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Saturday, March 12, 2011


I lost Jolene three years ago tomorrow. The dance has returned to the normal ebb and flow of life, with an occasional dirge of remembrance and tears.

In some ways, Kayla couldn't be more different than Jolene. Tall, slender, and fair, where Jolene was short, stocky, and dark. Kayla lives with a serious physical illness, but in other respects appears to be a "normal" (whatever that means), well-adjusted teen. Jolene never fit in in all her almost twenty-four years. Although Jolene loved music, she had a deaf ear. Kayla has a beautiful voice.

But in other ways they are alike. Teachers described Jolene as "articulate," and she wrote breathtaking poetry. Kayle is a published novelist. Writers, both of them.

Both of them love the Lord and know His word. I use the present tense for that with Jolene, for surely in heaven, her love for the Lord is perfect and complete.

And for one hour on a Wednesday night at a recent writers' retreat, Kayla filled the gaping hole created by Jolene's death.

Kayla and her mother had led singing as we writers gathered in the living room at the retreat. After a prayer time, the writers scattered, and I took myself to the piano. Since I was a teenager, nothing calms my troubled spirit like song. Especially if I get to play. I played my way from one end of the hymnal to the other.

So I opened the hymnal and began to play and sing. Before long, Kayla reappeared and started to sing with me. She loved the hymns I introduced her to. Jolene loved hymns. Not all young people do. We alternated suggesting hymns, ending with "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

When Kayla sang with me, it felt like Jolene was at my side, smiling at me.

Thank you, Kayla, for your sweet spirit and the comfort you brought to me.

Thank you, Kayla.


Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar said...

I'm glad you found that special ray of sunshine through the rain. :)

Carla Gade said...

It is so precious that our Heavenly Father loves us so. He cares for you so much and I'm glad He continues to show His lovingkindness to you and gives you comfort. I know these years have not been easy for you, I cannot even imagine. Praying for you, my dear friend!

Love and Hugs,

Darlene Franklin said...

It was a special moment, a time of healing, and promise for the future.

Megan DiMaria said...


Anonymous said...

I heard every note from my room, right above the living room. I didn't realize you were playing, though! How cool is that?! I heard the hymns and felt transported back in time to my childhood.

Lovely! So glad God used Kayla in such a special way!

Darlene Franklin said...

Thanks again. Now if only I knew who "my computer expert" was, lol.

Julie Jarnagin said...

What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Beautiful post, Darlene. Thank you so much for sharing!

Janalyn Voigt said...

Your story illustrates how we, through our gifts, can touch others.

Darlene Franklin said...

It was indeed a special gift . . . which I hope in turn comforts others.

Kathleen L. Maher said...

That was beautiful and vulnerable to share. May God give you many more divine appointments like that.

Susan Page Davis said...

Love you, Darlene. Praying for you because I know you have a big deadline, but you're going to make it!

Kimberley Woodhouse said...

Thank you, Darlene, for this precious post. Just know that Kayla was equally blessed. It was her favorite part of the whole time. She sends her love!

Anne Mateer said...

I heard those hymns, too! They eased me into a peaceful sleep that night. How wonderful that the Lord met you in such a special way!

Trish Perry said...

It's hard to even read about your loss, Darlene, so I can't imagine how it feels to have to carry on. But how lovely that God blessed you this way and that you appreciated the blessing for what it was. Thank you for sharing the experience with us.

Darlene Franklin said...

I wasn't thinking that the music would carry throughout the house. ..hope I didn't keep anyone awake! But music touches me more than anything else, even a good book, lol.

Kim, thanks for sharing Kayla with me, with all of us.

God is faithful. That's the sum of this experience.

windycindy said...

What a truly special time for you and it brings hope to me...
Many thanks for sharing your feelings and this moving time for