Press Enter / Return to begin your search.

DSC_0454aAll Saints’ Eve

I spent the last few days at the American Academy of Religion . . . and came home in time for Halloween Trick-or-Treat.

Driving home this afternoon I thought of the many friends old and young who have been lost to me.

So many of them will be remembered this year on the first All Saints’ Day following their deaths.

The person who settled most solidly into my thoughts today, however, was a friend who died a little more than 25 years ago. I spent my middle school and high school years looking up to her and eventually we became friends. She was a leader in my youth group, four years older, beautiful and loved my many. She died very suddenly of acute lukemia, with only three days between symptoms and diagnosis and her untimely death at 23. This is a bit of what rose out of my thoughts for one saint about whom I am deeply grateful.

For S

on this eve of all saints’ day

I remember you

I remember the snow

how we swallowed nervous laughter


through the ache behind our eyes

and the tightness in our throats

if six men in boots

could carry you

to the place

where your body would rest

on that frozen January day

a quarter century ago

no, that can’t be right

it cannot be

more than half of my lifetime ago

that you died

and longer still ago

that we fought

our last words broken and bitter

because you said

I somehow thought

I was better than you

this had to be impossible

because I could never

be better than you

my admiration for you was complete

my disbelief at your dying

hung in my throat like a mouthful of words


it ended my innocence

in a profound way

and made it essential

to learn forgiveness

for myself

for what could never

be undone


oh my dear



bright star

beautiful dreamer

hurt willow

weeping silently

you broke your mother’s heart

you pulled your father apart at the seams

you curled up next to the warmth

and inched closer

your blood running cold

never to wake again

and we missed you

and your dying

was somehow an emblem

of many things lost

an age of innocence and wonder

suddenly evaporated

and yet the fragrance lingered

of you

of all of us

of that wonderful long glimpse

of a beloved community

living under trees

singing encircled ‘round a fire


breaking bread

and feeding children

saying ‘I love you’

in a thousand ways

to each heart that needed to hear it

you were a gift

that down through these many years keeps giving