A few days after Maddie passed away I was driving down the main street near our home when I noticed a collection of candles and flowers on the side of the road. I had seen them before – a flurry of color that briefly flashed in the corner of my eye as I drove past – but I had never given them so much as a second’s thought.

This time was different. I stopped my car and strolled over to see it was a makeshift memorial for man who had been hit by a car in that spot a month earlier. I examined the items there – a weathered photo of the man, handwritten messages of love, burned down candles, wilted flowers – and I could feel the sorrow, grief, and shock of those who had placed them there. I was feeling those very same emotions myself, and when I got back in my car I felt ashamed that I had driven past this spot so many times without ever considering the depth of loss these candles and flowers represented.

In the years since then I have been extra sensitive to loss and sorrow. Whether in real life, reading something online, or while watching a movie, I am quick to tear up. My profound loss has changed the way I empathize with people.

Though I am changed by what happened, I haven’t forgotten the blissfully ignorant person I was before. When I come across insensitive people who say or do hurtful things, I remember that earlier version of myself and try to give these people some leeway. They aren’t bad people, I tell myself. I wasn’t; I was a good person – kind to others and caring – but blissfully ignorant nonetheless.

When I got home that night I wrote a song about those candles and flowers and my Madeline. Last year, when I recorded a few of my songs (including “You Are The One”) in a studio, this song was among them. It has a simple arrangement, just my guitar plus Heather and me harmonizing, but it means a lot to me. Listening to it today it feels like a love letter to Maddie – a message to my little girl that I will never, ever forget her – and I thought it would be nice to post it here in tribute to her during this difficult week.

Candles & Flowers by mikespohr

 Candles and Flowers

Candles and flowers on the side of the road
Candles and flowers on the side of the road
I used to drive right on by
But now they make me cry
Because I’ve got candles and flowers in my heart

Candles and flowers fill a child’s empty room
Candles and flowers for one taken too soon
I never knew what this world could do
But after all it has put me through
I have got candles and flowers in my heart

In my heart, in my heart, in heart for you

Candles and flowers to the end of my days
Candles and flowers to remember and praise
I never knew what this world could do
But after all it has put me through
I have got candles and flowers in my heart

And they’re always burning
And they’re always growing
To show my love for you

They’ll be always burning
They’ll be always growing
to show my love for you
My love for you

In my heart, in my heart, in heart for you


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