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Lucas Christopher Ross "Luke"
October 31, 1979 - April 3, 2001
Acute Bronchopneumonia


I'm thankful for
many things...
peaceful dreams,
angel wings,

memories, photos,
baby books,
special keepsakes,
remembered looks,

winter's snow,
springtime's rain,
summer's sun,
autumn's flame,

Easter eggs,
Christmas trees,
New Years eve,

puppies, kittens,
little boys,
little girls,
favorite toys,

sleepy sunrise,
whispered talks,
golden sunsets,
evening walks,

burning candle,
silent prayer,
flowers, music,
breath of air,

family, friends,
heaven above,
earth below,
cherished love,

holding hands,
saying goodbye,
hugs and kisses,
wondering why,

laughter, giggles,
lots of smiles,
for awhile.

I'm thankful for
all these things
because in them...
he remains.

© 2007 - Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001

(to the tune of Over the River)

Over the rainbow and through the clouds
To heavenly skies we go.
The stars know the way
To take us today
To the heavens from earth below....O!

Over the rainbow and through the clouds,
Oh how our love does flow.
It grips the soul
To fill this hole.
As over the stars we go.

Over the rainbow and through the clouds
To have a special day.
Oh hear these hearts sing
With love that we bring.
Hurrah for this trip away.

Over the rainbow and through the clouds
Go fast to reach this place.
Just look all around
At the peace they've found,
For this is our children's way. Hey!

Over the rainbow and through the clouds
And straight through the heavenly gate.
We seem to go
Extremely slow.
It is so hard to wait!

Over the rainbow and through the clouds
Now angel wings we spy.
Hurrah for the fun,
Don't let it be done.
Hurrah when there's no more goodbyes.

© 2005 - Christine Ross


As I bow my weary head today
And I say my Thanksgiving prayer,
I look up across the table
And I see it... that empty chair.

Oh God, what can I be thankful for?
I miss that smile, I miss that kiss.
But I will try to be thankful
Though all I feel is emptiness.

Through the emptiness I am thankful
For all of those wonderful years.
The times we spent together.
The happiness, love, and tears.

I'm thankful for the memories
That drift through my mind from the past.
Those glowing eyes, those amazing hugs,
And that big incredible laugh.

I'm thankful for the things I've learned
From someone that really mattered,
Who taught me what's important,
Who always had room for laughter.

I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving day
My remaining family shares.
But most of all I'm thankful for...
All the things in that empty chair.

© Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001

We can only be said to be alive
in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
~Thornton Wilder


The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway -
Thanksgiving comes again!



What matters it the cold wind's blast,
What matters though 'tis snowing,
Thanksgiving Day has come at last;
To grandmamma's were going.
Wrapped in furs as warm as toast,
O'er the hills we're fleeting;
To welcome friends, a merry host
And grandma's smile of greeting.

The sleigh bells jingle merrily,
And though the flakes are flying,
At last beyond the hills we see
A little mansion lying.
I'm sure we'll find sweet cakes and fruit
And pumpkin pies so yellow;
For grandma knows just how to suit
Each hungry little fellow.


The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.
No Americans have been more impoverished than these who,
set aside a day of thanksgiving.

~ H. U. Westermayer

One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine,
whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his Long sleep,
as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Robert Frost

Forever on Thanksgiving Day
The heart will find the pathway home.

~Wilbur D. Nesbit

Gratitude is the heart's memory.

French Proverb

Ah! on Thanksgiving day....
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.
What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?

~John Greenleaf Whittier

This is the finest measure of thanksgiving:
a thankfulness that springs from love.

~ William C. Skeath

I would thank you from the bottom of my heart,
but for you my heart has no bottom.

~ Author Unknown


Year after year after year
I go crazy!
Every Thanksgiving
I sit with the babies!

It's the little kids' table;
The table for tots,
Where my mom makes me sit
If I like it or not.

The table for grown-ups
Is fit for a king,
With goblets And giblets
And gold napkin rings,

And bread rolls and salad
And dressing with drippings,
One glass just for drinking,
And one just for sipping!

But here all the kids
Drink from Styrofoam cups,
We eat small turkey bits
That our moms have cut up.

Our plates are red plastic
And so are the spoons,
And we eat by ourselves
In a small dining room.

I have dozens of cousins
Age one and age two
Whose Thanksgiving feast
Is a greenish-brown goo.

They slop up their faces
With vegetable mashes
And after they drink
They all have Milk mustaches.

They urp, And they burp,
And they belch And they gulp;
Oh, why can't I sit
At the feast for adults?

All the mooshing And mashing
And smooshing And gnashing!
I put down my fork
And I thought about fasting!

I'd never eat turkey
Again in my life!
Never pick up a fork!
Never pick up a knife!

I'd fast like a mountain-top
Indian swami;
I wouldn't touch mustard
Or bread Or salami!

"I'll never eat mushrooms
"Or green beans "Or squid!
"And I NEVER will eat
"At the table for kids!"

"What's wrong?" asked my mom,
She was pouring some drinks;
"You haven't touched dinner...
"Not one single thing!"

She straightened the napkin
Tucked under my chin,
She gave me a hug
As she pushed my chair in,

She cut up my turkey bits
Two sizes smaller,
She held up my glass,
"Have a sip of some water!"

She dished up a spoon
Of potatoes and gravy;
My mom tried to feed me
Like I was a baby!

Well, my face turned as red
As the rhubarb pie filling!
I quick turned away,
And my cup went a-spilling!

BOOSH! Water splashed on
Mom's face and her hair,
And it looked like some gravy
Was mixed up in there,

Because polka dots spotted
My mom's bright white dress!
Her Thanksgiving suit
Was a gravy-brown mess!

I should've said "Sorry!"
I should've said "Oops!"
I should've helped mom
Wipe the gravy-brown goop.

What happened instead
Is a mystery, my friends.
But there's one thing for sure- - -
I won't do it again!

I opened my mouth- - -
Do you know what I did?
I sassed my mom back
Like a spoiled snotty kid.

"I can use my own fork!
"I can use my own knife!
"And I don't want to sit
"At the table for tikes!"

"I can't stand all the gunk!
"I can't stand all the gak!
"I won't watch little Timothy
"Eating like that!"

"He's got yams in his hair,
"He's got yams North and South,
"And there's food everywhere
"But inside of his mouth!"

"Then there's Sarah and Icky
"And Jimmy and Franz
"Mixing peas in their milk!
"Eating with their bare hands!"

"This is NOT what the Pilgrims
"And Indians did,

Then mom said,
"I think your Thanksgiving's all through,
"And I think that it's time
"You go up to your room."

"In my ROOM?!" my brain thought,
This just couldn't be true!
In my ROOM?!
Why, WHY, WHY??
What on earth did I do??

My tummy got grumbly,
My feet both felt stumbly,
I wanted to shout,
But my mouth was all mumbly.

I walked past the turkey,
The dressing and trimmings,
My feast was now ending
Before its beginning.

"Goodbye, pumpkin pie!"
I said, as I walked by it,
"So long, green bean bake!"
Though I never would try it,

"Farewell, acorn squash,
"And potatoes au gratin!
"Ta-ta, apple tart
"With your whip-creamy topping!"

I sat all alone
On my bed feeling hungry.
It felt like I had
A stone knot in my tummy.

I could still hear
The forks and the knives and the spoons
Clacking and clinking
And scraping up food;

My sniffer sniffed smells
Drifting up from afar,
And on Thanksgiving Day
I was sure I would starve!

So I played with my toys
Then I sang a few numbers,
I stood on my head
To get rid of this hunger,

Then somersaults, Push-ups,
I played tiddly-winks,
But Thanksgiving turkey
Was all I could think!

My belly growled out
Like a great grizzly bear,
And I knew, Pretty soon,
I'd need something down there!

Anything, ANYTHING!
Liver, or beets!
Even heaps of
Hungarian pickled pigs' feet!

"I'll eat wood like a termite!
"Or flies like a frog!
"I'll chew catnip like kitties!
"Or shoes like a dog!"

I was just about ready
To snack on my hat,
When I heard someone knocking,

It was mom with a plate
Piled high with a feast,
And it didn't seem
that she was mad In the least.

She set up a TV tray
Right by my bed,
And she gave me a kiss
On the top of my head.

"You're growing up fast,"
She said, hiding a tear,
"Won't you join the adults
"For Thanksgiving next year?"

© 1992 Howard D. Fencl

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

John Howard Payne (1791 - 1852)


The harvest is in
And there's pumpkins for sale.
The hay from the field
Is stacked in neat little bales.

The rooster is crowing.
The chickens are fat.
There's bread in the oven
And the scent takes me back.

There's an abundance this year
Of good things to eat.
There's an abundance this year
Of unsettled grief.

The sight of plump pumpkins
And the dried ears of corn
Bring Thanksgiving memories.....
On a November morn.

© 2010 ~ Christine Ross ~Bringer Of Light Poetry
~In memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


Thanksgiving is almost here. I just don't know where the time has gone. Yesterday it was October and we were celebrating Luke's Halloween Birthday and today it is November. November arrived with the reminder of past holidays and family gatherings. I always wonder how we are going to make it through this holiday again without Luke at our Thanksgiving table. His chair will once again be empty. The emptiness I feel is so overwhelming as the tears begin to flow. I also wonder... what can I really be thankful for? Our lives seem as empty as that empty chair. We long for the company of Luke who belongs in that empty chair. Quietly and softly my mind returns to the days of his glowing eyes, his sweet smile, his thoughtful kisses, his amazing hugs, his peaceful happiness, his incredible laugh, and his undying love. It is those wonderful memories that I will hold forever in the depth my heart and forever in the corner of my mind. Although I cry, and although I mourn.... through all of the tears and pain......I REMEMBER!!! I find myself crying in silence as I remember him and I also find myself crying in screams. As I stare at that empty chair, and as a tear rolls down my cheek I will become aware that those cherished memories are surfacing, and my tears will glisten as they wet my lips during an unexpected, grateful smile on the day of thankfulness. I thank God for Luke! Beneath the sorrow an unseen, gentle spirit reminds me of all the cherished memories that will forever and ever and ever fill that chair... that is not really empty at all.

© 2015 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


When Luke was 7 months old he got to feast on his very first chocolate cake. I just put his cake on a paper plate, sat it in front of him on the tray of his high chair, and let him go at it. He had a wonderful time and was covered from head to toe with chocolate cake and chocolate icing. So I brought him into the kitchen and held him as he stood on the kitchen counter next to the sink. I took off all of his clothes and started wiping him down with a wash cloth. I guess the water and the coolness of the cloth made him pee. Well, he was perfect aim..... because he peed right in center of the open sugar bowl.

A few years later, every night at dinner Luke would say..."Mommy, I want the orange things with the hole in the middle." I had no idea what he was talking about, but every night he would continue to ask for the "orange things with the hole in the middle." Then one night when we all sat down at the dinner table, Luke got this huge smile on his face and said......"IT'S THE ORANGE THINGS WITH THE HOLE IN THE MIDDLE." I had made Mac and cheese that night! We were all so glad to finally know what he was talking about. So from that day on, up until the day he died at the age of 21, Luke loved the orange things with the hole in the middle. At his service, on his memorial table we displayed a box of mac and cheese!

One night our little family had been invited to my brother and sister-in-laws home. This would be the first and last time. They had a beautiful home that was full of 'fine' antiques. They had this one particular room that they called the sitting room, although no one ever dared sit in there. It was more like a museum than a room, and not a place for a little boy of three and his big sister Emily of five. So on our way over to their house, I gave Emily and Luke a lecture about not touching any thing in the house. I also told them that their Aunt had a special room that you could not go in, and that it was 'a room that you just look at'. I wasn't even sure the kids were listening when I told them, but I sure hoped that they were. Well, when we arrived we were seated in the formal dining room at a huge table that Emily and Luke could barely even see over. Everyone was having a normal conversation and out of the corner of my eye I saw Luke looking all around the room and out into the hall. When I saw that I got a nervous feeling in my stomach. THEN what I hoped would not happen HAPPENED! Luke looked straight at his Aunt and said....."Where is that room that you just look at?" I found myself looking for a place to hide under that huge dining room table.

Dinner at our home usually started with a prayer. Robin, Luke's Dad, would ask for a volunteer to say the blessing, but Luke never volunteered. Luke was now in Kindergarten and learning new things. On one particular night Robin didn't even have to ask for a volunteer. As we sat down at the table Luke blurted out...."I want to say the prayer." Well, Robin and I were so happy and so surprised that our little boy had finally gotten the courage to say the blessing! We all bowed our heads and Luke began his prayer...."Good food, good meat, good God, lets eat." Well of course the reverence of the moment ended in laughter.

One night when Luke was 7 years old we all went to dinner at a resturant similar to Chili's. On the table there was this jar full of straws wrapped in paper. For Luke, this meant party time. We were all looking at the menus, except for Luke, because he was busy unwrapping all the straws and placing them all over his face. He put one behind each ear, one IN each ear, one up each nostril, one attached to each eye tooth, and one in each corner of his mouth. He was acting silly and we all laughed at his comedy act. But after a while we told Luke that he needed to look at the menu so that we could order dinner. So he picked up the menu, still with all of the straws protruding from his head, and leaned back in his chair to get in a comfortable position to look at the menu. Just as he did, the legs of the chair slipped on the wooden floor, Luke went back, landed directly oh his back on the floor, all sprawled out with eight straws coming out of his head. Everyone in the restaurant turned to see what the crash was and SAW what I just described. Luke had a surprised look on his face, but not the least bit embarrased. He burst into laughter and of course the three of us did too, along with most everyone in the resturant. I was laughing so hard that I could hardly help him up off of the floor.

All throughout Luke's life he always provided the entertainment at dinner. He usually had a great story to tell, or some funny remark about his food whether it was an outdoor barbeque, or at home in the kitchen, or at someone else's home, or at a resturant, or gathered round the table at my mom's house for Thanksgiving Dinner. The memories he gave us will have to suffice until we meet him again. As we sit down to dinner this year, probably with a side of orange things with the hole in the middle, a slice of chocolate cake, plenty of straws for the drinks, while we are faced with that empty 'chair you just look at', my Thanksgiving prayer will be..."Dear God, thank you so much for the blessing of my little family and for giving me such a loving and funny and happy son to share my life with for 21 wonderful years". And then I will end my prayer with........
Good food, Good meat, Good God, Let's eat.

© 2014 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


I pray you'll be our eyes and watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise in times when we don't know
Let this be our prayer when we lose our way
Lead us to the place guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe

La luce che tu hai
(I pray we'll find your light)
Nel cuore resterà
(And hold it in our hearts.)
A ricordarci che
(When stars go out each night,)
Eterna stella sei
Nella mia preghiera
(Let this be our prayer)
Quanta fede see'è
(When shadows fill our day)
Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

Sogniamo un mondo senza più violenza
Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno lo dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace, di fraternità

La forza che ci dà
(We ask that life be kind)
È il desiderio che
(And watch us from above)
Ognuno trovi amor
(We hope each soul will find)
Intorno e dentro sé
(Another soul to love)

Let this be our prayer (Let this be our prayer),
Just like every child
Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

È la fede che
Hai acceso in noi,
Sento che ci salverà

~ AS PERFORMED BY: Celine Dion & Josh Groban
~ WORDS AND MUSIC BY: David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Alberto Testa and Tony Renis.


Ducks would be important for three times in our lives......

Our first special memory of ducks..... 1989

When Luke was 9 years old he was chosen as the Winning Kid (poster child) for the Epilepsy foundation for the Houston Gulf Coast Region in Texas. We lived there for a year when Robin (my husband) had a job assignment there. Then the foundation entered Luke in the National Epilepsy Foundation Winning Kid contest. He was runner-up, and a little girl won as the Winning Kid. As runner-up Luke and his family were invited to Memphis, Tennessee to the national convention. The Epilepsy Foundation paid for our hotel room at the Peabody Hotel. The convention was wonderful, and at the banquet that night we were asked to sit at the front table with the little girl who had won and her family. Luke being nine years old did not want to sit at that table because as he put it...."A girl won." But we graciously accepted and sat at the table. The little girl was very nice and her and Luke got along well. The Winning Kid and her runner-up were called to the stage and were presented with an Epilepsy Foundation Teddy Bear. Luke was soooo excited about his little bear. The next day we spent time around the hotel because we had heard all about how a group of ducks rode the elevator from the top of the hotel to the lobby below and then walked out and pranced all the way to the fountain in the lobby. It was a sight to see. Well, that did it, Luke was in love with those ducks. Luke's sister, Emily, was also very impressed. Afterwards we all went to the gift shop and we told Emily and Luke that could choose a gift as a remembrance of their trip. Luke looked all around and then he found the PERFECT GIFT. He came running up to us with these Greenhead Mallard Duck slippers. He was so anxious to get back to the room so he could wear his slippers. It was a wonderful trip and Luke wore those slippers for years after that, until his feet would no long fit in them. I still have those silly old duck slippers and they bring a smile to my face when I think about how excited our little Winning Kid was to have his very own duck slippers.

Our second special memory of ducks.....1998

When Emily and Luke were both in college they shared an apartment together. They were both very excited to be out on their own. We helped them get moved in. That night Emily and Luke went to the grocery store to get some necessities. The filled their basket with groceries and bath items. While they were shopping on the cleaning isle Luke said...."Hey Emily, let's get this little blue duck toilet cleansers, they make the water blue." So they put them in their basket. When the got back to the apartment Luke said..."Hey Emily, lets put our little blue ducks in the toilet and make the water blue." So Emily agreed. Luke headed to his bathroom and Emily headed to hers. A few minutes later Luke came out into the living room saying...."Mine didn't work." Emily said... "What do you mean it didn't work." Luke said... "Well the water didn't turn blue." Emily said.... "Well, mine did. Did you put the duck in the tank." Luke just looked at Emily with this puzzled look on his face and said...."No, I dropped it in the bowl and flushed it." Then they both fell to the floor laughing hysterically.

Our third special memory of ducks....2010

It was my husband's birthday when we got a call from his brother saying that his son Dylan had died that day at the age of 36. We couldn't believe it! Luke had died over 9 years earlier. Dylan and Luke were cousins, although they really didn't know each other very well because we lived in Arizona and Dylan and his family lived in Louisiana. Terry (Dylan's Dad) taught Dylan to duck hunt at the age of 7. Dylan's passion from then on was duck hunting. He and his Dad spent a lot of quality 'guy' time at their camp that rested on stilts overlooking a beautiful cypress lake. At that camp they laughed together, they watched football together, they cooked meals together, they built duck blinds together, they went fishing together, they had father and son talks together, and they did the necessary jobs around the camp to preserve it as a 'duck hunting paradise' for the two of them. After Dylan's death his parents had a sign made for their camp that has a beautiful duck scene on it with the words 'DYLAN'S CAMP' printed across the scene. It was only fitting to name their camp DYLAN'S CAMP because it would forever be remembered as a place of happiness between Dylan and his Dad. Terry still goes to the camp, many times alone, just to reflect on his precious memories. But as Terry said... "It will never be same without Dylan." We drove to Louisiana for Dylan's funeral and when we arrived at the funeral home in Louisiana and walked up to the casket, there was Dylan..... peacefully, eternally sleeping with his hands clutching his favorite duck calls. As Robin and I stood there looking at Dylan in disbelief of it all, tears streamed down my face and I remember thinking.... "another special duck memory of a son gone way too soon."

Memories of Ducks.....

Every time I see a duck I think of three things..... Luke's slippers, the little blue duck, and Dylan. All three of these things make me cry and at the same time all three of these things make me smile. I find it amazing that 2 beautiful lives, destined to die young, will be fondly remembered, honored, and cherished with the thought of something as simple as ....... a duck.

© 2013 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


He walked beyond the Cypress trees
In the swamp towards the west.
He bowed his head in reverence
As he made his last request.

"Let this hunter's voice be heard
In the morning winds that sing
And let this hunter's spirit soar
On the tips of mallard wings."

"And in the sun and in the moon
And in the wetland's starlight glow
Let my light forever shine
Casting shadows of hope below."

"Let this worn-out hunting cap
Be my halo when I die,
As I carry my shotgun and decoys,
And wade across the clouds on high."

"Call in the ones that aimed with me,
And the little hunters too.
Help them all to understand
That my final hunt is through."

"Please grant this last request of mine
As I gently walk away,
Calling ducks along the pass
To that place where I will stay."

Then he walked beyond the sunset,
His silhouette against the sky.
His eternal duck call echoed,
As he said his last goodbye.

© 2013 - Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001 &
In memory of Dylan Ross 1973 - 2010


Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that's your way.
You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

Did you ever know that you're my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I've got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you're my hero?
You're everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky,
so high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you,
thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

~ Words & music by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley


In the towering mountains of cool, clear Northern Arizona there is an amazing stretch of highway that goes from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon.

My husband Robin and I first traveled this remarkable road as a young married couple. We were so young, and so in love, and so full of life and energy that experiencing the Grand Canyon was a personal quest of ours. From Flagstaff, Arizona we went north up this embracing highway. As we passed the graceful aspen trees, and the tall ponderosa pines that were reaching for the sky, and as we viewed the overpowering mountain peaks rising above this God-given landscape, we were in awe. Drawn to the beauty of a serene, secluded forest campsite just off this mystical road, shadowed by majestic peaks we captured within all of our senses the beauty of the surrounding landscape in this soul gripping rustic place. We set up camp there and spent a romantic night under the stars. Little did we know the secrets this road would reveal throughout our lives.

Exactly nine months later I gave birth to our first child... a tiny, dainty, beautiful little girl we named Emily. Our lives became indescribably enriched by this new-found expression of our love. This tiny person captured our hearts and became the center of our attention. Our love had multiplied and it was a wonderful feeling.

Then just a few years later we discovered that our lives would again be enlightened by another little person. Opportunity presented itself and our happy little family of 3 and 1/2 moved all the way across the country from Louisiana to Idaho. Just a few short months later our family became complete with the birth of a special little boy, full of unconditional love, that we proudly named Luke.

One year after Luke's birth we moved back to Louisiana, but the four of us kept within us that ever-burning desire to go west. For the next twelve years our family vacations consisted of numerous trips to Disney World, trips to the beach, fishing trips, and, of course, uncountable ventures out west. As destiny would have it, we found ourselves driving that beautiful stretch of highway north of Flagstaff, that same alluring road that had produced our first child. But, now instead of traveling as a couple we were traveling as a family of four. Emily and Luke were overflowing with enthusiasm and anticipation for the visit to the Grand Canyon. We stopped several times along this generous road to take photos and breathe in the crisp mountain air. As we passed the same campsite where the seed of our first child was planted, we pointed it out to Emily and told her "That is a very special place that Dad and I will tell you about someday."

Years passed, time flew by, and again life brought about change with an opportunity to return to the west. We anxiously moved to Phoenix, Arizona, fulfilling a long-awaited dream. With our new-found environment there was so much to explore. In the summertime we found ourselves escaping the heat of the dry desert by exploring that magical highway on weekend family trips.

Luke, now a teenager, loved taking road trips in his Jeep. He took many excursions on this same welcoming highway in search of adventure. He would come back home with stories of secrets revealed by this highway when taking back road trips to unseen destinations.

Yearly, when fall arrived, our little family of four would journey this special highway to experience the spectacular display of nature. At various enchanted spots along this breathtaking road we would picnic on a quilt cushioned by a ground cover of golden aspen leaves.

In early summer, while cruising the back roads off of this wise old highway, we happened upon a little 2 acre spread of land, nestled between the mountains and covered with aspen trees and ponderosa pines, all the while inviting us with an irresistible "FOR SALE" sign.

The following year involved preparations for the building of our little log cabin. This would be our ultimate family retreat. Upon completion we indulged in family gatherings that included croquet, horseshoes, hiking, campfires, cookouts, and memorable family times.

At thanksgiving we once again journeyed this magical road to our little cabin hide-away. Upon arrival a blanket of sparkling snow welcomed us. As we said grace that Thanksgiving, I thanked God for bringing all four of us together at this special place and time.

Christmas delivered even more snow. This was our first white Christmas since that snowy Idaho Christmas twenty-one years ago, just a few months after Luke's birth. As the snowflakes were gently falling, Luke & Emily burst through the front door of the little cabin into a room warmed by a crackling winter fire. As they stood there, Luke (now my 21 year old son) was brushing the snow off of his strong shoulders, looking all around as if it were his first time to see this place. Luke said "Wow Mom, this looks like those lodges we used to go to on vacations." The he said "I want a cabin." Those words still echo through my mind and squeeze my heart, because this would be the last time that Luke would cross that threshold. This road had once again delivered something very special that would have to last a life time.

Months later Robin and I had gone up to our little cabin alone. We were driving down this memorable highway and had just turned on the forest road heading to the cabin. As soon as the tires left the pavement and touched down on the dirt road, I knew without a doubt, that Luke was no longer on this earth. I felt it deep within me as if the road once again revealed a secret, but this time a secret I did not want to know.

Shortly after Luke's death we sold our house in the desert and moved to our little cabin in the mountains. As we drove down this now lonely highway to the dirt forest road, I thought about how Luke must have his very own cabin in Heaven, just as he had wished for at Christmas only months ago. As we drove through the gate, passed the sign announcing LUCAS LODGE, I knew at that very moment, that I was where destiny had led me.

The very next year we adopted a mile on that stretch of highway, near the cabin and we cleaned that mile twice a year, in April and again in October in honor of Luke's anniversary in Heaven and Luke's birthday.

Many years passed and the winters became too difficult with the only transportation to the paved road was by snowmobile. We decided that after all those years to move to a place in Northern Arizona, away from Destiny Road, that had plowed roads in the winter and would make access much easier. So we moved to our new house in the woods... but we never forgot our little Cabin of days gone by.

Then in October of 2012 we sold our little Cabin in the woods with very mixed emotions. Another turning point in our lives. We no longer own a place that Luke has physically been. We saw the little cabin one last time before the new owners took possession. As I stood there on the front porch, gazing at the mountain view, shadowed by the pines, I said my last goodbye to that little Cabin in the woods that represents a lifetime of experiences.

As fate would have it, our daughter Emily became engaged and her and her fiance chose a special place under the sky to be married. They were married in Kendrick Park, just two miles from the cabin at the foot of those towering mountains of cool, clear Northern Arizona next to that amazing stretch of highway that continues to be a part of our lives.

This fateful highway will always be a symbol of years and years of collected memories, placed safely within the hearts of four destined souls that will forever be a part of ......DESTINY ROAD.

© 2012 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


There is a little cabin
All nestled in the woods
Shadowed by the mountains
Protecting what it should.

Briefly it bestowed to us
A place of happiness.
Memories were gathered
Granting what was wished.

Then the stars fell from the sky.
The moon lost all its glow.
Shadowed now by loneliness
Of death it came to know.

It became my solitude,
A place to mourn and grieve.
Painfulness was gathered.
Sadness was conceived.

Summer brought the sunshine
But brightness never came.
Surrounded by the sorrow
The darkness still remained.

Autumn brought the colors
With dreams of days gone by.
Winds of 'no tomorrow' blew
And clouded up the sky.

Winter brought the snowflakes
With whiteness all around
As quietness of the snowfall
Made a cold and lonesome sound.

Springtime brought the flowers.
Death lingered in the blooms
With sorrowful reminders
Of a life that ceased too soon.

I thank the little cabin
For the memories that it made,
For the comfort it provided
In the shadows and the shade.

I had to leave it far behind
And search for serenity
In another place and time
That found a way to me.

Many weary years have passed
Since those times of early grief.
It shall never be forgotten
All the cabin gave to me.

I miss the little cabin.
It was a faithful longtime friend
That earned a place within my heart
Because it could understand.

Someday I'll find a cabin
Where mountains rest beyond the sky,
Where someone's waiting for me
And we'll never say goodbye.

© 2012 - Christine Ross
~ by Christine Ross in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


The long and winding road
that leads to your door
will never disappear
I've seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door

The wild and windy night
that the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
crying for the day
Why leave me standing here
let me know the way

Many times I've been alone
and many times I've cried
Any way you'll never know
the many ways I've tried

But still they lead me back
to the long winding road
You left me standing here
a long long time ago
Don't leave me waiting here
lead me to your door

But still they lead me back
to the long winding road
You left me standing here
a long long time ago
Don't leave me waiting here
lead me to your door
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

~ Words & music Paul McCartney


We had a little one room cabin in the National Forest in northern Arizona, the place that we spent a few short holidays with Luke just months before he died and where we all took long walks together in the Autumn absorbing the beauty of the changing leaves. We had picnics and naps on the pine straw under the trees. We still took those walks after Luke died, but without him with us we felt lost and alone.

It was close to a year after Luke died that my husband Robin (Luke's dad) and I traveled to our log cabin in the woods. We named our little cabin LUCAS LODGE because Luke loved it there so much and he thought it looked like the lodges we all used to go to at the National Parks on family vacations.

It was a long drive and we talked about Luke the entire trip and how much we missed him. Oh how lonely we were for our boy, and we both cried and shared memories and asked questions that had no answers. We discussed how much our lives had changed and how lost we felt in the world. The grief that we both carried was so dark, and lonely, and scary. Laughter that used to be such a big part of our family was lost somewhere in the midst of our grief.

We arrived at the little cabin in the woods at about 9 pm. We were so tired, but still had to unload everything out of the car. As we were unloading, I left the cabin front door open to make it easier to carry things inside. We finally got everything unloaded and into the cabin.

The grieving, and the tears, and the drive, and the talks, and the night were exhausting and we were very ready for bed. We lit a candle for Luke so that it could burn through the night as a flickering honor to our son. Then, we both went straight to bed. There was not a separate bedroom because the cabin was all one room (except for the bathroom).

Robin fell asleep right away and I felt myself beginning to dose off. As I was in that twilight sort of sleep I heard a fluttering near my night stand. I thought that maybe I was just dreaming, but then I heard the fluttering again and 'something' flew above the bed to the other side of the cabin. I thought to myself..... "I think that might be a bat." Then it flew back to our side of the cabin and just from the swoosh, swoosh of the wings, I KNEW it was a bat.

Through all of this Robin was lying next to me.... snoring away. I woke him up and said...."Robin, there's a bat in the cabin!" Robin said..."Oh, go to sleep, there is NOT a bat in here." Well, just about that time, the bat swooped down just above our heads. Robin said..."Oh wow (he really didn't say wow) it is a bat!" I said... "I told you!"

So Robin jumped out of bed, grabbed the broom, grabbed a kitchen chair, put it by the front door, opened the front door, sat in the chair holding a broom in the air with nothing on except his underwear. The scene looked like something out of a comedy movie. I was still in the bed, holding on to the sheets, ready to cover my head. I screamed from the bed..... "What in the heck (I didn't really say heck) are you doing?" Robin said...."When I open the front door the bat will fly towards the door and when it does, I will whack it with the broom." I thought to myself..."Whatever?" Then he opened the door.

I just sat there in the bed taking in the whole scene and situation. There was my sad, sleepy, exhausted husband sitting at the open door of the cabin wearing nothing but his briefs, holding a broom in the air, hoping to whack a bat!!! I knew for sure that we had finally reached our limit of sanity. All of a sudden he yells...."Ahhhhhh, Oh shucks (he really didn't say shucks)!" I said..."What's wrong?" He said as he was swinging the broom through the air... "I think another darn (he really didn't say darn) bat just flew in through the door!" While he was swinging away one of the bats flew back out the door, Robin jumped up (in his briefs) with the broom in his hand, and was still swinging it through the air as he slammed the front door. I said... "What the heck (I really didn't say heck) are we going to do now!" Robin said... "Well, we sure can't leave the door open because more bats will come in!" So he sat down in the chair again, in his briefs, with the broom in one hand waiting to swing, hoping for the bat to fly near the door, so he could either open the door or whack the bat.

He sat there for about 15 minutes while I waited in the bed with the covers in my hands. Then, I said... "Just forget it, I'm going to sleep, I'm too tired to deal with this." Robin said..."Yep, I'm too darn (he really didn't say darn) tired to chase this stupid (he really didn't say stupid) bat all night!" So we both lay down, so exhausted from the drive, and the grieving, and the tears, and the night, and NOW..... from the bat. But every time we would dose off that lost bat would fly right over our heads, so close that we could feel the air move. By this time we were just too tired to care or to do anything else about the situation, so believe it or not we just dosed off to sleep with that bat flying back and forth across the cabin all night long. Occasionally we would wake up to the sound of the swoosh, swoosh and the feel of the air on our faces.

FINALLY morning came and there was no bat in sight. We got up, kissed Luke's urn, and made some coffee. I said... "Well, you know that darn (I really didn't say darn) thing is hanging upside down somewhere in this cabin." So we searched and searched, but we could not find that lost bat anywhere. So I said... "To heck (I really didn't say heck) with it, I'm going to open the curtains, let the sunshine in, and forget about that bat." As I opened the curtains by the dining table I heard a flutter. I looked behind the curtain and THERE IT WAS hanging upside down from the back of the curtain. I yelled..."ROBIN... I found it!" But by the time Robin got to the window the bat had scooted between the logs and the window casing and was in the curve between two of the logs. I said... "What the heck (I really didn't say heck) are we going to do now?"

Between the two of us we came up with this the GREAT IDEA... at least we THOUGHT it was a great idea....... Robin went outside and got the fish net, and I got a straw from the kitchen drawer. Robin held the net over the curve of the logs and I poked at the bat with a straw to make him scoot out. It worked like a charm....... except NOW the bat was in the net against the log wall. Robin said..."What the heck (he really didn't say heck) am I going to do with him now?"

Well, I got closer to take a good look at this annoying lost creature through the net. He was brown and hairy! He looked like a mouse with big hairy wings! I said... "UUUUHHHHHGGGGG... Look at him!" Then I said... "I know what you can do.... just slide the little hairy creature down the wall while it is in the net until you get it to the floor and then you can slide him on the floor out the front door." Robin just looked at me with this questionable look.

Because he didn't have a better idea Robin slid the bat down the wall to the floor while we were both screaming. I was screaming in a high SCREEEEECH, and Robin was screaming in a low AHHHHHHHH. I said... "Oh my God... don't let him out in the cabin." Robin was squatted down, walking weird, walking backwards, dragging the bat in the net to the front door across the floor...... but at least this time he was fully dressed. It worked GREAT, although it doesn't sound great. Well, we finally got that lost bat out onto the front porch. Robin raised the net as we both stood there in relief and watched that lost bat fly towards the mountains. We assumed it was flying like a bat out of (you know what) to get away from the two crazy grieving parents who had given him the night of his life. We both just looked at each other and started laughing. And then we gasped. We couldn't believe that we were actually laughing. Our son had died, how could we be laughing? But we were laughing. How did it happen that we were actually both really laughing and laughing hard?

That little lost bat found his way back out into the world after a long and lonely and scary night. That bat was somewhere that he really didn't want to be, but there was nothing that he could do about it until the morning came and showed him the way home. Robin and I were also lost in our grief and it was long and lonely and scary. But that night with a visit from an unsuspecting brown hairy winged angel, we made our first step towards finding our way back home.... out of the darkness, into the light. For the first time since Luke died we were lost in laughter and we could feel Luke laughing through us. We now knew that we could take those long walks in the woods no longer lost and alone because Luke would always be walking with us.

© 2011 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


I was lost out in the wilderness
Searching for a pathway back,
Back to the life I had before
When everything was still intact.

Twigs cracked loud beneath my feet
As I walked along the trail.
I felt him walking with me
And knew his presence would prevail.

I looked up to the mountains
Then I felt a cool Fall breeze
So I let myself imagine
It was a time before he ceased.

We both stretched out beneath the trees
On a blanket of pine straw
As we gazed up through the needles
At the sunshine that we saw.

We talked there in the Autumn's warmth
And we laughed at stories told
Of life, and time, and happiness
We shared so very long ago.

We reminisced more yesterdays
As the sun began to fade.
Dusk had reached the wilderness
And I didn't want to leave.

But time was waiting for me
To regain my sanity,
So I started walking on the path
That led to reality.

In the distance up ahead I saw
The light of present time.
And back behind the pathway shone
The light of days gone by.

'Should I walk into the light
Of the present? ...or the past?'
One held grief and sorrow,
One held what didn't last.

I kept walking, still unsure
Until the path circled around
And met the lights of 'then' and 'now'
Making a glow upon the ground.

The halo of the gathered light
Revealed a path I hadn't seen
Leading to a 'new' reality
Not imagined in my dreams.

The two lights came together
One of present and of past.
And there upon the forest trail
A new light had been cast.

I walked within the new light
Of a past that's never gone,
Down a new path made of memories
So I'll never be alone.

I still go to the wilderness
To the blanket of pine straw,
And we still talk of days gone by
But I'm no longer lost.

© 2011 - Christine Ross
In memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001


When you walk through a storm
Keep your chin up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At he end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never walk alone.

~ Music by Richard Rodgers
~ Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

Thanksgiving is upon us!!!!! November arrived with the reminder of past holidays and family gatherings. We begin to wonder how we are going to make it through this holiday because someone very special is no longer sitting at that Thanksgiving table... at least not that we can see with our human eyes. The emptiness we feel is so overwhelming and the tears begin to flow. We also wonder... what we can really be thankful for? Our lives seem as empty as that empty chair. We long for the company of the person that belongs in that empty chair. Quietly and softly our minds return to the days of glowing eyes, sweet smiles, thoughtful kisses, amazing hugs, peaceful happiness, incredible laughs, and undying love. It is those wonderful memories that we will hold forever in the depth our hearts and forever in the corner of our minds. Although we cry, and although we mourn.... through all of the tears and pain......WE REMEMBER!!! We find ourselves crying in silence as we remember and we also find ourselves crying in screams. Someday we may find ourselves smiling, and not understanding how we can actually smile. Then someday we may find ourselves laughing as we gasp at the thought of being able to laugh out loud knowing who is absent from that chair. So... we find ourselves crying because we actually laughed. How could we possibly laugh? But through time and tears and understanding we begin to realize that... in our laugh we hear the laugh of our loved one, and in our smile we feel the smile of our loved one. As we stare at that empty chair, and as a tear rolls down our cheek we may be surprised that those cherished memories will surface, and our tears will glisten as they wet the lips of an unexpected, grateful smile on this day of thankfulness. Beneath the sorrow an unseen, gentle spirit reminds us of all the cherished memories that will forever and ever fill that chair... that is not really empty at all.








Last Entry in Luke's Journal:

"When there is love in my heart and a smile on my face,
I need nothing else." ~ Luke Ross


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