A Father’s Story

by cindy

Sprinkled throughout this blog, one can find more than a few remembrances of loved ones who have passed away. Writing about them on, well, not exactly paper, is my way of honoring those I’ve lost and memorializing their existence. Knowing that someone someday, somewhere, is apt to read about persons with whom I had a connection means that for one brief moment, they live again.

My grandfather, my mother’s father, seemed to use writing in a similar vein. In 1923, he wrote a story about his recently passed two and a half year old daughter. Her name was Sydney Althea Starr Kirk, “Kippy” for short. Her death was tragic, as any death at that age would be.

As the circumstances were described to me by my mother, Kippy died of an infection. The child had decided, probably as impetuously as many two year olds decide things, to assist her mother, my grandmother, who had been heating water on the stove. My grandmother was preparing a bath for my mother and twin brother, both infants at the time.

Kippy tried to lift the pot of very hot water. It spilled and she was burned. Mom said that the burn was only the size of a quarter, maybe a half-dollar. This, I assume was what she was told by her own mother. But in 1923, penicillin had not been discovered and once the burn became septic, there was no treatment available.

I found the following story, typed on paper yellowed with age, in one of many boxes of detritus left by my parents. The paper will eventually disintegrate and with it, the story. Until now.

I cannot allow that to happen. I cannot allow either of these people to disappear into the dust. My grandfather bared his soul in his writing. Reading it, we get a glimpse into his heart. We can feel his faith, as well as his pain. We can see the love he felt for this child. Even in death, he brings Kippy to life once more.

Our Little Guest

We have just been called, suddenly and without warning, to surrender to the good God who gave her, our little daughter, a child with radiant health and angelic character. He has taken her to His arms, and we are stricken, desolate and bewildered by the blow. Now, within a few hours after this awful tragedy in our lives, we are trying to reconcile ourselves to the decree of Providence and to ascertain, if may be, what its message is to us, her parents.

The first born of her mother, and of a father who is no longer young, Sydney brought to us a happiness undreamed of before her coming. Now her little body is reverently laid away, and her spirit dwells in the Halls above, in the company of those glorious angels who like her, were pure in heart, and therefore shall see God.

We are groping for light and may always be groping for light on this irreparable loss, but have begun, with each other, to speak of her as our little guest. Her short but joyous baby life on earth was but a visit to the parents who loved her so well, perhaps too well, but she has gone home to the Celestial Mansions in the sky.

We have, thank God, no remorse to canker our souls. Regrets! Yes, endless, constant, eternal, but of remorse, none. She was wanted and prayed for before she came and she was wanted, loved, and cared for in her short stay. If we could be accused of any wrongness of attitude, it might be that we loved her too well, but we did not put her in place of God, regarding her rather as a risible, ever joyous and radiant evidence of His favor, for which we gave daily thanks.

He has taken our Little Guest home to His bosom, and we, his stewards and servants, are left only with the memory of her perfect life and the fervant hope of being reunited to her, when our own visit to earth is over.

It behooves us to show to Him our appreciation for His goodness in sending Sydney, and of his undoubted, though mysterious kindness in taking her to Himself again. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away–Blessed be the name of the Lord. We are richer, far, by her life with us than we could have dreamed and this sweet and golden memory will always abide with us. It has ennobled our lives and filled our souls with beauty. We are filled with a great humility and gratitude that He should have bestowed upon us the priceless favor of her short presence here. It obligates us to show this in our remaining life on earth and to help, to the limit of our understanding, in making here a Heaven, where all shall live the Christ life and prepare the way for his second coming.

Thou hast said–“a little child shall lead them.” We know what that means as we never knew before, and we are asking that Sydney lead us up to the Throne of God. Her own life here we are trying to copy. Her purity of heart, and guilelessness, her sunshine of spirit, unquestionable faith, meekness, kindness and generosity, her constant effort to help others, were to us, not only epitomes of the Beatitudes, but her ever-present inspiration, so perfect that it suffuses us with a holy glow, and our daily prayer is that that our weak mortal spirits can, even imperfectly, copy it to thy approbation.

Frank Warner Kirk

Sydney Althea Starr Kirk, “Kippy”