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Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Tonight is the night my little girl died. Soon we'll be on the hour, and then it will have been six years, yet sometimes it feels like it has only just happened. If I concentrate I can still see her, and smell her, and hear her voice. But I can't hold her. How I wish that I could hold her again.

I don't know why I'm writing this, for it seems that there aren't any words or tears left. I guess I worry that somehow she'll think I've forgotten her.

I remember you every day, Caroline. We all do, and we miss you so.

posted by Woodlief | link | (10) comments

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


William Isaac's namesake passed away Saturday night. Sergeant Major William Stroup lost both parents as a child and spent part of his childhood in an orphanage and foster homes. He parachuted into Normandy at age 24, killed people who needed killing, saw his friends cut down around him. He raised four children, one of whom was kind enough to have my future wife.

My wife has always been a good judge of character (with one exception) and he was one of her favorite people. As we prepare for his funeral I find myself wondering: how did he capture the heart of a little girl so completely, the heart now in my hands, the heart I've often mishandled? The answer, I think, is that he always believed her, he always made her feel safe, and he never let her leave his sight without telling her she was loved.

It's humbling to think on, and it's my prayer, in between prayers for the wife and children and grandchildren and friends now mourning him, that the same can be said of me one day. And Lord please give me the time to get there, and forgive the time I've wasted.

In her grandfather's final weeks my wife and children spent a lot of time with him while I worked in DC. Though he was worn down and in pain from the cancer that finally took him, he would sit at the organ and play and sing for the boys. Isaac was responsible for some of his last smiles, and he was responsible for many of Isaac's first smiles. I have no idea what they'll look like when we're all on the other side of the veil, but I'm sure I'll recognize them from the crooning.

Every few years he would drive across country for a reunion with the survivors of his battalion, and now their dwindling numbers are one smaller. He never had a big house or expensive car, and like most of us he had no fame. But he did his part to banish some of the darkness from the world for a time. He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him. Would that the same could be said of all of us once we've departed this earth.

Go with God, Bill, rejoice in your new life. And try not to hog the piano up there.

posted by Woodlief | link | (9) comments