According to my daughter’s Facebook profile she has two mothers: me and a dear teacher from middle school. I have always been fond of being in that company because this woman loves my children, I mean really loves them. She does this for them and hundreds of others. She is proof positive that the heart does not have a finite amount of love to give.
She was only 34 when she died.
Stacey Daniel taught Language Arts bringing stories alive for hundreds of children and supporting them as they learned that they too had stories to tell. She found the special talent in each child, lovingly brought it out from where it was hidden and wrapped it up as a gift before handing it back. Wide-eyed children opened those presents and found that they could do what they had not imagined. They believed because she believed.
As she was leaving, a hurricane was crawling up the east coast. Today there is a storm in our hearts.
I remember seeing Stacey sign my husband’s memorial service guestbook, a modified portfolio of his images. I was so touched that she and several other teachers were there for my children. As I tried to process this unexpected news, I looked back at the page she signed. Her name rests beside this image of another storm our family endured. How ironic? How apropos? Yes, both.
Another hurricane at another time. Another unexpected loss. Another wave crashes down.
While I use prose to articulate my thoughts I so admire those who use poetry as their art form. Stacey’s friend, Jon Goode, an Emmy nominated poet wrote this for her and has graciously permitted me to post it here.
Wind and Light
I penned this page as a hurricane raged outside.
A close friend for years
Called to say a close friend and peer had died.
Through tears she supplied the who, when, where and why
Had already begun
To whisper some prayers, vespers
To the maker of forever
The caretaker of the moon, stars and sun.
I prayed that the rarified air of the hurricane’s winds
Deliver and send her fast home;
And that she awoke warm in the arms of God
Before we even knew she was gone.
Before the morn
Before we mourn
Before we song, pall bear and inurn
I pray we all in turn sit a while
And just remember her light, her life, her smile.
I penned this page as a hurricane raged inside.
I know we’re all born to die
And die to be born
And that this cycle has always been
There is no beginning or end
Just the circle of on and on.
But beyond beautiful words that try to ease the pain
And beyond beautiful sermons determined
To help grieving believers believe again
And beyond beautiful hymns that intend
To lift the spirits of all that attend
Can we not make some room then and again
For some anger, confusion and tears?
I know there’s a plan
In fact I’m clear on that
But can I not just stare at the map for a moment
And scream dear God I don’t know how we got here
But if this is the path I believe you took away one of the brightest lights on it.
I penned this page as a hurricane died
I cried then settled inside this thought,
I mourn her passing but know ours is the greater loss.
I found myself asking
What could I have done to halt
The actions that led to her passing
But my questions came to naught.
What’s written is written
We weren’t given any white out.
Some souls burn bright
They guide like a light house
And leave you feeling blind when God turns the light out,
Takes the light back, brings the light home.
Her body is gone but her light lives on
And as I pen this poem
It feels less like a goodbye
And more like a, see you when I get home
More like a, love you left your light on
More like a, love you left
More like, love.
Reprinted with permission from poet, Jon Goode.