Oliver Zane Emerson


Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

— W. S. Merwin

Prayers for the Dead

Give rest to the souls of Thy departed servants in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Many faiths include prayers for the dead as part of their teaching and the Christian faith is no exception. I’ll pass on much commentary … Continue reading Prayers for the Dead

Throwing stones at our house

“It’s hard to grieve in a town where everything that happens is God’s will.” A Complicated Kindness Writing good fiction about grief is difficult. Not only do you need a good understanding of grief, you have to know how to connect it with different characters. If a family is experiencing grief, they will face it … Continue reading Throwing stones at our house

Responding to Angry Grief

While grief manifests itself in many ways, one of the most challenging ways to respond to the grieving is when people are angry in their grief. Anger in grief is understandable — people may be angry at the injustice of the death, at the people who caused an accident that killed their loved one, and … Continue reading Responding to Angry Grief

Unquestioning Faith

My wife and I were watching an Audie Murphy western the other night. Murphy trains a group of women to be ready for an attack by Native Americans (indigenous people). (Note: In case you think this sounds like most westerns, I’ve been impressed by how many westerns actually support Native American claims and treaties — … Continue reading Unquestioning Faith

“I’ll Keep My Cancer”

This past week we passed the 10th anniversary of when Oliver was diagnosed with cancer. It started with a trip to DeVos Children’s Hospital to check low-blood levels and ended up being a four-night stay. We can home in time for the Labor Day Weekend with a four-year-old boy who had cancer. (The picture above … Continue reading “I’ll Keep My Cancer”

Read This Book!

I’m “cheating” a bit today as this post is going to send you to another post I wrote. I just published a review of Todd Billings’ new book The End of the Christian Life: How Embracing Our Mortality Frees Us to Truly Live and you can read it here on my book review blog. Billing’s teaches … Continue reading Read This Book!

Ask, Listen, Respond

Luke 18:35-43 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be … Continue reading Ask, Listen, Respond

A Gift

A gift well chosen is a form of communication. It is a reflection of listening and the act of responding. Some people have learned to listen well and instinctively know how to give. I remember our friend Tom, who only met Oliver a couple of times, describing him as a “lover of chilly days.” It … Continue reading A Gift

A Parent’s Lesson

Today I watched my daughter bring her daughter, Scout, to where her Uncle Oliver’s ashes are in the garden. Maria read to her what is written there and they looked around the beautiful garden my wife has created. It is strange to see my daughter visiting her little brother, who is no longer alive, with … Continue reading A Parent’s Lesson

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