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Stephanie's Song

I sometimes wonder if memory is a blessing or a curse sent by vindictive gods.

I am reading the local newspaper and staring at a picture of a smiling high school senior. The picture was taken over a year ago; before Stephanie headed off to college and decided to join a fraternity that helps feed the world's poor and hungry. A time before Stephanie decided to exchange a winter break in Florida for a soup kitchen in Haiti. A time before the earth would crack open and crumble her Third World hotel.

It has been 11 days since Stephanie was last seen by classmates. The scent of the dead and the dying foul the moist Caribbean air and the words miracle and hope begin to slip away.

The photograph in front of me was taken for the Somers High School yearbook and it captures Stephanie's beauty and optimism; a precious moment frozen in time when a young lady was shedding her teenage years and no longer resembled the young girl I watched play in her backyard pool.

I think about Stephanie's parents, Lynn and Lenny, and her brothers Michael and Nicholas; they no longer need a vision of hell. And I think about what I should say to this close and lovely family.

I do not know what to say; I simply do not know what to say.

Do any of my colleagues know a good prayer for the dead and the dying?

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