This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guestpost: "The Colors of Grief" by Alice J. Wisler

Please Welcome Guest Blogger, Alice J. Wisler.

When the pediatrician called to tell me that my son had a small blue-celled round tumor in his neck, I was seated on my sofa, my eyes staring at the light blue floral valances and moving to the dark blue wallpaper that bordered the family room.
"Malignant," she said.

The day before Daniel had surgery to remove this growth.  The surgeon was convinced he could drain this large bloated inconvenience that had lodged under his skin in the left side of his neck. Many days before that, doctors were thinking the swelling was due to Cat Scratch Fever, sending samples from his skin to the Center of Disease Control.

No one mentioned cancer.

When I got off the phone I had to do something no mother ever likes to do.  I woke my three-year old son from his nap to take him to the hospital.

Surgeries, chemo, radiation, fevers and vomiting followed over the next eight months. The tumor shrunk; hope shone like the sun over the Carolina coast. We talked of what Daniel would look like once his hair grew back, and whether his newest sibling would be a boy or a girl.

But during Daniel's check up visit to the cancer clinic, a staff infection entered his compromised body.  Seconds after he was rushed to the ER, he coded.  And then again.  His brain didn't receive the oxygen it needed.  His body shut down.

Daniel was not going to live with us much longer; he was on his way to Heaven.

Months ago I thought having to wake a child from a much needed nap was difficult.  Telling my four-year-old son good-bye choked my insides. Burying his ashes in a tiny lamb urn the color of his newborn skin cut my core.

The journey of hope ended.  Bleakness and numbness, followed by anger, consumed my days.  I had no desire to live, but knew my two children ages six and 18 months needed me.  The baby in my womb needed me to live so that she could be born.

With a severed faith in a God who had disappointed me, I woke each day to a repeat of the day before.  There was no respite, no place I could go to get away from the loud noises in my head.

I wrote. In between changing diapers, buying boxes of tissues, and making room on my dining room table for the gifts of floral arrangements, I poured out my pain onto the pages of a journal a nurse gave me.  I wrote, hoping to find a loophole in the past weeks, a way to write my son from demise back to health, to life. 

Writing brought sanity, giving me a place to fling out all my anguish.  While it was not powerful enough to bring my child back to me, it did provide healing.

For months, I felt removed and distant from God. Now I can say that my faith has taken on a new texture, a new color.  I used to think that God would never allow a child to suffer and die, making his parents and family carry on, handicapped in a huge world. Now I know that God allows many sorrows.  Jesus promises that our paths will be rocky and yet, He tells us that we can survive the raging sea of grief because he will be with us.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 (NIV).  

"I will never leave you nor forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5 (NIV).

I like to think that these two verses are etched in my heart in a bright blue marker, the same color Daniel used to draw on his sister's wall.

About Alice J. Wisler
Alice was born in Osaka, Japan.  Her parents were Presbyterian missionaries. As a young child, Alice loved to walk down to the local stationer's store to buy notebooks, pencils and scented erasers.  In her room, she created stories.  The desire to be a published famous author has never left her.  Well, two out of three isn't bad. She's the author of Rain Song, How Sweet It Is and Hatteras Girl.

She has four children--Rachel, Daniel, Benjamin and Elizabeth.  Daniel died on 2/2/97 from cancer treatments at the age of four. Since then, Alice founded Daniel's House Publications in her son's memory.  This organization reaches out to others who have also lost a child to death. In 2000 and 2003, Alice compiled recipes and memories of children across the world to publish two memorial cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle

Visit Alice's website at:


Amazingly powerful and raw and true and poignant. Thank you for being willing to share, Alice

Thanks for reading and commenting, Joanne!


Alice, Thank you for sharing your touching story. There are no words to describe what you went through, but I'm glad that writing provided you an outlet for some of that pain. God is still holding you in his hands. It makes me thing of the Footprints poem.


Thank you for sharing, Alice. I'm so glad that your faith was renewed and strengthened as a result of your terrible loss. I lost my young cousin (aged 8) to leukemia when I was expecting my baby. My labour started on what would have been my cousin's 9th birthday. My daughter carries my cousin's name as her middle name, in remembrance of a very special little girl. There are many beautiful little angels waiting for us up there in heaven. Lots of love to you and your family.