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 Tiffany thought watching us cooking was interesting. She loved getting tickled on the floor, and would laugh and laugh in hilarity. She watched her sisters and brothers with great fascination. They, in turn, took great interest in showing her all kinds of things.

 She would smile and wave bye-bye to me when the school bus lifted her wheelchair up with her in it. She loved school, it was plain to see. Her teacher, Cilla, was a sweet and wonderful lady, and gave her every chance to learn.

 Holding Tiffany was not a cuddly situation, with her rigid little body unable to relax. Her arms and legs would flail, and with her body as stiff as a board, she was not particularly comfortable. I would gently bend her legs, to help loosen the tightness, but her arms could not be contained. There were times in the rocking chair that she could relax a little at last, though, and that was very tender.

 I would sometimes sit beside her wheelchair, holding her hand while we watched Sesame Street. She would look at me then, and smile a sweet, loving smile, very tender, and I would smile back, and tell her I loved her. I knew she knew.

 Tiffany loved Christmas, with all its excitement. I think she enjoyed the wrapping paper more than the presents! It was so bright and crunchy, and her little hands would not cooperate to play with toys. She did not care for the tree, though. She didnít like the way it felt, all pokey and stiff, I think. She pulled back her arms with a horrid look on her face! She loved music boxes, and I bought her a bunch of musical stuffed animals. The children and I wound them up often for her, when she was in bed, first thing in the morning, and at night.

 She loved camping, seeing new sights, and traveling with her family. She traveled up and down the west coast with us, and we spent lots of time on the beach, with the ocean roaring close by.

 Tiffany loved birthdays. She laughed, eyes shining, when we sang "happy birthday" to her. When I tied a helium balloon to her wrist, she would spend the longest time bouncing it up and down, fascinated by the way it went back up by itself when she pulled it down. She loved being able to make something happen by herself! She had a low, and very musical giggle, sounding like a waterfall in the mountains - no, even more beautiful than that. Just hearing her laugh would make us laugh.

 Tiffany was a sweet little daughter, mischievous, curious, loving, happy and dear. She was a valuable member of our family. I wish so much she could have lived to be an adult. When Christ calls me home to Heaven, we will be together again. I will see my little daughter run and leap into my arms, laughing, and we will have eternity to talk and play together. My other children, her grandma, grandpa, uncle and I will get to know her whole and well, healthy and radiant with eternal joy! We will be able to worship at Jesus' feet together. But here on earth, after twenty years, I miss her still.

beside her sickbed
I watch her eerie stillness
in the slow dawning -
calling beyond the window
a gull circles through the fog


a deep loneliness
weaves around me like the mist
this cold evening
if only I could see you
could embrace you once again


a little lost face
but no one repeats her name
no one remembers
in my lonely heart there blows
only sleet in the north wind

(C) 2003 Rosemary J. Gwaltney


 

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