God Wins…but can I ?

A Mother's Journey


Heart Time Capsules

During the last week, I’ve decided to clear out my office files, which have been sorely neglected because of life circumstances. In doing so, I feel as though I’m stepping back in time. Items that I haven’t actually looked at for years. It’s kind of similar to finding a time capsule. Photographs, store receipts, school report cards, birthday cards, etc.

The most touching finds are drawings that Leah and Grant created in grade school. They tell stories and show such personality for young people.

They bring me to tears – happy and sad.

At the time, the drawings were the cute items done at school. Most parents expect to receive craft drawings and projects for the holidays. They are put up on the refrigerator for a few weeks, and then typically pitched.

I kept several of the kids’ artwork pieces in a 3 ring binder. Leah loved looking at her art projects as a teenager. I’d hear her laughing and giggling as she looked at them with her friends.

Today, these pieces of art are gems. They connect me to a time of innocent joy when my children were small, healthy and safe – a time when all was well in my world.

Leah drawing with mom.

I love the way Leah would draw our family. Mark and Grant would have three lines going straight up from their head – for spiky hair. She always made a very clear distinction between my curly hair and her straight hair. The best treasures are art when her hands were featured as in this picture below:

Leah- Angel Hands drawing

When I found this piece, it took my breath away. It is especially symbolic now that my daughter is in heaven. I don’t believe that today Leah is an actual angel. Scripture is clear that human beings in heaven are above the angels. But Leah is definitely walking with angels. Even today, this thought is surreal to me. Nearly 365 days after her passing.

What mom, when her daughter is 4 or 5, ever thinks her girl won’t live to her 16h birthday? I definitely never did.

So here I am holding onto time capsule treasures that I cherish. Most importantly, I hold onto the memories and focus on the honor that it was to be Leah’s mother. She grew and stretched my heart in ways I never thought possible. As I approach the next seven days, there are painful memories of Leah’s last week on earth. Yet, there are beautiful memories in that I was able to serve my terminally ill daughter with a heart that was truly empowered by God’s love.

I will continue to find comfort in fond memories of special times with my Leah.

2002 4 septem bday mom-2


Keep the Angels Laughing Dad

Dad and we 3

Dearest Dad,

I wish that I could have been there.

I wish I could have seen the look of pure joy

on God’s face

when He welcomed you home.

The knowing look that affirmed your life

well lived.

Then I wish that I could have seen the look on

your face

when you saw God.


Finally knowing that you are worthy

and totally and completely loved for who you are.

All the good with all the bad.

That warmth and yearning that you’ve longed for your whole life

fulfilled in a split second.

Then, to see you turn to find mom and nana waiting for you.

I wish I could have seen your smile once you caught the glimpse of those

big, beautiful blue eyes.

I wonder if you were confused to see her – your granddaughter

Yet, I imagine that you were pleasantly surprised.

Family together.


It’s hard for us to smile now.

It was a long-goodbye dad.

Knowing it was coming doesn’t make it hurt any less.

But my heart is full when I dwell on the gifts you’ve given us.

You were wealthy in loyalty, good humor and love.

Loyal to God, family, coworkers, friends.

Always there when needed.

Sacrificing to give all you had.

Earthly treasures given until the last dollar was gone.

Heart treasures invested well in the important moments.

Loyal to country – sacrificing so much physically and emotionally

to help your country achieve freedom in WWII. Truly one of the


Your humor – the gift of joy.

Always the life of the party. Never saying no to a get together.

Finding silly ways to make people laugh and smile.

And Love.

Your primary gift of all.

“I love you’s” extended frequently

with meaning, not flippantly.

A love that ran into my room every time I had a bad dream.

…that invented “Take Your Child to Work day” before it was a trend.

…that was home for dinner every night, every weekend.

…that packed the station wagon tight for family road trips.

A love that drew tears in your eyes as you walked me down the aisle.

…that held your grandchildren affectionately.

…that had you arrive 15 minutes early to any family gathering.

A love that made you hold on under the extreme duress of dementia.

But it was time to stop holding on and let go dad.

And you finally let yourself hear the call

of the One

who gave you these gifts and loves you fully.

May you rest joyfully and peacefully in His arms.

My chest hurts from crying dad, but I imagine

that the angels sides are hurting

from laughing at the joy you’ve brought to heaven.

Keep the angels laughing Dad – until we see you again.

In honor of Joseph Michael Buscaglia
By Marie Buscaglia Guthrie
read at Joe’s funeral mass on 1-31-2015