Thursday, March 17, 2011

How can I keep from singing?

Thank you to everyone who shared the memory of Gwenyth with us today.

I feel stronger today than I have in a long time. Today is her day - and I look forward to it every year. There was something today that I can't explain. I felt nothing but full and good.

Today I learned that it is easy, for me, to celebrate Gwenyth. I kept things simple - doable and simple. Plain even. But in every way it was perfect.  The warm sun helped - it was a perfect day (even if a little muddy) at the arboretum, where her tree is planted.  I thought of all the gaping holes in the hearts...and the anniversaries ahead, I did. But, it was okay for today. Somehow I felt surrounded by those here and those I miss...everyone, not just this year's losses - but all of whom I suppose are with Gwen, somehow some way.

And perhaps too, today's goodness proves that the memories, though hard, are that good. And all the time spent getting the videos up (and working) - well, it hurt but I feel good too, to see her again.

Several friends shared their memories of today too, my dolua Nicole wrote for Gwen's birthday, my mom and I talked a little about this day one year ago, family all let us know she is in their hearts... lots of good memories today and not just mine - and that's not missed on me - awful things may happen but so much Love is out there, and it wins.

So yes. Today was filled with Grace and simplicity and answered prayers.

A small handful of friends met me at the Arboretum. Lots of kids running around getting muddy to the point where shoes were just useless to wear. Catching turtles was the main event for the older kids. Lillian loved to put her stick in the water to get wet leaves (fish). Three sweet babies who would have been Gwen's buddies enjoyed the taste of a Spring-like day. Lil played for a moment with a little boy who is very close to Gwen's age. I loved that. I lured the kids to Gwen's tree with lollipops and told them to say "Happy Birthday" to Gwentyh. They misunderstood and sang it. Even better.   

A HUGE length of friends and family shared Gwen with me today in one way or another -facebook, cards, phone messages, a video chat even-- - thank you -- and, I can't help it...that phrase just seems so old and over-used. It feels so weak to what I want to say.

I wish there was something else to say. Maybe if I just explain that honestly, by the early evening I noticed the chours "how can I keep from singing?" in my head. With all the family and friends - new and those who've known me forever - to see this kind of net -in a year when I feel as if I've been more distant and unresponsive than usual (I have no illusions, I'm terrible at correspondence)... to see people from every corner of my life showing Love and Care for Gwen - and to remember all the care that was there for Gwen a year ago- what do you do with that?

It's honestly a bit uncomfortable to be on the receiving end - except, it is for Gwen, so it's okay...I'm just the only one who is here to accept all this outpouring of love and care on her behalf.

A tiny pizza dinner with two friends and their kids ended the day. We toasted at the time she was born.  I iced my funny pink clover cake. And life went on... and we just had a good evening.

Lillian called me into her room while I was typing this. In a frantic tone she asked where her flower was..."my flower to remember Gwenyth?" I thought she was referring to a flower she gave me at the aboretum that suddenly now she remembered and decided it was a "memory thing", suspicious that she was trying to make the cause more desperate.  I told her it was in my purse and I'd go put it in water. "No" she said. "This one is pink and small..." Well she often gets pink and purple mixed I tried agin to tell her I had it, the flower she gave me was purple, she must have meant to say purple. She was sure that wasn't the flower...that she had just had it with her. It turns out she found a little flower that had fallen off a her dress-up fairy crown or something and she decided it was to remember Gwenyth and that she would hold it in her hand tonight when she went to sleep. Daddy had put her to bed so I missed that detail.

We found the little flower. She snuggled up with it in her hand. In a way it was like my two little girls were together tointe.

That Lillian. Happy little girl.

Happy Birthday Gwenyth - your big sister loves you!


My cup runneth over.

How can I keep from singing?


  My life goes on in endless song:

Above earth's lamentation,
I catch the sweet, tho' far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul--
How can I keep from singing?
What tho' my joys and comfort die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What tho' the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?
I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it.
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am his--
How can I keep from singing?
( correction form when I first posted this...This version is sung by one of my favorites, Judy Collins. Enya's also sings this slightly different version...
which I like too.  I don't know how to put music up here. But you can get these for a buck on Amazon.)
My life goes on in endless song,
above earth's lamentation.
I hear the real, though far-off hymn,
that hails the new creation.

Above the tumult and the strife,
I hear the music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul,
How can I keep from singing?

What though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth,
What though the darkness 'round me close,
songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
while to that rock I'm clinging;
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble sick with fear,
and hear their death knell ringing;
when friends rejoice both far and near,
how can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon pile
our thoughts to them are winging,
when friends by shame are undefiled;
How can I keep from singing.

My life goes on in endless sing,
above earth's lamentation,
I hear the real, though far off hymn,
that hails the new creation.

Above the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?


  1. Hi Laura, I've been thinking about you today! Glad to hear it has been a good day. Love you!

  2. This morning, I went to light the candle I've lit for Gwenyth all week; Emerson sitting close-by began singing Happy Birthday. I stopped her and said, "Hey Emmy, do you know who's birthday it is today?" She looked at me quizically and I told her it was Gwenyth's birthday. And so, we sang, happy birthday to Gwenyth too.

    I am so thrilled to see that you had a good day and love that Lil is likely dreaming about her sis tonight. Much love, my sister.

  3. You know, in a way, I've been waiting to hear you say, "How can I keep from singing?" It feels like a sign to me....not of something like "closure" or anything to do with grief or processing. But of something holier....something of God......something like the glowing ember that, though doused and doused, has not been put out. The Spirit of Christ in you, beyond understanding.....remains.

    The refining fire has burnt high for long, and my heart leaps for you, to see some glimmers of that pure gold that shines through.

    I am singing with you. I feel like you just gave birth again.

    May God nurture that song in your heart every day of your life.

  4. Pardon all the poeticisms....I get that way when I read your blog. :)

  5. Raining tears as I read your words. So thankful for a Him pulling you close today and giving you a song to sing. I love what Susannah wrote: "The Spirit of Christ in you, beyond understanding... remains." Amen. I see Him, too.

    Love to you and yours. So much love.

  6. I'm so glad that you have that sweet Lillian.

  7. Glad the day went OK and you came out of it feeling good. I was thinking of you all, even though with the time difference I had no idea where you were in your day... Lillian sounds like such a sweetheart.


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