on a quiet winter walk through the arboretum today, i was thinking about grace mcdonnell, age 7, a little girl i never met. grace died friday at her elementary school in connecticut.

the names of twenty-six others who perished with grace that day were printed in the news this morning, but hers imprinted itself upon my heart. perhaps because i’ve often thought that if i have a daughter someday, one name i love is grace.

as i walked through the big trees my red umbrella caught the soft rain, and i wondered what little grace mcdonnell had been like. did she smile a lot? what was her favorite song? was she spirited, shy, creative, friendly, vibrant, quiet, all of the above? who were her playmates? what did it sound like when she laughed? what did she want to be when she grew up? was pink her favorite color?

tears began to well up as i thought about what a beautiful girl she no doubt was, and how devastated her family must be.

through wet rain and blurry eyes, i noticed a small pink flower glowing in the midst of winter. to me, it felt like spirit, reminding me that love never goes away even when we die. it remains – in fact, it's all there is. it was right there in the pink flower. i took out my iphone to take a picture and as i walked on, i began to notice all kinds of different pink flowers in the december woods. hydrangeas. azaleas. viburnums. fuchsias. soft, brilliant reminders that grace is everywhere.

i have decided not to remember the name of the person who killed her, but grace mcdonnell will be a name i remember for a long, long time. may her spirit continue to light the world with love, like little pink flowers in the winter woods.