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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Park (10/25/12)

TITLE: AngelsGrace Memorial Park
By Tim Pickl


For the longest time after you were killed, I came out here to your grave and sat here, in every season, just to remember. It didn’t matter if it was sunny and dry out or raining or even snowing like crazy.

What do I remember? Oh, there is so much.

I remember the exciting day when we found out I was pregnant. I remember how your daddy took care of me—took care of us—all the time I was pregnant. I remember the night you were born. The whole church was praying for us: you survived and I almost died. Thank God for sparing me. I remember losing sleep, feeding you, holding you, loving you…changing your diaper…and then doing it all over again. I remember when you started to crawl, and looked up at me with those darling blue eyes. I remember when you learned how to use the toilet on your own… “Such a big girl!”

I remember your first birthday party: we invited everybody and most everybody showed up at some point that Saturday. It was a whirlwind day, but the pictures of you eating your piece of cake still make me smile. You had pink cake and frosting smeared all over your face and in your blonde curls…co cute.

I remember when you pulled yourself up, and how you always laughed-out-loud in sheer glee because you were seeing your world from a different perspective. I remember the joy you brought to our home every step of the way. I remember your daddy encouraging you to take your first step…then another…then another. I remember when you started walking: it seemed like you grew up too fast! About four years later, I remember how your daddy held your hand on one side and I held your hand on the other side as we walked into the Toy Store. I remember how you screamed in delight when you saw the giant Barbie Doll in the window display.

I remember in the summer when I took you to the local park with your sister. There was a kiddie pool there and I remember how you would jump in the water and play and swim all day. I remember how you would stomp your foot and scream, “NO!” when we asked you to come out of the water when it was time to go home. I remember when we’d finally get you dried off and all our things packed in the car; and how you would pass out asleep almost immediately in your car seat. I remember how your daddy called you a peaceful little angel, even though you were acting like a brat just a few moments before.

I remember all the Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas Days we had together as a family... This is where I always start weeping.

I miss you so much, Dan.

Why, why, why? Why did my husband and daughter have to die in that car crash? My hearts still breaks, dear Lord… it hurts so much, I don’t know if I can take it any longer. I don’t want to take it any longer. That’s why I am out here today with all these pills. I just want to go to sleep and never wake up again. Suicide seems to be the only option for me. There is no hope for me. I am so sorry….so, so sorry. Why didn’t I die that day when Kaylee was born? Why am I here? What is the point of all of this?


What is happening to me?


“What? Who…who are you?”

“My name is Ron. I am the maintenance man at the church up the road. I was driving by the cemetery to go and pick up some parts, but God directed me to pull in here.”

“Oh my…”

“All He told me was, Angel is in trouble, speak to her words of comfort and hope.

I tossed the bottle of pills against a nearby oak tree, and then fell over, weeping. Ron knelt down and gently put his hand on my shoulder and prayed.

“Father God, Your directed me to come here today. I pray for Your peace that passes all understanding to cover Angel right now in Your Name, Jesus. Your Word says we are saved by hope, and in You, Lord we have Your Light and Life, for without You, Father, we have no hope and we are people most miserable. In Your Name, Jesus.”

God saved me again that day.

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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/05/12
Wow! This is a masterpiece. You had me choking back tears from the very beginning. It was beautiful yet sad at the same time. I pray I never have to feel the loss of a child; I can't even begin to imagine how I would cope but I'm sure God would have a plan all laid out for me. I will say when the man appeared and said Angel I thought you'd use the familiar writing tool of the mysterious man actually being an angel. It's not that I don't believe God sends us angels it's more that it is an oft-used way to wrap up a story. When I saw where you were going instead, all kinds of emotions tumbled through. For me I think one of the more important messages that I reaped from this story is that God will use normal, everyday people to perform a miracle. I often feel unneeded and believe the world might be better off without me or wonder why God even allowed me to be born so I could totally relate to the MC on that level. However what really smacked me in the gut was the knowledge that a commoner--someone that many may not even be noticed could be a stand-in for God and his angels. It gave me a sense of hope and purpose and I am so extremely grateful for your words that told God's message to me. Again I say WOW!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/05/12
This is just an after thought. I'm not great at titles but it seemed to be this one should be called I Remember. I say that only because those who do pay attention to the title might see the ending coming, though by not making the stranger be an angel it still had somewhat of a twist ending. No biggie really, your title is great too but I just wanted to share some of my musings. Again thank you for this moment. :)