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Friday, February 17, 2017

IN THE SHADOWS OF A JAPANESE MAPLE

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cried.


Recently on the TV, there was an appeal for money by UNICEF. The appeal was geared to helping children in the world who are suffering. The appeal was supported by a background and voice-over with music, and the song was: YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away


Many years ago, my third child and second son lay dying in North Shore University Hospital. Every day he was in the hospital my wife and I visited him daily. One of us was always there to keep him company. Our hearts were being broken slowly with the pain that stilled any joy we could have had. From the day after Thanksgiving to the day he died in late January we were there for him. Many of you know this story since I've mentioned it all before.

I'll always love you and make you happy,
If you will only say the same.
But if you leave me and love another,
You'll regret it all someday:


So, this Sunday as I was viewing a talk show about the world at large, on came the commercial, and with it a memory that haunts me. As the father of this beautiful little human being, often I would sing to him when he cried. The song I sang in a simple voice was: You Are My Sunshine. This would quiet him down and at a certain point when I sung: You make me happy when skies are gray, he would smile, stopping in the midst of his tears. As many times as I sang the song, that was the number of times he would smile, and everything was alright for both him and me.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away


The idea that this song was used at all for such a cause cannot, for me be more astounding!

You told me once, dear, you really loved me
And no one else could come between.
But not you've left me and love another;
You have shattered all of my dreams:

Somewhere in the Universe, my son watches us plod through the tears of January, the cold damp feeling of loss, the bleak and darkened sense of the future without him and knows that we are grateful for his short time on Earth, that we were blessed with his presence no matter how short it was, and that God is watching over him.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away


There is a little corner of my property that is his, he owns it and I maintain it for him. It is the labor of love and remembrance, a place to go and feel his presence. I know he is there, in that spot near a Japanese maple that grows outwardly like his memory, sways to the breezes that caress the portioned plot in his name, and in the heat of summer gives me solace.

In all my dreams, dear, you seem to leave me
When I awake my poor heart pains.
So when you come back and make me happy
I'll forgive you, dear, I'll take all the blame.

I often wonder why it had to happen, his going before me rather than my saying goodbye to him. I am hoping that I can be with him again more closely, maybe our spirits can connect on a more personal basis, proving once again, that God is good.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away



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