CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.

Celebrating Laynee

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

One Thousand Words by Jade

Jade recently wrote an essay in class.  The name of the assignment was "A Picture is worth a thousand words."   They chose a picture to write about and wrote in exactly 1000 words.
Here it is.

Safe in Your Arms

I climb up the steps of the large tower in Southern Illinois very slowly as I read all of the colorful names and phrases engraved in the concrete sides. Some random names catch my eye as I climb by because they are familiar, or because of the way they sound, beautiful and unique when I say them aloud. The phrases also capture their fair share of my attention. Not always because it is a Bible verse or saying that I know, but also because I am stunned at the unbelievably crude things that have been written. Do people really have the courage to engrave something so horrific in the wall? Don’t they realize that thousands of people will read this, and that it will be there as long as the tower stands? As I observe this art, I look down and realize that I am standing on the last cracked concrete step.

I let out a long dramatic sigh as I step onto the platform, for I have finally made it to the top! I look around at the few others standing up with my family, and then out past the wooden railing. I feel like a giant now that I’m the one towering over the tree’s green bushy heads, and they are no longer looking down at me. I also realize the beauty of everything around me. It’s not every day that you’re able to see things from this point of view. Usually I am on the down side of things, only being able to see things from my 5 foot 2 inch perspective. From the other side of the tower, I don’t see trees anymore, but the hustle and bustle of life. People are flying out of restaurants and throwing themselves in and out of their cars. Why does everything have to be so hectic? Why can’t we all just slow down and enjoy the beauty of life and the world around us that we all tend to take for granted?

I’m suddenly jarred from my thoughts by my mom’s voice. My sister sends me an oh-great-Mom’s-going-to-make-us-get-a-picture look, and I send it right back. It isn’t unusual for Mom to get hundreds of pictures on a trip, and they are never fun. We knew we wouldn’t get away this time. We knew we wouldn’t be able to slip down the stairs. We knew she would make us huddle together for yet another picture. As we come close together, though, I realize that deep down inside I don’t really mind. These are the moments that I’ll want to remember forever!

There is absolutely no better place to be than in your loved ones’ arms. It really doesn’t matter where you are. It just seems to link you together with those surrounding you. I notice this as I slip one of my arms around my grandpa and the other around my sister. I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures with Gramps. He’s the best grandpa in the whole world, and whenever I’m around him he makes me feel so safe and loved. This time is no exception. Although pictures with Gramps are a lot of fun, pictures with my siblings are equally as great. I know that when I am older and out of the house, it will be fun to look back at all of these old memories. So even though at the moment it might not be the most exciting experience, I know that I will be glad Mom takes all the pictures that she does in the future.

This feeling of ecstasy is swept away in what seems like the blink of an eye. I look to my right, and see that my grandpa is holding my little sister Laynee up in his arms and she is above the worn wooden bar that is holding all of our weight. What would happen if she leaned back and fell down the hundreds of feet? What if the bar couldn’t support us and we all fell down to our death? So many questions and worries are racing through my mind. It is almost like there is something evil wrapping it’s arms around my brain, suffocating it with all of these horrible thoughts and images. They are quickly swept from my mind, thankfully, for I know that Grandpa is a strong man and he would never let something bad happen to Laynee. The bar wouldn’t give out… think of the thousands of people that have leaned against this; it wouldn’t give out now. My mind starts to reassure itself as I slip into a moment of relaxed peace.

A soft breeze dances across my cheeks as I drink in the cool evening air. It’s a warm and beautiful Saturday evening. My stomach’s full and content, seeing as we have just finished eating out at a nice restaurant with delicious food. I also think that this is a vacation, and vacations are meant for relaxing, so I just need to wipe all of these other worries away.

My smile starts to quiver and my eyes scrunch up as I realize that we are still getting the picture. My mom is saying, “Okay… 1,2,3,” and then I quickly fix up my smile as the bright yellow light flashes. It’s done; she has frozen this moment forever. The tangled web of our arms around each other slowly comes undone as we all go our separate ways and begin our journey to the steps where we will go down the twirly flight of stairs and past the word infested walls. My worn legs have had their needed break and are now prepared to go back down the tower.

This trip is one that I will always cherish and remember. Although we didn’t know it at the time, it would be the last trip that we would ever take with Layner Bug. I will always remember this weekend of blissful joy that was given to us before our world would come crashing down.


  1. I don't know what to say. It is so beautiful and written pefectly. How proud you must be.

    Jade, what an excellent story you wrote. How wonderful it is to have the picture to look at.

  2. That is superb, Jade. Really excellent writing perspective. I'm blown away...

  3. What a great writing, Jade. Thank you for encouraging me to fill my daily worries with finding joy. This is something I ask God to help me with often. Pictures are precious memories - and I am so glad you have so many of Laynee!! Keep holding on to her forever love - you will see her again someday, until then I hope you find lots of joy in who God wants you to be while walking this earth:)

  4. Jade,
    When I first read this "essay" in class, I knew it was an outstanding writing but I didn't realize the power of it until I read it on Laynee's blog. Just the atmosphere around the words makes a huge difference in my perspective. In class, I was trying to find grammatical errors and didn't really comprehend the words. Now i am very grateful that I was able to read it again. That gave me a better perspective and touched me very much. I had tears in my eyes as I read this perfect description of just one memory with Laynee Bug.
    I put the word "essay" in quotes at the top because that doesn't seem quite the right word for such a heart touching piece of work! So thank you for writing this Jade so I could picture one more moment of our Precious Laynee who gave me a new outlook on life... "live life to the fullest with no regrets!"
    I love you Jade and am always here for you! :)

    Brooke Bolliger