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In Remembrance of Ron McDaniel

1949 - 2007

Whenever I feel compassion for another survivor, whenever I reach out to try and comfort someone else, I do it as an extension of the love my husband and I shared. The years spent watching him interact with the world gave me patience, calmness, and strength. Caring for people and even animals came naturally to him. There were so many moments that expressed the depths of his heart in just a blink of time.

We raised our children on an oasis of peace in the country that he created to keep us safe. He loved walking among the trees and working in the garden. In the evenings, we would sit on the porch and sing or talk together until the stars came out just so we could look at them. One day, we found the tiny pups our dog had hidden under the barn, their eyes and ears still sealed. Carefully, he lifted them up, one at a time, and held them close. Before gently returning each to the watchful mother, he placed it close to his ear in a moment of communion. When the last one was safely tucked away, he turned and looked up at me and smiled. "They each say something different," he said.

He helped a lot of people during his life, most of all me. He always wanted me to be happy, and I was. Because of his influence, which is still strong in my life, I am not alone. In building a new life based on compassion and respect for a pain-filled world, I honor his memory and make him part of my days.

That kind of love is worth the pain. That kind of love never dies. The memories I have of Ron, thousands upon thousands of them, bring me joy.

In the sea of grief, there were islands of grace, moments in time when one could remember what was left rather than all that had been lost.

- Kristin Hannah, Night Road