Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Friday, September 26, 2008


    We brought the boyos to school on Wednesday, same as any morning.

    Parents were huddled together. Some stood with their arms around their kids, in line outside the doors. Everyone was quiet.

    What's going on?

    Sunday, she was at church, playing with her friends after services were over. She couldn't catch her breath. Her parents called an ambulance. Two days later, she died of complications. She was six years old.

    They called in counselors, and last year's kindergarten teachers. The first graders made paper flowers and cards. Some of the girls cried through the day.

    None of them really understand.

    We parents stood together after school, not really understanding either. Still letting it sink in. The head of the PTCO approached us. We talked about memorials; a tree, a bench, a flower garden. Something. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of the school.

    She told us she was organizing a fund. She told us that a few days ago she and her husband had decided to move back to Australia to be near her family again. This, she said, this reaffirmed their decision. Family is the most important thing, and she'd been away from hers too long. Eight years.

    The bell rang. Kids poured out, some still crying, some smiling. My boyos had questions. When we're in the car, guys, then I'll answer them. In the car.

    They had a few I couldn't answer, of course. I grew up Catholic. I went Pagan, then heathen. I've witnessed miracles, magic, a Presence. And I'm a woman of science with a voice in my head as I fall asleep whispering, This is all there is; when you die it all goes black...

    What do you say? How do you answer?

    Declan was ok with my answers. He's accepting, he rolls with things. Jack was all smiles, the tight variety. I'm ok, Mommy. Later he sat outside by himself. He faced the wind, watched the light. Stayed quiet.

    The email asked, in lieu of flowers, could the School Community please help pay for a headstone? Times are tight, and...well...

    The funeral is tomorrow. We'll be there, with many, many others from our School Community. We'll all have questions. I guess we'll all do our best to answer them.

    16 people left me a love letter:

    Blogger ms chica wrote in a love letter...

    It's much harder to explain to children when the adults don't understand it themselves.

    I grew weary of trying to understand it myself. Eventually I accepted regardless of whether I chose to believe in anything or not, life would go on, and it wouldn't be fair...yet I still make the effort to try and do the right things. Sorry for your bouyos, and the little girl's family.

    7:27 PM, September 26, 2008  
    Blogger Stucco wrote in a love letter...

    The answers aren't nearly as meaningful as the questions.

    12:13 AM, September 27, 2008  
    Blogger Maggie wrote in a love letter...

    Wow, I didn't know what to say and then I read Stucco's reply. He is so right. Hugs to the boyos and to you Ms. Dancehall.

    4:24 AM, September 27, 2008  
    Blogger Bud wrote in a love letter...

    What a horrid thing. I lived through that myself once with a friend who lost his child much the same way. He's still not right many years later. I think you know I agree totally with you on the religion issue. This is when it becomes really obvious that it was invented to feed our egos and make s feel better when things really suck. I hang on to this thought--we will all live as long as somebody can remember our smile or the sound of our voice or our written words or whatever we leave behind.
    My deepest sympathy to the friends and family of this little girl.

    6:14 AM, September 27, 2008  
    Blogger meno wrote in a love letter...

    i just say that i don't know, and that different people think different things, but none of them know either.

    How sad.

    2:46 PM, September 27, 2008  
    Blogger D-Man wrote in a love letter...


    9:00 PM, September 27, 2008  
    Blogger Mother of Invention wrote in a love letter...

    Gosh, what a sad event. I suspect everyone will be in some state of shock for awhile. Thinking of those parents is just beyond words. Guess they can hope for strength to get through with support from all. I certainly don't believe when people say, it was God's's a crapshoot and it simply happened for no good reason at all.

    6:53 PM, September 28, 2008  
    Blogger Mona Buonanotte wrote in a love letter...

    So sorry to hear about thoughts are with them, and with you....

    5:34 AM, September 29, 2008  
    Blogger Clowncar wrote in a love letter...

    The thing that jumps out at me is they don't have enough money to pay for a headstone. How heart-breaking.

    House of cards.

    Give those boyos a hug from all of us.

    10:27 AM, September 29, 2008  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    I fell back on the Catholic stuff, Chica. She's in heaven, boyos.

    Good point, Stucco. When we're done asking the questions, we're done, period.

    Thanks, Maggie. Saturday was rough, but we weren't in the worst shoes. *hugs*

    Thanks, Bud. *hug* That's why stories are so important. They keep us alive as they pass down through the generations.

    We did do a little comparative religion Meno. The family is Mormon, and we all had an education on Saturday. They're a supportive group; just what the family needs.

    *hugs* D-Man. Thank you.

    I cannot believe the grace with which the father spoke at his daughter's funeral, MOI. They are getting by by believing that it was all God's Plan. I don't think I could do it.

    Thanks, Mona. The boyos are ok, the shock s wearing off. We are doing what we can to help the family. They are amazing people.

    I know, Clowncar! It's a heartbreaking commentary. But the good news is, I think the stone has been mostly, if not completely, paid for with donations from the school community. I'm not much of a joiner, but I'm proud to be a part of this school.
    Hugs passed on to boyos only if you reciprocate with girlios.

    10:24 PM, September 29, 2008  
    Blogger Irrelephant wrote in a love letter...

    I think it's all been covered, Nancy, but thank you for sharing the story. Death doesn't make sense, but I guess it doesn't have to, it's going to show up for all of us whether we make sense of it or not.

    I too have lain awake in the wee small hours thinking "When I die, it's over." It's a terrifying and sobering thought for a former religioso, and makes me want to hug everyone and tell them I love them while I still can.

    7:58 PM, September 30, 2008  
    Anonymous Rudi wrote in a love letter...

    Irrelephant said...
    but thank you for sharing the story.

    Particularly for those of us not so sure about the existence of an afterlife it reminds us to try and be our better selves in the time we have together. To do so just because it's fun. Not because we're trying to earn enough S&H (Sacred & Holy?) Green Stamps to trade in for a bigger set of wings.

    9:44 AM, October 01, 2008  
    Blogger Lucky Star wrote in a love letter...

    There is a crushing heaviness about the death of a child.

    Having a son with a peanut allergy, a cerebral shunt and asthma makes me a person who won't think with my heart about that circumstance unless I want to cry for the next 3 days...weeks...months?

    Good luck answering the questions of those two dear, enquiring minds...and peace to the hearts of the lost girl's parents and family.

    8:16 PM, October 01, 2008  
    Blogger Cheesy wrote in a love letter...

    Oh sweetie how do we handle this? As best we can... there is a lesson for all in tragities. Hold the kids close and smell their essence for me~~

    8:20 AM, October 04, 2008  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    Sound advice, Ir.

    I love the idea of green stamps for bigger wings, Rudi. That's something to play around with...

    Thanks, LS. I remember the scares you've had with your little guy. I can't imagine your fear.

    *g* Every night, Cheesy! And morning, and afternoon, and...

    11:44 PM, October 06, 2008  
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