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A Picture Of Sunshine

March 31, 2012
By HEATHER ZIEGLER , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

One of the most, if not the No. 1 page read in this newspaper each and every day is the obituary page. For whatever reason we choose to do that, we just are naturally drawn to the page to scan the names and photos. This week was a tough one.

It is extremely hard to open the obituary page and see another young person staring back at me. It's too much to bear. As parents, we collectively share the grief and fear the horror of those who bury their children. It doesn't matter whether it's from disease, accident, violence or any other means, the death of a child is something only God will ever be able to explain to us.

I have tried my level best to comfort friends who have lost a child, but in reality, I know that the only thing I can really do is listen, dry a tear or hold a sobbing mom or dad. There are no words even the greatest of wordsmiths can offer to bring sanity to such partings. If there was a magic pill to take away the unbearable pain, I would give my last dollar to buy it for these friends.

Even people of strong religious convictions can find their faith dissolving before them when a child is taken from a parent. I admire those who turn inward to their beliefs when dealing with tragedy. They tell me you don't know how strong you really are until your faith has been tested.

As I sat preparing to write this column, feeling blue, a small voice made me look up from my computer. There stood Aidan, the son of a co-worker. He was still dressed in his Catholic school uniform and sporting his new glasses. I remarked how nice and grownup the 6-year-old looked.

Then he handed me a large piece of paper. It was a drawing that he had done for me. He said it was a monster coming out of cave. To me it was a brilliant work of art, a gift larger than the paper on which it was drawn. Aidan had no idea how much I appreciated that bright spot in an otherwise blue day. Hard news can wear you down sometimes.

Aidan explained the artwork in its black, red, purple and green colors with all of the innocence of a grade schooler. I thanked him profusely and sat smiling at my newfound joy in the day. I know he thinks it was a just a picture, but I believe a greater power was at work here.

Sometimes it takes the smallest of gestures to make a person feel larger than life. And life is meant to be celebrated even when it hands you lemons. Children know this better than anyone.

Holy Week is upon us and for Christians, it marks a very solemn and tough wrestling with life, death and faith. While we have to experience the sadness of Good Friday, we know there is joy to follow.

My hope for you this Easter season is that you can find your piece of sunshine, your own slice of happiness even when the sky is at its darkest. And if you need some help, I can lend you a beautiful Crayoned picture of a green monster exiting a cave. It's simply wonderful.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via e-mail at

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