A Visit From Matthew

I was 19 when Matthew died. He was roughly 4.5 years when he passed from a Grand Mal Seizure. Such a tragic end to a wonderful beginning… Matthew and his brother Christopher were the second set of twins in my family. We were over-joyed when my Aunt Vicky finally announced we had some boys to add to the girl heavy family! The boys were born premature, but my, what spirits they both had! From an early age, I remember noting to myself, the joy and humor they found in life! As time passed, Christopher advanced more quickly than Matthew, but that never seemed to hold Matthew back. Both boys were such a joy, and so happy too! I remember “test” babysitting at the age of 17 when the boys were 2. Matthew sitting in his wheel chair, wearing his trachea, glasses and hearing aids had the whole world fooled upon first glance. But once I got close, I saw his old soul and the mischief that bubbled beneath his snowy white skin. Was it the unruly curly blonde hair? We looked at each other in askance wondering what to do next…Within seconds, he ripped off his glasses and threw them across the room. I retrieved the glasses and signed “No!” to him. He giggled his challenge and then removed his hearing aid and threw it across the room. Seriously!?! I was not about to be outdone by this wild child! But he had other ideas… While I was chasing his hearing aid, his giggles started in earnest when he threw his other hearing aid clear across the other side...

When All Feels Lost

Submitted by Vijayabanu Chandramouli For Vijayabanu, June 16, 2012, would be a day forever etched in her memory. Not because of celebration, or happy events but because of sadness, loss and utter devastation. She and her husband, solemnly summoned by phone to the city of Manipal, stood helplessly as the search was finally called off. Their son, Kiran, or Kiru as he was lovingly called, was missing. He along with two of his college friends, Nikhila and Sharavan had ventured out to Manipalla Lake in the early hours that morning. Finding a paddle boat docked at the lake the three decided to venture out onto the lake. Before long, panic set in as water began filling the boat. Unable to reach shore the boat succumbed to the weight of the water and capsized. Sharavan immediately began swimming back believing his friends were directly behind him. Once at shore it was evident something was very wrong. Kiran, was an excellent swimmer but, as later reported, Nikhila did not know how to swim. In an effort to save her, Kiran too was ultimately claimed by the watery depths. Not until the next day was Vijayabanu able to see her beloved son. His body was recovered from the lake and delivered to the police for investigation. Once released, his mother and father accompanied their son’s still, lifeless body home. Floods of emotion ravaged Vijayabanu. Guilt… she should have done this… not done that… said this… not said that. Despair…the light of her life was gone. And ultimately, grief… how could she carry on without him. This was her child. No matter he...

Always Beside Me

For the first time in quite a while, Beth felt a tinge of excitement hovering in the background just waiting to erupt. Her thoughts replayed the sequence of events that led to this newfound encouragement. Beth had grown weary of being alone. It had been 20 years since her divorce and quite honestly, she had found no viable prospects of companionship for the future. Feeling hopeless she turned to prayer and pleaded for God to bring the right person into her life. Little did she know that God would waste little time. This particular evening was spent attending a birthday party in honor of Beth’s ex-husband’s wife, Beverly. She enjoyed gathering with friends but was particularly interested in a new face in the crowd. This was her first time meeting Mike and he seemed like a genuinely, nice guy. They talked throughout the evening. Mike admitted to her later, the fact she had been included in the festivities, spoke highly of her character. As far as Beth was concerned, she could only laugh at God’s apparent sense of humor. Beth was elated when Mike asked her for her email address. The future looked a little brighter at the end of her pleasant evening. Beth anxiously awaited an email from her new acquaintance. It was during this period, the country experienced a devastating blow. September 11, 2001, a day that would forever be remembered. Although distracted momentarily, she continued to wait. Worried he had changed his mind, she was relieved to finally receive a message. Mike forwarded a poem his niece had written on the heels of the 9/11 tragedy....

Sign Revealed On Facebook

Looking back, Vanda Bubear would be the first to acknowledge the similarities between her life and a world-class roller coaster. Filled with highs and lows, she struggled to conquer an overload of senses some would find difficult to even navigate. However, through it all she maintained a healthy attitude finding comfort in her perceptions of what lay beyond these physical boundaries. Her story really begins in 1986. Aside from becoming a bride, Vanda was realizing yet another pinnacle. Finding herself with child, she could hardly contain the excitement. Unfortunately, trouble lurked close at hand. Her first child was born 12 weeks prematurely due to complications. Smitten before ever laying eyes on her newborn son, William, she could little other than love him as he tenuously clung to life. He fought defiantly but the outcome was heartbreaking. After five days, his tiny lung collapsed and his battle was over. This would only be a foreshadowing of the pain to come. Depressed and unsure of her ability to become a mother, Vanda struggled after the loss. Her very words expressed the pain permeating her thoughts, “A whole lifetime of cuddles and kisses never given, words never spoken, ideas never expressed and achievements never realized.” Such is the devastation of losing a life so small. Much to her delight, Vanda finally experienced motherhood again and was blessed with two daughters, Amy and Hannah. Not long after, they welcomed baby brother James. The children spent their childhood in a 400-year old Welsh stone cottage accompanied by a menagerie of creatures big and small. The setting was picturesque with a large stream just beyond...

Change of Heart

Submitted by Andrew Nicoll Sun bathed the charming farm house with gold and crimson rays as content horses grazed along the picturesque countryside. A sight Andrew and his wife, Anni, had witnessed many times. Their home was the perfect place to indulge his wife’s passion, animals. Feeling particularly compassionate for God’s creatures, Anni had acquired 8 cats, 2 dogs, 4 horses and 6 donkeys. With the exception of two horses, all were rescue animals. Over the years she developed a growing interest in birds of prey and began volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Wanting to improve her skills she attended courses at her own expense to become certified as a rehab practitioner. Anni’s propensity for helping others came from years of nursing. It was later she started her own consultancy business giving her the freedom to work from home. She would represent injured workers in their compensation claims. Although her business was successful it was up and down financially. Adhering to her own principles Anni refused to represent those she perceived to be taking advantage of the system. Kind and devoted, she never turned her back on someone who truly needed her help though, animals included. Andrew’s service to others came from time spent in the military and various roles of law enforcement. Both of which contributed to a strict personal code of structure and discipline. In spite of the tough exterior, there was no denying the soft spot he held for his wife and daughter. After 32 years of marriage Andrew and his wife had experienced their ups and downs but remained steadfast with one another through...

Brooke’s Clock

My daughter’s name is Brooke. She passed away in April, 2013 at age 15. Her older sister’s 19th birthday was in August. We were at the store downloading a picture for her birthday cake. It was a very hard day for me, but I was doing my best to focus on the birthday girl and make it through without bursting into tears. While the photo was downloading I looked at a display next to the photo computer and there was a single clock for sale. The clock was made by Brooke’s Clock Company. Not only did it have my precious daughters name on it, I also collect wall clocks. I think Brooke was saying hello & Happy Birthday. Submitted by Lisa Thomas Click on any of the images to see the larger...