My, my, my
Let your bright light shine
Let your words live on
Far beyond this life
Beyond this life

Lyrics from My, My, My / Rob Thomas

Remember I mentioned a couple a weeks ago that I had more to say on the topic of “light” and mentioned a future post… 15 days down the road?   Honoring that promise today and remembering a very bright, bright light went out on April 18, 2006.

The phone call came around 6 p.m. Something horrible happened on an Iowa softball field.  My beloved sister-in-law Heather collapsed.  I vividly remember saying and thinking and praying… she will be fine, the ambulance is on its way, she is young and healthy and her baby needs her.  We all need her.  She resonates light as a radiant soul.

Two nights prior to the call we were drinking margaritas and laughing and chatting endlessly about babies, travel plans and creative dreams. She was 36 years old.  A Nascar-loving, antique collecting, elementary school teaching, family-focused, Winnie-the-Pooh watch wearer.  She was a loving wife, mother, aunt, sister and friend.

“And I said to the one who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the Unknown.’
And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'” 

-Minnie Haskins, teacher and poet

I never really understood the classic theme of country music – heartache.  On April 18 I felt the physical internal pain of a squeezing heart – where there isn’t enough air to inflate your lungs, where the loss is so unbearable that tears are the only release valve for transitioning pain.  A Johnny Cash lyric sings, “I taught the weeping willow how to cry.”  I remember it seemed to be my theme song that year.  I made my first sad mix cd, properly labeled the grief mix. My brother claimed it was gut-wrenching and admitted he couldn’t listen to it.

I wish I could provide lessons on managing grief or insights to hurdle the pain of losing someone you love.  I guess the only thing I can share is that its an individual process and there are no shortcuts.  There are no free passes and no detours.  Though time “heals” there are times when the tears come back in full force, even after six years.  In my humble opinion, through life-altering pain there are blessings of perspective, grace and fortitude. Darkness into light.

Perspective – a real shift in sifting through what is important and what isn’t, what is God and what is ego.

Grace – daily strength through His work through us.

Fortitude – that deep-down power that propels you forward when all seems lost.


Heart Searching – when I see a heart shape in nature I am reminded of Heather Hart.  She was a heart hunter and gave me the gift of the practice proving love is all there is.  It is a practice that sustains me when the waves of grief are unbearable.

Of course the brightest blessing is that the bundle-of-joy baby became a silly toddler and he is now a happy-go-lucky first grader.  His bright brown eyes shine like those of his mother and his spirit lifts ours.

The love is still there.  It will always be there.

I found this note on Heather’s desk while I was making a video for the memorial. I found other quotes and I scanned them and treasure the link to her written word.

Today’s creative gesture: remembering and honoring a bright light by documenting memories and holding them close.  I really miss my crafty soul-sister.

big sigh