I have a friend whose mother died when he was just a child. Wally was the youngest of eight children and his older sisters became mother to him. Being a four year old, he didn’t understand what had happened to his mother, but he knew he missed her. He would be outside on a sunny day playing happily when suddenly he would hear her voice calling to him. He would lift his head from the solemn task of watching ants making way around bits of twigs and grass he had laid upon the ground in their path, and listen for her voice. And when it did not come again, he would begin to cry with large tears rolling down his cheeks, his nose running, wiping his face with his sleeve. Then one or another sister would come looking for him and finding him in tears, take him upon her lap to soothe him.
One night that summer several of his brothers and sisters played touch football in the back yard of their home. Wally could not play in the dark; it was too easy to stumble over him despite the back porch light being on. Mary, the oldest sister, took him by the hand and led him to the front yard where the darkness was complete for no moon disturbed the night. Mary and Wally laid down on the grass still warm from the summer sun and looked up at the stars. Then Mary pointed to one large star shining brightly to the north. She said, “that’s Mama, watching over you.” And Wally felt a surge of love so strong that he felt it down to his toes.
The stars are portals in the dark for each loved one who has been lost to us. They shine to tell us they are happy in the light and that they watch over us with their love. Only in the darkness do we know their presence.
Beverly Bernard, Copyright 2015