The words that were left behind ~ Words Matter

words matterBug sits on the porch, head in her hands, staring at the ground.

“‘Unter . . .’Opper . . .”

I hear her say quietly with the same sing songy lilt I used to call the dogs when we first moved out here.

“‘Unter . . .’Opper . . .”

The words used to fill this house.

“‘Unter . . . ‘Opper . . .”

They were some of Mattias’ first words. Before baba, before nani, before puppy and chickie chickie.

Because day after day he sat on my hip as I stepped out on that porch and called, with a sing songy lilt to my voice,

“Hunter . . . Copper . . .”

And the dogs would come running.

It was the lilt I recognized when he first tried to call the dogs and gradually his speech became clear enough to understand their names.

“‘Unter . . . ‘Opper.”

But now Copper is buried at the end of the lilac hedge and Mattias is buried on the opposite corner of this square mile plot in the gridwork of country roads. They, too, have been called home.

“‘Unter . . . ‘Opper . . .”

There is so much in those little words. So full of what life was back then, and so full of the promise of what we thought life would be. The house, the land, the animals and a baby on my hip learning by seeing.

But now Bug sits on the porch, head in her hands, staring at the ground and calling out softly, to no one in particular,

“‘Unter . . . ‘Opper . . .”

And I sit down with a baby in my lap to join her.

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Many years ago now, I would hear Alex say, “Faa No Wah . . . Faa No Wah” and I had no idea what that was. Shortly after her death I heard some children in the nursery at church (when we still went to a segregated church) singing “Father Noah, Father Noah was a famous man . . .”

It clicked, and I fell apart.

Alex head it from her bible songs tape, but never sang with it, but rather at other times.

Inhale . . . exhale . . .


Your son is on your property? How great that must be–to be so close to him.Our 18 week pre-born baby is in a cemetery area made just for babies like him. I wish we could have put him on our land with our other babies that I buried(very early miscarriages).
Take care and sending lots of hugs.


He’s not on our property, Christina. But all the land out here is divided into one mile squares and he is on the opposite corner.

Oh, Q, that must have been so hard. Mattias always liked the actions to songs, but never sang much.

And we’ve never done much baby talk, but now no one ever says chicken. It’s always chickie chickie. Everyone eats nanis. My sone likes vroom vrooms.

Susan Evans

What sweet words from a small child. It makes me grateful for what I have.

Tami Lewis

oh Dana- i think of you so often. my heart grieves for you so much. i wish i knew what to say but i just don’t. hang onto those precious memories.

Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight

Your words always point me toward gratitude. I need the truth God speaks into my life thru you, Dana.
Thank you –


your blog breaks my heart. I came looking for a lilac jelly recipe and found love and sorrow and faith.

I love that you don’t ‘forget’ your little Tiggy. My mother died when I was 10 and the worst part was the nobody ever talked about her after that…it was like she never existed.

I have no wise words but just want to tell you how i am moved.

Thank you, suzy. I hope you found the recipe? If not, I can direct you to the recipe. I am so sorry about your mother. It sounds like that was common many years ago, to not speak of the deceased, often for the sake of the children. As if somehow avoiding it would lessen their pain. I don’t know, but many have shared similar stories and it breaks my heart to think of growing up thinking that talking about a loved one was forbidden. But then again, I feel for the parents, too, who I’m sure had as little idea… Read more »

dana, i did indeed find the recipe and have made two batches. The jelly will be a wonderful addition to a summer gift basket that I’m taking to my dmil as a hostess gift. Thank you.

Kara at The Chuppies

Those happy-sad moments…when a little particular moment floods back.
This one broke my heart Dana…eyes filled.
I know those little memory-gifts are a treasure…but there is a cracking-choking-ache that I feel for you when I read these words.

Still reading via email and here and there visiting older linked posts like this one. And with tears, of course. I’ve always hated correcting baby words… I’m sure they won’t go to college calling it Sketti or ba-sketti, you know? 🙂 Let ’em call it their own word in their own way so I have one more thing to laugh about and hold onto tightly as time goes on and life just changes too much… But, I’m still heartbroken for you. Love reading about your memories. But I wish there was no reason to share them except that he did… Read more »