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Shane's Gate

"Lady, oh Lady.  Why do you cry?"
A little boy asked, sitting down by my side.
"The flowers are blooming, the birds joyful sing,
Sunshine is kissing all of God's things.
And I think you have chosen the best place to wait,
Here, on the grass, at the foot of Shane's Gate."

He frowned while exploring my tear-ravaged face,
Confused by my grief in this beautiful place.
"I cry for the loss of my friend," I replied.
"Taken so fast I could not say good-bye.
I yearn every day for the warmth of his smile,
For the sound of his voice, for the Life of this child.
Instead all I have, is here, where I wait…
Cold turquoise wire we now call Shane's Gate."

I covered my eyes, not wanting to see.
Blind to this child admonishing me.

"Oh, no, you are wrong," the little boy said.
"This gate's about life; not about being dead.
Feel with your heart, and cherish the gift,
The Life that was Shane, although fleeting and swift.
Count up your memories of Shane while you wait,
Then count them again as you sit at Shane's Gate."

"Remember his love for burritos and play.
The backpack he used to bring lunch every day.
Showing his muscles and running around,
Hanging from trees before dropping down.
Triscuits, bananas and "nilla" bars,
Sticks and music and Volkswagen cars.
(Often he'd turn to a friend and say:
"I'm getting a Vokswagen bus someday.")"

Wise and gentle for such tender years.
He lived his life believing all was dear.
Nothing was ever broken to Shane;
Nothing was bad or ever to blame.
A small piece of paper, tattered and worn,
Was treasure to Shane although it was torn.

And though he was challenged and frail from his fight,
Not for a moment did he stop spreading light.
"I'm a tough guy, right, Nami*?" he'd say.
Or "I'm bigger, right, Sim*?  I'm real big today."

His laughter, his smile, his mischevious eyes…
Yes, dear Lady, I know why you cry.

But cry for the joy of the gift of him,
And not because he is gone.
For as long as he stays alive in your heart
The Spirit of Shane lives on.

"Know that I run among moon beams and stars,
And soar with the angels wherever we are.
Hear laughter, feel gladness, know peace next you wait,
Here on the grass, at the foot of My Gate."

Raising my head, I opened my eyes
And found not a child to be at my side.
Yet swear that I felt a sweet, gentle caress,
As I heard these words said in a child's breath
Barely a whisper, so soft yet so clear
I knew at that moment he'd always be here.
I looked towards the heavens, the sun on my face
As I sat on the grass at the foot of Shane's gate.
Though the whispers grew quiet I continued to stay
Content and at peace while Shane went to play.

*Shane's pre-school teachers.

NOTES:  I wrote this for a little boy who touched many lives, including mine, and left us way too early.  The pre-school he attended had two separate areas, one for the infant and toddlers and one for the "big" kids, up to the age of about five.  The areas were separated by a gate, a gate which Shane would race to daily so that he could be the "big guy" that had the privilege of swinging it open. He loved this gate and claimed it as his.  Shane introduced himself to me by demanding a "nilla" bar.  I had no idea who he was or what a "nilla" bar was.  But that was okay because Shane was happy to educate.  (A "nilla" bar was short for granola bars and I always made sure to have some for him in my bag from that day forward).  Shane was truly the biggest, bravest guy I've ever met.  He holds a very special place in my heart, as he does in the hearts of anyone who ever knew him.  Through this poem I hope to have shared a little bit of my experience with this unbelievably, exceptional child.

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