Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter. Remembering.

Easter last year. It was earlier in April than this year. Gwen's Uncle Bob and Aunt Nelly came to visit. They were only a handful of loved ones who would get to meet her in person. Aunt Becca was there. Uncle Patrick, Becca's husband, had flown in previously for a weekend visit. Gwen met both grandmothers and her living grandfather, all while in Philly.

I remember Easter most especially not because it was the day before she was to be discharged, but because Aunt Becca and I shared a quiet moment, just the two of us, on Easter morning with Gwen. We sang to her my favorite hymn. It has celtic roots so it was fitting to sing it to my "St. Patrick's day baby."

What I forgot, until Gwen's funeral, was the exact history of the song. It is connected both to Easter and to St. Patrick himself. The history I will cut and paste below, after the photos. When you read it you will note as I did - how fitting a song it was for Easter and for Gwen.

My favorite hymn now is sad to me, yet also more beautiful. And Easter now always bitter-sweet.

These days, time is winning.  I think every second of all of "this" and I can't spend a moment digesting it all…all the pain and anguish that still lives fully inside me. But I Hope - I Hope that God didn't want to loose Gwen far more than we didn't want to and I know Easter speaks to that.

I'm not at peace about Gwenyth and that day, and all that's happened since we lost her - I am not that strong. Instead I'm able to haggle out some type of peace-like truce, moment by moment, with all as is. And not with how, or why, all that has happened has happened, but with just here and now regardless, because it doesn't matter and it will never square or settle.

Regardless of personal circumstance, there's just so much to try do in a world so rampant with imperfection and forces beyond human control. Someday, as I get better at haggling and am not so exhausted afterward, I hope to channel what I can of "all this" towards trying to do something useful.

So, these days I square only with the sadness and a longing and try to give the "unforgiving moment" my time and energy.

For Easter, all I've got to say is hopefully, "it is finished" and someday separation will be no more. 

Till then, God make me worthy of my friends, my family, my daughters.

Earlier in April, little Gwenyth all swaddled.

Uncle Patrick visits.

Aunt Becca enjoys holding sweet Gwen.

A sweet moment with her daddy and mommy.

Easter and a special hand-me-down dress from Lillian. Uncle Bobby and Aunt Nelly gave Lillian this dress which she wore to their wedding. Since they were visiting for Easter it was the perfect outfit to choose. It even matched the adorable "cat booties" Gwen's Grammy had bought for her.

Uncle Bobby and Aunt Nelly give Gwenyth a lamb blanket for Easter: 


Discharged from CHOP - the day after Easter:


 Grammy with her two granddaughters.

At the apartment in Philly, the day after Easter, my two girls.

Gwenyth at home in Virginia

Be Thou My Vision, the Song and the Story
St. Patrick (385-461 AD) was a man zealous for the things of God. As a missionary, he defied an Irish King's edict that restricted the lighting of candles on Easter Eve. King Logaire of Tara had decreed that no one was allowed light any fires until a pagan spring festival was launched by the lighting of a fire on Slane Hill. Patrick chose to honor God in spite the threat of death. King Logaire was so impressed with Patrick's brave devotion, he let him continue his missionary work unhindered.

An 8th Century Monk, Dallan Forgaill penned the words to Be Thou My Vision, as a tribute to St. Patrick's wholehearted loyalty to God. The hymn was translated from Irish to English in 1905 by Mary E. Byrne. In 1912, Eleanor H. Hull arranged the song into the verse most commonly found in English hymnals today. The music to accompany the lyrics is an ancient Irish folk tune called Slane. 

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.


  1. Thinking of you today and everyday!!!

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  2. I sang the song for you and Gwenyth. You are always in my thoughts. Love you.


Ten years loom and as always seems to be the case, I find myself struggling the most in the days ahead of the anniversary  - be it her birt...