I keep finding tender purple pansies growing in corners of my yard where they were never planted. Stubborn and fragile, cheerful without cause, they remind me of Caroline. Purple was her favorite color. She used to help me plant the pansies every fall, or at least I think she did, because too many of the good memories are so faint now. In a storybook a father would remember everything, but it’s not true; you lose things no matter how desperately you cling to them. In a storybook there would be new memories replacing these fading ones; in a storybook she would still be here.

When the wind hits the leaves just so, I feel her hair blowing against my face. When the sun touches the ocean in the late afternoon, I see her smile. When her brothers giggle, I hear her laugh, and in their prayers I hear her whisper. She is still here, just not in the way I would like.

I can wait. I’m stubborn too, like those flowers out of place. I can wait.


  1. MMM

    Somehow when I saw the update email I knew it would be an update about the little one you lost.

    Thank God we will all see her, and you can introduce me to her personally. Purple is my favorite color, too. 🙂

    And I’m stubborn. And being out of place…well, GodSpot is vibrating, as it often does.


  2. Deoxy

    Thank you for sharing her (and yourself) with us. It is a blessing.

    Purple is my 3-year-old daughter’s favorite color.

  3. Rick

    Every time I read about Caroline here, a piece of my heart breaks…

    I can only imagine the pain you and your wife have experienced in this loss…

    And I shudder to think how I might’ve reacted…

    I hope your heart is healing.

  4. MarcV

    You want to keep those memories as treasures, like certificates in a bank. Old brain cells don’t sometimes want to cooperate and the memories can become disjointed. I have some recordings of my youngster on VHS tape, and it’s the only video of his below-5 that we have. This WILL be the year that I make a digital backup of that tape.

  5. Dave Tuit

    Waiting. What a concept for us to grasp and struggle with in this world.

    Reminds me of a couple of my favorite U2 songs-“40” and “When I Look At This World”.

    Thanks once again for sharing, and for challenging us at the same time.

  6. Danielle

    Stubborn and fragile–the essence of a little girl. I am positive that Caroline was a beautiful little flower. And you just keep being stubborn, Tony.

  7. The Sanity Inspector

    Beautiful and poignant. Have a quote:

    “When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.

    “For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I’m feeling most ghost-like, it’s your remembering me that helps
    remind me that I actually exist. When I’m feeling sad, it’s my consolation. When I’m feeling happy, it’s part of why I feel that

    “If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget me, part of who I am will be gone.

    “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” the good thief said from his cross (Luke 23:42). There are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well.”
    –Frederick Buechner

  8. Joanna

    Hey, it’s my son’s 6th birthday today … only he’s not here to celebrate it. He never made it past 8 weeks. I too am just waiting and looking forward to seeing him again. Thank you for sharing your grief with the world a little – you put into words what I don’t seem to be able to.

  9. Anonymous

    I understand about losing memories. You reminded me of something I once did. Please pardon my sharing the memory.

    One day when wandering through the fog of losing my daughter I found a card in a cardshop. On it Pooh is holding Christopher Robbin’s hand. Looking down at him, Christopher Robbin is saying, “promise you won’t forget about me, ever.”

    I bought the card, addressed it to her, and, weeping, wrote in it simply, “I promise. Love, Daddy” It is in my keepsake box.

  10. Kevin Holtsberry

    What have I said about making me cry around here! Sheesh . . .

    Having almost lost my own daughter just moments after her birth, the thought losing her now shake me to my core.

    Your faith and eloquence are a testament to God and His love. Keep being stubborn is exactly right in this case.

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