The Birthday Book {Chronicle}

This post is in loving memory of my cousin’s daughter, Haley Marie Cromer.

My mother's birthday book.

My mother’s birthday book.

Haley’s grandfather was my mother’s brother.  Haley’s mother and I are first cousins.

For as long as I have memory, my mother used The Birthday Book to record the births, birthdays, and deaths of family and dear friends.  In its pages are precious memories of many who have passed into eternity, preceding us in death.

It is also a record of celebration of many lives, some of whom were born into our family, and many who were dearer than family.

Haley Marie Cromer

Haley Marie Cromer

Haley Marie Cromer will not be forgotten.  She was just beginning to do what she loved, what she had trained for and hoped for and planned.

Haley was a loving, caring young lady whose desire to help people overrode all else.  Her desire and discipline to do things well was evident in her role each year in the Nutcracker Ballet.

Haley’s love for God was evident in her journal.

Haley made a big impact on those who knew her.  And she leaves a huge hole in many hearts.

Haley had just begun her career as an oncology nurse and was loved  by her patients and fellow nurses.

She worked so hard to reach her goals and did reach them.   

She graduated from Clemson University magna cum laude. We are indeed proud of all her accomplishments.

~Haley's mother, Cindy

Grief is hard.  Grief for a child, no matter the age, is hardest.  My grief is not for Haley, but for her parents and loved ones who are dealing with their loss.

Grief can bind together or it can tear apart.  Grief can open the heart, or it can close it.  Grief can open one up to God, or turn one away from Him.

Grief comes in ‘glumps’.

My college friend lost her husband of almost three decades to cancer in July, only months after he was diagnosed.  I prayed God would spare Jay until his girls were grown and married.  God chose to take him.  Both girls will be wed in 2015.

My cyber friend lost her father-in-law after rearranging their lives for him to live with her young family.

My college friend lost two aunts, the second one close after the first.  They were like a mother to her, whose mother has been absent by choice.  There’s more to this one, rather complicated.

My friend’s niece, the mother of four young children, has inoperable cancer.

A 94yo man from the church I grew up in passed away.  My missionary friend’s 90-something yo father passed away.  My co-worker cared for her father-in-law as he was dying.

In four months, all that.  And the call that my mother, who is still living, was near her end on September 27th, the same day my cousin emailed me of Haley’s death.

Grief is hard on anniversaries.

The anniversary of my father’s death on October 1, and the prayer that my mother wouldn’t pass on that day.

So much loss.  So much grief.

So much for which to trust God.  So much for which to thank God.

So many opportunities to love those who hurt.

Haley’s death adds one more anniversary date for her mom to remember:


September 20th  Mother’s birthday

September 22nd Parent’s anniversary

September 23rd  Haley’s death (daughter)

October 7th Haley’s birthday

October 12th  Father’s death

November 6th Mother’s death

We will not forget Haley.  She, and others, will remind us to love one another.

Grief can paralyze.  Grief can be a catalyst.  Grief starts campaigns to help others.

Pray for those who grieve.  Pray for each other.  Pray for those whose hope is not in God.

May the words of this hymn speak to your heart:

Neither life nor death can ever from the Lord His children sever; unto them His grace He showeth and their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh, God His children ne’er forsaketh; His the loving purpose solely to preserve them pure and holy.

Selected verses of the Swedish hymn Children of the Heavenly Father by Lina Sandell.

What helped you deal with grief?  How have you helped others deal with grief?

Remember those who are gone before.  Love those who are still here.

Thanks, Mom, for keeping all of these treasures in your book.

The Birthday Book {Chronicle}


7 thoughts on “The Birthday Book {Chronicle}

  1. Cindy says:

    Beautifully written and photographed, thank you Joyce. Aunt Marion was always so good about documentation. Before she got sick, she sent me a small photo album full of pictures of my father in his younger days, complete with dates and places. I’ll always treasure it.


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