Holy Week


Holy Week - 2020

My baby girl passed away on the Monday, April 5th, 1982, right after Palm Sunday.  Her death, funeral visitation, and burial happen during Holy Week.  

I have to think carefully, or be reminded by my wife, as to the actual anniversary of her passing that Monday afternoon at Columbus Children’s Hospital so long ago. It was a very cold and snowy few days in Columbus, Ohio that week.  The snow kept falling everyday and dropped a couple of inches that Monday.  Three days later, I remember as I helped shovel the dirt from around her grave site, huge snowflakes fell gently all around me.  It was a fitting end that it snowed the day she came into this world and the day she left.

I don’t know why, but after a very white winter, it finally stopped snowing Easter Sunday just a few days after we buried her.

As I said, I have a difficult time remembering the actual date my little girl left my arms.  Maybe it’s my advancing years, but I really believe it is etched in my brain and heart that it was the Monday after Palm Sunday.  So, that is the time I remember her passing and allow myself to stand a little closer to my grief.  Holy Week.

As most Christians know, Easter Sunday doesn’t fall on the same date in spring each year.  So, maybe you can give me a little latitude and understanding as to why the actual date becomes a little fuzzier each year.  It’s not that I don’t try to hold her closer as each year passes, I just get a little confused as to the exact date.

It turns out that Palm Sunday has fallen on April 4th only two times over the past 38 years and subsequently, Easter Sunday on April 11th:  1993 and 2004.  That means, 36 times I have been wrong about morning the death of my youngest child.  To me, it’s always been Holy Week and while the date moves every year, my heart does not.  She died on the Monday after Palm Sunday, we buried her on Maundy Thursday, and the rest of my family dressed up for Easter Sunday.

It also must be noted that since I celebrate, honor her life, and morn her death on a different date each year, I also get to do that alone.  I don’t mind really.  It is a precious time spent by myself and I’m okay with that.  A young father trying to make sense of a strange and difficult time in his life as he tried to navigate himself and his family through a ridiculous passage in his life.  One that only he can appreciate and bring back the clarity to a very lonely week, oddly surrounded by friends, family and strangers standing nearby.

This past Saturday, my wife and I went to visit our baby girl’s grave on April 4th, the day before the anniversary of her death - because the cemetery was weirdly closed on Sunday.  I don’t know if that was their normal schedule, or because the Coronavirus had forced them to shutter like the rest of the world.

The visit this time will be one of the closest weeks that mirror that special week back in 1982.  I’ll hold onto it as best I can.


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About the Author

I am a first-time author who has been married to my wife for over forty years.  Together, we have two grown children and seven grandchildren.  I grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan and began bagging groceries in a local supermarket while in high school.  After college, I moved to Columbus, Ohio where I met my wife and our children were born - all of whom remain adamant Ohio State Buckeye fans!

After spending a few years in grocery store management, I became a buyer for a small grocery chain.   Soon after, we moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where I became a buyer for a much larger grocery wholesaler.  Following the grocery industry trends, we moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1993 where I finished my career as president of a large food broker that focused on sales and marketing solutions for a national grocery chain and our clients’ many consumer brands.

Since retiring, I enjoy playing golf whenever the weather allows, cling tightly to our grandchildren and all their activities.  I enjoy reading, many different genres of music, writing, and cooking.  I am a member of the Warren County Ohio Writer’s Workshop where I have contributed various forms of short written works that tested and challenged my writing skills while constantly learning new ones.  I was also a reporter for the Warren County Career Center and Senior Center.

Thirty years ago, I began jotting down fragments of a story about living through the death of one of my children.  In 2016, I began shaping those bits and pieces into a more complete story.  I wrote this book for personal reasons but hoped someday my family might read it as well. Early into the process, I wondered if my story might help other families that were experiencing many of the same challenges.

Early on, I realized that writing and independently publishing my first book felt like stepping into a new Stream: quite brisk at first, rapidly rushing past, deeper than expected, and rather formidable to navigate, but also - very refreshing.  I found learning all the skills necessary to write, format, proof, edit, copyright, and develop a cover design, were very exciting, somewhat strenuous, and extremely exhilarating.

“I’ve heard that everyone probably has at least one good book in them.  I’m not sure that is true in my case, but I do have an important story to tell.” – Kirk Spencer