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A Candle in the Snow


Many have come to call it "follie"; I have always thought it as being the "yearning" of a "young heart" to dwell into the mysteries of love and seek for a sense of completion and, with that being the moving force, I set off to marry my good friend at the age of 19. It didn't last long! I still recall my grandfather's words when I "admitted my defeat" for the 1st time.

"Love is not to, simply, look at each other's eyes but when two sets of eyes look towards the same direction in life..."

It was at that moment when everything fell into place and I found the strength to pack my few belongings and declare "I'm moving out!" -a decision soon postponed due to an unfortunate event. That same day we learnt that my father-in-law was dying of lung cancer... It was high time I set my priorities aside.

I loved that man whom his family feared and disliked for his bad temper. To me, he was an angry little boy who, desperately seeking for attention, would, at times, cross the line! I observed him after each fight to see that he would retreat, only to hate himself for the pain he had caused.

He loved me too for seeing through him and forgiving his violent outbursts. His whole face would go red every time I hugged and kissed him only to prove how unfamiliar he was with physical contact.

During his last days, he would shift moods even more often. One day he'd be hopeful and calm, another, angry and bitter. I stayed with him, listened to him, encouraged him and then, cried with him.

Things soon took a turn for the worse preventing him from eating or even breathing until the end came to ease his pain and bring relief to the hearts of others.

It must have been a few weeks after his funeral when I woke up from a disturbing dream. I couldn't get his voice out of my mind.

"Please, I'm so hungry! Bring me something to eat!"

I called my mother-in-law asking for her guidance.

"Why bother? He's dead," but after my persistence, she switched into "customs dictate..."

Ten minutes later, I was on my way to his final resting place and battling with the early morning frost. I didn't know whether I could find his grave (having been there only once since the funeral) and since it was half an hour to sun rise I began questioning my decision.

As I entered the front gate I stopped to gaze at the most beautiful landscape that lay silent under a thick blanket of snow. And yet, it didn't look distant but rather inviting, not empty, simply awaiting stoically for those who have not yet forgotten.

I looked around in anxiety uncertain of what to do. I remembered that his grave was near the gate but where?! And then, in a single moment I caught the glimpse of a fainting light coming, as if, from under the snow.

I approached with hesitation and found myself in front of his headstone. I, then, bent over to the direction of the light to see a candle which, having burnt below the surface of the snow, had formed a small tunnel around it protecting its flame from the gentle wind.

I placed a small bowl of wheat next to the grave, lit a new candle and whispered a prayer wondering how strangely beautiful the world is.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, rhodes68, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
14 years ago (2010-04-24)
Thank you for your kind words wishcat!

I was told to take wheat as it is what they do in the northern parts of Greece for those who have starved to death because of a serious illness. It seems that wheat is associated with bread and that is considered the appropriate and first thing to offer.
wishcat (1 posts)
14 years ago (2010-03-13)
Ah, what a beautiful story... I was deeply moved by it. Indeed the world has a very strange but powerful beauty. Thanks a lot for sharing:)

By the way I'm curious... Why a bowl of wheat? And why 'customs dictate'? Which customs? And must it be some kind of grain?
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
15 years ago (2009-01-26)
Hello Jessica thank you for reading my encounter and for your wonderful comment!

Like you said, it wasn't a typical "ghost story",there were no frightening encounters and yet, it was an experience I will never be able to forget.

Sometimes "messages" reach us in a more subtle way and yet that is enough to show us that life transcends the physical realm-that there is more to our existence than simply going from birth to death...
JessicaWishon1989 (6 stories) (57 posts)
15 years ago (2009-01-25)
wow... That story wasn't a ghost story... It was pure novel writing with a beautiful light! WOW... Seriously ever thought about becoming a writer? Nothing but poetry! That's moving, encourages me to write like you! Wonderful story ❤ ❤ ❤
mesa25 (1 stories) (14 posts)
16 years ago (2008-10-16)
I totally agree...Rhodes...some people can see the meaning in words as they are meant to be seen... 😁
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-10-16)
Mesa, once again thank you for your beautiful words and thank you for going through my stories. Isn't it peculiar to feel some sort of connection to people we've never met in person? I tend to think that words can sometimes be more meaningful and honest than a "smiling face" behind the casual introductions!
mesa25 (1 stories) (14 posts)
16 years ago (2008-10-15)
Geez, I think the more I read of your stories the more I am going to respect you and I don't even know you. You have a magical way with words and tell a story unlike anyone I have ever encountered.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-14)
Thanks for your support patti;it means a lot to me. There are things you cannot easily discuss with just about anyone and this site has given me some very precious friends!
bigpatti87 (2 stories) (39 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-14)
Another fine story from you... I love to read your stories because you can read the truth behind the story and it is just so amazing and wonderful and I love you they are such wonderful stories, thank you very much.

God Bless,
BigPatti 😉
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-03-01)
Thank you Jennifer for you kind words. I have also enjoyed your stories and hope that there will be more coming 😊
Jennifer40 (20 stories) (202 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-29)
What a beautiful beautiful story! Thank you for sharing. I love the eloquence of how you wrote it as well.

-Jennifer ❤
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
SilverWolf(I love your name by the way) thanks. I surely hope that he has moved on as the earthly life for him was quite painful especially at the end. I just hope he's alright wherever he is now.

Thank you again 😊
SilverWolf77 (1 stories) (41 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
That was a sad and beautiful story. Your uncle reached out to you because you alone seemed to understand him in life. I hope the wheat satisfied him and that he was able to move on.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
Thank you for your lovely comment Kim. It is a story I have wanted to put on paper for some time now as my way of telling him that I have not forgotten.

Thank you all for giving me this chance. ❤
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
What a beautiful and touching story! Your tribute to your father-in-law, whether custom orientated or not- was absilutley amazing! How wonderful for you to see through his own pain and misery in life, so as to aid him in death!

You have a truly beautiful soul!
God Bless!
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
Thank you ChrisB for your kind comment.I'm also looking forward to your next story. Be well my friend 😊
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
I think most people can relate to that fear Autumn. The way I see it, is that from a relatively young age we are taught to " fight" in order to achieve what we want and not only that. We sometimes fight in an attempt to familiarise ourselves with the fear of what is unknown(more like a defence mechanism). And then, at some point in life, there comes another time to give up or give in as a way of accepting that nothing more can be done. How can you then so easily or casually accept a completely new reality that is imposed on you? How do you familiarise with a new order of things and learn not to fear it! But then again, it takes a courageous heart to achieve a little more wisdom. Let's hope we all have what it takes... 😊
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
Thaty was a touching story. Somone with a good heart can change everything. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
whitebuffalo (guest)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
That is so, so true Tammy.
And sometimes in admitting our mistakes and allowing others to see that we are not perfect (Goodness knows I tell my children THAT often enough 😉) we open a window to a knowledge that previously was screwed shut in ignorance.

*ignorance= lack of knowledge.
*stupidity= preferring to lack knowledge.

I put those in there for simplicity sake. The reason I used the "screw" in the analogy is that it takes some effort to dislodge a screw, but just a "tug" to release a nail.
It IS difficult. I do not have a problem in saying that I may have been wrong about something, I have a HARDER time admitting defeat. 😁
Thank you, Autumn
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-19)
😊 How could I ever wonder whether that was just what you meant! It sometimes takes a while for some lessons to be learnt but I have come to believe that difficulty as being a result of personal insecurity rather than anything else. By accepting defeat you sometimes need to accept your own mistakes. Hmmm Scooby Doo, I adored him as a child! 😆
whitebuffalo (guest)
16 years ago (2008-02-18)
😉 Just thought I would add that, yes, I DID mean to say delusional...
Just in case you were wondering. 😊
whitebuffalo (guest)
16 years ago (2008-02-18)
You know, I think he knows. I think he is very secure in the knowledge that your love for him had absolutely nothing to do with the love of his son. While the love of an equal can be delusional, friendship can be an open book.
I have a saying that I try to tell my children often, as a reminder to myself. I find it hilarious that it was on the Scooby Doo movie. "Friends don't quit..." I believe that to be true. I may not have the same ones that I had while I was in elementary school, but those that I do remember, I remember fondly.
I honestly think, just by what you have written here, that he would have a very hard time disproving your friendship. With friendship comes love. And in that love, he has to see the truth.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-18)
Thanks again Autumn! I will not lie by suggesting I wasn't a bit hesitant as to whether I should have been out there all alone but for some reason I felt he'll be watching over me. I just wish that, no matter if my marriage to his son didn't last, he knew I loved him then as I love him now. But then again, I suspect he knew that or he wouldn't be coming to my dreams. And then again, maybe he just needed reassurance... I don't know.
whitebuffalo (guest)
16 years ago (2008-02-18)
I do not think the wolves could have touched you that night, Tammy as you were doing the Great Spirits work. In giving of ourselves, we give of The Spirit.
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-18)
Mustang,Frawin and Totoscarebear I'm very moved by your comments! Thank you very much! I never saw what I did that night as something special as I was even mocked by a few for nearly being "supper" to wolves and actually ended up feeling bad about informing them about the dream. But up to this day, I can still hear the sorrow in his voice and it's overwhelming! I suppose I would,too,wish for someone to hear my plea for help in a time of need and I know that unless you give, you won't receive.
Thank you again
Tammy ❤
FRAWIN (guest)
16 years ago (2008-02-17)
Hello Rhodes, Sometimes the spirit needs to be fed the same way a body does. It takes a special kind of person with the ability to do both. Bless You 😊.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us. Take Care.

totoscarebear (2 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-17)
😭 this was really touching. Injoyed reading. Mah daughter and I were simply almost in tears. Thinks for shareing. ❤
mustang (5 stories) (749 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-17)
Hi rhodes68. I really loved your story. It is touching. The love and understanding you gave to your father-in-law. He loved you and he loved the fact that you understood him and saw him like no one else did or could. I don't know many people who would go out in the snow and in the dark to take food to a grave. Thank you for sharing your story.

rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
16 years ago (2008-02-17)
Thank you Autumn for your comment on my story.Yes,what you've said is very true and only comes to prove that no matter what our color or cultural background is, we are still defined by the same forces:our need to love and be loved as parts of a larger whole, in search of a sense of connection with it.Maybe,we are not SO different, after all!
whitebuffalo (guest)
16 years ago (2008-02-17)
Oh, Tammy.
How beautiful. You caught my attention at "customs dictate" as I was going to implore you to take some grain to his resting place if you had not. Interesting. I guess that goes to show that we may all be different in this wonderfully huge world, but some of the things that guide us are still the same.
I enjoyed the visual of the "candle in the wind" as it gave in to a peaceful feel, as I feel that his soul is now at rest.
Thank you.

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