Tiny Dancing Angel
My Tiny Dancer visited me today. I never know when she will appear, but I always get a sign. That sign is “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John. On a bright November day in 1986, I took one of the worst rides of my life. My husband and I drove to the cemetery to bury our daughter, Alexa. Alexa died three days earlier at the age of seven and a half from brain cancer. The ride was quiet, muted, but we had the radio on. Somehow, my broken heart tuned in as I heard the melody of “Tiny Dancer” pulling me away from the gut-wrenching present. It is a song I’ve always loved, perhaps best the line, “Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer. . . . ” I would have given anything at that moment to hold my Tiny Dancer one more time. As the song faded, I said, “I will always think of Alexa when I hear this song for the rest of my life.”
The song resonated all the more because six months earlier, Lexie had danced in her first and only recital, which brought us so much joy and light in the face of a darkening illness.
It has been almost thirty years since the meaning of that song forever changed for me. Since that time, it has been a message from my angel. It comes when I’m sad, when I’m scared, when I’m facing a challenge. And it stops me, always, and makes me consider just what it means, and what my next moves, my next life decisions will be. The song always moves me toward my best self, the self that would make an angel proud.
I have faced a conflict over the last few days. It’s a serious one, and like most serious conflicts, it involves people I love. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve shared my feelings and concerns with only a few people because it’s a private matter, and I keep such things close to my heart.
Nonetheless, I have been fraught with emotion, yet I also know that the best thing for me to do is sit with those emotions and not act on them, to continue to pray and to ponder.
I don’t often listen to the radio, but when I do, I prefer NPR. It is a rare weekday that I listen to the radio. Today was that day. While scrubbing walls in preparation for painting, I listened to the radio. I didn’t listen to NPR because I wanted something livelier—music. Not long after I tuned in, as I scrubbed and rinsed, the familiar opening notes of “Tiny Dancer” meant I put the cleaning cloth down and listened, not only with my ears but also with my heart.
I shared the song with someone I love while it played. I know the message is one of love. I know the message is one of reconciliation. I know the song was for me, just as I know I am typing on an iMac. It’s that clear. No one could ever convince me that my angel Alexa wasn’t here with me today, telling me to love, telling me that’s my only choice in this situation.
I don’t know how many people have a conduit to their angel. I don’t know how many people even are aware of such gifts. I hope they are. When I pray today, it also is my prayer that those of us who have suffered deep loss also have their own “Tiny Dancing Angel” who reminds them to stop, listen, and continue to love.