Light in the Dark

Light in the Dark

From Chicken Soup for Every Mom's Soul

Light in the Dark

This is a true story of a town within a larger city. Beacon Terrace is the name of the square of townhomes settled just on the edge of Springfield, Massachusetts. The square had just the right mix of young, middle and older folks, rich and poor—worldy and not. We were young, on a military stay with many others in this complex. We all made family of each other because all our families were so far away.

Overwhelming joy came to our home when our daughter, Stacey, was born on November 15, enlarging our “town family” and our own individual family. I remarked to Mother, “God has blessed me so! A wonderful daughter and son! My family is complete.”

Devastating grief followed four days later, when our five-year-old son, Peter, was killed by his school bus. “Hard” is an understatement of how difficult that time was for us. Our beloved Peter—dead. Gone.

We managed to keep going, taking care of a newborn and surviving Thanksgiving, though we were numb with shock. We went about life as best we could.

It was an evening two weeks before Christmas when Mother came to my husband and me. “Dears,” she said, “I love you both so much and wouldn’t hurt you for anything. But I must make you see something.” We, Tom and I, looked blankly at each other. We did a lot of that “blank” looking at that state. “What is it Mother? Tell us.”

“Come to the window, both of you, and tell me what you see,” Mother said.

We looked out into the darkness and then at each other. We said we saw nothing.

“That’s what I have to show you. It is Christmas week, and there is nothing to show it in the square. Everyone loves you both, and their hearts are so sad for you; they don’t want to hurt you in any way. Dears, you must, no matter how hard it is or how much it hurts, you must give these good, kind neighbors their holiday back.” We were so into our own grief we hadn’t noticed that life for the square had come to a stop.

The next day, we went out and bought a Christmas tree, decorated it, and put it right in front of the windows, to be seen by everyone in the neighborhood.

As Mother said, “Once you let life back into your home, everyone will know it’s all right to celebrate Jesus’ life in their homes.”

The next evening, it was as if a switch had been turned on. Trees and lights had gone up everywhere. Doorbells rang. Fruitcakes and cookies were passed round and round. Peter’s classmates came to see us.

Beacon Terrace surrounded us with love during a very difficult time of our lives.

Our journey back had begun.

Betsey Neary

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