one of those who knew loss and who mourned
She had been one of the first to hold him, to kiss the top of his soft, fuzzy head the day he was born. She’d rocked him, cuddled him, played games with him and even though she was bossy in her later years, as her health worsened, she was the one who joked, who blew wet kisses with fart noises on his cheeks, and always told him to “get over here and give me some sugar.” She was the one who pulled him close and made him promise to “never stop being the sweet boy you are, baby.”
Goodbyes were never said without a hug and her slobbery kisses. Afternoons were rarely spent without her falling asleep in the chair and then waking up for him to show her his latest project.
Sometimes she was grumpy.
Sometimes he was grumpy.
Sometimes we all were.
Sharp words were blurted, flounces made, doors slammed. But then apologies were made, embraces came and “I love you” was said.
Oh the emptiness felt in that house without her there.
Oh the emptiness felt in our hearts.
The pain of the loss is like hands squeezing hard on our insides.
We wait for her to come down the stairs and tell us something funny she read online or show us her latest gadget. We think we hear her move above us in her room. We think we will soon hear her sing, as she often did, to be silly, the first few lines of “You Are My Sunshine.”
So we laugh in her honor.
We sing to remember.
We embrace and blow fart noises on faces to never forget how she touched our lives and made it better just by being her.