Ripping the Veil

I wish I could explain what happened in Newton, CT.

I wish I could be assured there was a reason, or purpose.

But I can’t.

© Angelia's Photography

All I can say is what I know.

I know there are good people in this world. I know there are bad people in this world.

Evil does not have a conscious. It does not think, or plan, or consider.

It just does.

© Angelia's Photography

I don’t believe it comes from bad parenting, video games, or laws.

It just is.

© Angelia's Photography

Evil invades the most precious places of our souls. It robs us. It mocks us. It pits us against each other, and it knows no boundaries.

No one is safe.

Not even innocent children.

© Angelia's Photography

Evil is not here or there. You can’t find it on a Google map.

It has no address.

Only existence.

© Angelia's Photography

It will ply into every crack it can, to squeeze and twist every piece of our heart.

To make us weak. To make us give up.

And it hurts.

It hurts deeply, and tragically.

© Angelia's Photography

So I am sorry that I can’t offer you an explanation of why things go wrong, or why bad things happen……

All I can offer you is my truth…..I believe…..one day…….evil will be defeated.

For good.

Because as much as it takes away….it can not steal our hope and faith.

Hug your children, pray, and grieve, but please……

……don’t ever forget and don’t ever give up.

We Remember Them…

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
We remember them;

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
We remember them;

In the opening of buds and in the warmth of summer,
We remember them;

In the rustling of leaves and the beauty of autumn,
We remember them;

In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
We remember them;

When we are weary and in need of strength,
We remember them;

When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember them;

When we have joys we yearn to share,
We remember them;

So long as we live, they too shall live
For they are now a part of us as
We remember them.

from Gates of Prayer,
Judaism Prayerbook

Grandma at the Graveside

Driving to graveside with my heart crushed, I didn’t feel the after effects of the tears, but sniffled and wiped my nose. Silent and disbelieving, through the window, I watched the long line of cars proceed ahead. The lead car (the hearse) a few car lengths away. In my mind, I vividly recall every detail. The little blue casket dwarfed inside the giant Baptist Church. Flowers with blue bows, little stuffed lambs, and plastic rattles. A pastor trying to comfort a family stunned by the loss of an infant only a week old. It just couldn’t be, but it was.

He was an angel, here for a short time, but why?….. why?….. It seemed so cruel to watch my sister hold him, rock him, and then cry by his casket. Not just cry, but – rip-your-heart-out and die – despair. A grief that was palpable. The ache I felt is nothing compared to what she feels. I can’t imagine, nor would I want to. Is he in a better place? Well, sure. But why? Why him? Why us? Why do babies have to die? Tears well up and drop because…. I don’t know the answer to that, and I never will. All I can do is be there for her, and be as brave as she is.

We reach the graveyard. Tires crunch on gravel. The day is overcast – of course. There is a tent set up over the grave. It has a green covering to resemble grass – to cover the hole. The chairs face the “grass” covered in velvet cloth. It is the most depressing place I have ever seen. My sister is still with the family car waiting for the casket and has not yet arrived. It is only my brothers and I, with a few friends strolling up. I see Grandma Owens being led to a chair under the tent awning on the first row. It’s hard to look at anyone. I can’t bear to see the bloodshot eyes, and the red noses. The pain, all the more real, when you look in the face of your family. All of us hurting.

Grandma is holding up very well. She sees the flowers set delicately around the graveside. Beautiful sprays of baby’s breath with delicate blooms unfolding love for a little boy we knew for such a short time. I watch as she moves toward the flower spray near the back, to touch, and to feel, and check the tag to see if it’s hers. One second she is there, shuffling toward the buds, the next she is gone. Gone! It all happened so fast, and it took a collective gasp of horror around me to realize……Grandma fell into the baby’s grave! Oh my GOD!

My brother reacted immediately. He jumped up and ran to her. Fearing the worst, a broke hip or arm. He struggled and yanked her tangled legs from the fake green carpet that was now dipped into the grave hole. He tugs her up, shaking his head in disbelief. As shocked and horrified as she is, we quickly realize Grandma is fine. She is not hurt, only embarrassed.

My brother exclaims loudly as he leads her back to her chair, “Grandma! What are you doing? Stay out of that grave! It’s not your time yet.”

Chuckles blow from hands clasped over mouths. Heads, and shoulders shake, because really? Really! That just happened. Grandma took a dive into the grave.

We laughed that day seventeen years ago, a sad day, but we laughed. We still laugh about it. Beneath the tears and the loss, we will always have that memory of Grandma at the graveside.

**This is a true story**

This post brought to you by…

This week’s prompt was to write a short piece in which a character told a joke and a character cried. The piece has to be maximum 600 words and must be able to be read aloud in no more than 3 minutes.

****I have a BUNCH of pictures from today. We had about six inches of snow, plus we had the little girls, and boy did we play. I will post pics this weekend. Happy Friday!****

Time goes on

Two years go by, but I’ll never forget. I still remember like it was yesterday. The day we held your service and placed you to rest.

I look back on this day, as if it were crystallized in my mind. The hot August sun. The crispy graveyard grass. The beautiful spray of flowers across your handsome gray casket. I try to be strong for my mom. I know she needs me, but when Charley Pride’s, I’ll fly away, plays at the service. I lose my composure a bit. I have memories of riding in your big yellow Lincoln town car listening to Charley Pride sing, Mountain of Love. The first song I ever heard by him. It was one of those I could hear over and over, as you did when you were seven. You really got a kick out of that. To hear his voice again brought such happy tears, and sad ones.

You flew away – oh glory – to a home on God’s celestial shore. A piece of my heart flew with you – is still with you. Always.

The comfort of today is that you are free, just as your beautiful gravestone says.


    I’m free
    Be not burdened with times of sorrow
    I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
    My life’s been full, I’ve savored much,
    good friends, good times,
    a loved ones touch.
    Lift up your hearts and share with me,
    God wanted me now;
    He set me free.

Father, confidant, supporter, encourager, most patient man in the world – stepfather and treasure. Times goes on….but your memories are alive in my beating heart.

I see the sun and you are in it.

Triple digits

Seems like no matter where I turn, I end up in the land of the triple digits.


Evolution of the glyph – 3 number by Wikipedia.

I wrote about the three flames of love back in April.

I (almost) have three daughters.

Sydney, Molly, and Bridget at the Japanese gardens.

I have three dogs.

Salem first, Anna middle, Brownie last.

I have changed my last name three times. Married name #1. Married name #2. Back to maiden name #3. I actually don’t plan on changing it again. That means it stays at three.

My friend Luisa Doraz at Believe in yourself, represents my blog on her blog roll with a picture of three smiling daisies (I did not pick it out).

I adore them.

I am getting married on three tens….at three ten.

I can cook three things well; chicken with noodles in the steamer, mac and cheese casserole, and spaghetti.

There are three chores, I actually like doing; laundry, dishes, and cleaning.

Texas has more triple digits temps in the summer than Arizona (okay, maybe not, but it feels that way some years).

And finally, the month of July, which is not a three, but does remind me of three very special little boys who live in heaven.

My two nephews, and my friend, and photographer extraordinaire, Kellene, from Bella Lucia photography’s son Leo. They lived long enough to capture our hearts, and they died way to soon – leaving a wake of hearts in their ascension.

Kellene’s story of Leo is a moving one. It touched me to the core the first time I read her blog about him. Kellene is not just gifted in intimate portraits of life, but also in capturing intimate moments of life. Precious moments that live forever. I have those with my nephews and she has those with her son. I feel that is part of what connects us.

She is amazing, not only does she praise God for her day with him, but she continues to shine light and love to all who meet her. She illuminates life through her lens and her memories.

I wish I could describe what I feel for her, and what I felt for her immediately upon “blog meeting” her. I guess I just knew how special she was. And talented. And giving. And loving.

This is someone who deserves to be lifted up and praised, not just for her work, but for the sheer will and effort, she put forth to survive the death of her baby.

When she posted on her blog a remembrance memorial request in Leo’s honor, to celebrate his life. His one day. The day that changed her life forever. I was honored to accept, because it’s such a small thing for me to do, but a HUGE thing to her, and her family.

From Kellene’s blog , here is her request:

This month marks the one-year anniversary since our son Leo passed away after being born at 30 weeks due to a placental rupture. The past year has been a rough journey of both sorrow and faith. As we approach this season of remembering, many of you have asked what we were planning to do to remember Leo. After thinking long and hard, and asking other’s their ideas, I have come up with something everyone can participate in to celebrate his life!!

So, if you’d like to participate, here are the details…. I would like to start a Name Memorial for Leo. Find a creative way to write his name and capture it. You can write it in sand, in a letter, on an object, etc. You can incorporate anything you’d like… flowers, balloons, stuffed animals… be creative and have fun with it! The images will be featured on my blogs in a slideshow for everyone to enjoy.

Email your images to: kellene.maynard[at]gmail[dot]com Please be sure to include you name and where you are from with your submission!!!

Thank you ALL for participating in remembering our little man with us. Your love and support has brought us through the darkest time in our lives. We love you!!

If you read her story – Leo’s story. You will want to honor his beautiful life too.

Click here for her journal entry describing her day with him, Remembering Leo.

    Kellene,

    Your walk of faith. Your strength. Your deep well of love is so precious to me. I can’t think of anything more endearing and heartfelt than sharing the celebration of his life with you.

    Love and joy to you always…

Readers, commenters, friends, and family would you join me? Would you join Kellene? Will you take a picture of his name and email it to her for his memorial? It would mean so much to us all, if you could share this time of poignant joy on his first birthday. I look forward to seeing your submissions on her upcoming slideshow.

I also look forward to meeting Kellene in person on my three tens – 10-10-10. She is my wedding photographer, coming all the way from Washington state. Funny thing……the town she lives in? The only town in Washington I have EVER visited. I visited a good friend, and former co-worker, who had a son the same age as Sydney, we were pregnant at the same time. She had moved before the baby was born and I flew out the first chance I got to meet him. Small world, huh?

And by the way……… today?

Marks three months until the wedding (at posting). Three!