She crawled into her father’s lap…not long after Grandma died,

Still trying to process what had happened…still a little teary-eyed.


They were on the porch in Grandma’s rocker..when they heard a familiar buzz

“Daddy, are there hummingbirds in heaven?” She asked, “I’d like to know because…


that was Grandma’s favorite bird…she loved her hummingbirds so…

are there hummingbirds in heaven, Daddy…I’d really like to know?”


Her father started rocking…gently to and fro…

“Are there hummingbirds in heaven…” he said…”Let me tell you what I know…”


“Your Grandma talked a lot about hummingbirds…from the time I was a little boy

She called them little hearts with wings…little moments of fleeting joy.”


“She said a hummingbird is never afraid of a branch breaking…

because she has confidence in her wings.

She said when they spread their wings and fly and soar

they teach there’s beauty in the tiniest things.”


“She was always saying as she watched them come to the feeder then fly off to the sky

that hummingbirds are here to remind us how fast the time can fly…”


“And now that your grandma’s time with us is over…a little sooner than we planned

I think I can answer your question…I think I finally understand…”


“Are there hummingbirds in heaven you ask? 

Oh yes…you see the angels need someone to guide them…

and now that Grandma has wings of her own


she happily flying beside them.”

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Her room was filled with a mixture of her family and friends…

Each one came to be with her…as her life was coming to an end…


Each person closed their eyes for a moment…once her soul had been set free.

Each person silently thinking…what this woman meant to me…


A scene that plays out every second around the world…when someone loved departs

There was a tear in every eye…but happiness in our hearts.


I was gathered with them…and though no-one spoke I was aware

How even in the silence of that room…their thoughts floated in the air…


She taught me how to laugh… 

She taught me hot how to cry

She taught me how to walk…

She taught me how to fly


She taught me about compassion…

She taught me how to swear…

She taught me about acceptance

She taught me how to share…


And my thoughts joined with the others…

She taught me how to live…

She taught me how to love…

She taught me to forgive…


And I couldn’t help thinking standing there…knowing she was finally gone…

How she may never be here with us again…but what she taught us all lives on.


And how it really does matter how we live our life…

as part of man and womankind…

because the way we live our life each day


is what we leave behind.

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When we first hear the news of another shooting

another list of people dead

we are saddened and our hearts ache

and we immediately bow our heads.


We bow our heads in silence 

for we don’t know what to say.

We bow our heads in reverence. 

We bow our heads to pray.


We pray this killing will stop!

That today will be the last day!

That all sides will put away their differences

and somehow find a way…


to solve this horrendous problem

instead of trying to cover it up!

Because we’ve been bowing our heads so often now


It’s getting harder and harder…to look up.

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Sometimes it is quite soothing…sometimes you are aghast

when you begin to feel the presence of a loved one who has past?


You may be thinking about them or they may come out of the blue…

And you can’t explain it…but you know…they’re standing next to you.


Have they flown in on a breeze?

Perhaps the wind allowed

them to and float across the heavens 

and drift in on a cloud.


Perhaps they rode on a fallen leaf as it meandered down a stream 

or swung from a star, or rode the waves…or slid down a moonbeam…


For, no longer constrained by time and space, their sprits are free to roam…

To seek you out wherever you are…for wherever they find you…is home..


Have they come to share your joy? Have they come to ease your fears?

Have they come to enjoy you laughter?  Have they come to share you tears?


It matters not for you welcome them…as you welcome in the dawn

and it makes you happy knowing you’ll never think of them as gone.



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His was a long and happy life…and though they knew the reason why

his family could not stop their tears…when it came his time to die.


They talk of the life he lived…sharing memories of all his years…

Each memory bringing a smile to their faces…each smile escorted by tears.


Their days became filled with darkness…as in their lives a sad wind blew…

their sadness clinging to everything…dripping…like morning dew…


But time flows on like water and eventually they learn

though the sadness they feel will never end…

their smiles will return


And they take solace knowing how lucky they were

to have felt sad enough to cry…

lucky to have had someone in their life…


who made it so hard to say goodbye.

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I had a sister I never knew…who Mom and Dad still mourn.

She died, Mom said, when she was two…

and two years later…I was born.


They often talk about her.

They want to keep her memory alive…

Dad says it help him to remember…

Mom says it helps her to survive


Sometimes I’ve seen them wipe away tears when my sister’s name is spoken

and I can feel their pain and fears

and I know how their hearts were broken.


Mom says that it’s okay to cry…to weep to grieve…to feel

because when one can find no reason why…

crying helps to heal…


She says sometimes it’s too hard to talk about her feelings after all these years

And when her worlds will not come out…her eyes speak for her in tears.


The day she died, Mom said, was but one day…

two years after her arrival

but living without her everyday

is a lifelong journey of survival.


But our family is a happy one…in spite of losing one bright star.

We know living without a sister…a child…is just but part of who we are…


So we find our happiness wherever we go

Wherever we walk and in whatever we do…

and we all smile because we all know


my sister’s walking with us too.

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He brought him to their favorite spot…where the water meets the land.

The perfect place to say good bye…to build their castle in the sand.


“Your mom loved this spot.” Dad said. “This was her Disneyland…

Watching people walk along the water as we built our castle in the sand.”


So they began to build…with watchtowers, ramparts and turrets springing up across the land

and when the moat had been completed…standing majestically was their castle in the sand.


They sat where she would sit…together hand in hand

and watched the sun begin to set on their castle in the sand.


As they witnessed the tide rise higher and higher…creeping out upon land

they knew it wouldn’t be long until the water reached their castle in the sand.


The father observed his son in silence…hoping he’d begin to understand

the evanescence of the moment…of their vanishing castle in the sand.


“That is the beauty and the sadness of life.” his father said, 

“for no matter how wonderful…how grand…

eventually we all fade away…like a castle in the sand.”


The young boy now has a family of his own.

He often brings them to where the water meets the land…

and he smiles, remembering his Mom and Dad…


as they build castles in the sand.

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They each had their moment alone with her…

wondering why it was her time to die…

They each took that moment to thank her…

to remember…and say goodbye


“You were a wonderful friend.” she whispered

as a tear fell from her eye,

“and I will visit your memories often

Goodbye, my friend…goodbye.”


“You were a wonderful Grandma.” he whispered

as a tear fell from his eye,

“I will never ever forget you…

Goodbye, Grandma…goodbye.”


“You were a wonderful mother.” she whispered

as a tear fell from her eye,

“You gave me life and taught me how to love…

Goodbye, Mom…goodbye.”


“You were a wonderful wife.” he whispered

as a tear fell from his eye,

“My heart will forever be your heart…

Goodbye, my love…goodbye.”


They sat together holding hands

as her coffin went floating by…

each one realizing they began to miss her…


the moment they said goodbye.

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The little boy was crying…his cheeks were stained…his eyes were blurred

when his grandpa sat down next to him…without uttering a word.


The little boy looked up at his grandpa…he couldn’t tell him of his fears

He wanted his grandpa to think him brave…but he could not hide his tears.


His grandpa reached over taking his hand in his…then he gazed out on the lawn…

“She was a beautiful lady, your grandma.” he said…”It’s hard to believe she’s gone.”


It hurts right here his grandpa said…it’s like my heart is shrinking

The little boy looked at his grandpa…how could know what he was thinking?


I’m just so sad and angry the little boy said…if this is what love does…then….

I will never…never..never…love another person again…


But what about me, your mom and dad and you’re brothers and sisters too?

You can’t stop loving us anymore than we can stop loving you.


“Life will have it’s ups and down” His grandpa said, 

“You’ll find from the moment you are born

if you want to enjoy the beauty of the rose…

you have to experience some thorns.”


The little boy laid his head in his grandpa’s lap…

his grandpa patted him and smiled…

The little boy closed his eyes still crying…

and they sat in silence for a while…


“But there’s too much risk in loving!” the little boy said having given this some thought…

“No!” his grandpa said hugging his grandson close…


“there’s too much risk in not.”