Danielle's Star

“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

Daniel 12:3  

It’s been said, “the darkest nights produce the brightest stars” and as I look back over these past fifteen years, August 20, 2004 has truly proven itself to be the darkest night I have ever had to endure. Frozen in time it was almost midnight on that fateful Friday night that my wife and I stood next to our dear friends Tink and Sherrill Gould hoping against hope as we waited and then received the news that their youngest child had stepped into eternity as she passed from this life to the next. The result of a car accident she was involved in just minutes after leaving our home headed for hers, Danielle was our daughter Bree’s best friend. After spending the day together and most of the night, Danielle was heading home to make her agreed upon curfew.

I remember a quote by Victor Hugo who wrote the book made movie, “Les Miserables” that said, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” I know that statement is true but I know as well that it was a long time before it felt as if the sun had risen again. I don’t know if you have ever lost someone you love, but if you have you know the emptiness that you feel, that sense of meaningless or lostness. Life for the longest time felt more like the lyrics from the song, “Ain’t no sunshine”… when she’s gone” as even the brightest summer days seemed dark.

Thank God for stars! It took time, a lot of time mind you, but by God’s grace and in His goodness the dark nights began to give birth to the brightest stars. Danielle’s legacy began to surface in the lives of others who had been touched by her. It wasn’t too long after Danielle left that her dad found a star that he affectionately named, “Danielle’s Star” that he could look up and see on those dark nights. I recall reading from the book of Daniel and being reminded, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). Just as Daniel declared then, fifteen years later now, Danielle Marie Gould’s life still shines bright like the stars in the heavens. God’s faithful promise to Sherrill, who pondered out loud the morning after her baby girl went to be with Jesus said, “people will forget her” knows now that just isn’t true.

Sitting with my wife at Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s “Soul 2 Soul” tour that made a stop in Bakersfield in 2017, I remember a song they sung, “Sleeping In The Stars.” When I heard it the first time I immediately thought of Danielle. The lyrics go like this,  

Sleeping In The Stars

When God calls me home
And my soul is laid to rest
That won't mean I'm gone
heaven knows
I'll love you just the same
So, don't you feel alone
You may cry a tear or two and that's okay
Just know I'll never be too far away
I'll be sleeping in the stars
Shining through the dark
Watching, smiling, singing out into silence
Everywhere you are I'll be sleeping in the stars
Some steps that we take
Leave an everlasting mark
Even death can't take away
So, if you're missing me
Just look inside your heart
And let the memories play
You may cry a tear or two and that's okay
Look up and know I'm not that far away
I'll be sleeping in the stars
Shining through… (song ends)

A beautiful song for sure! Today, I and many who knew and loved Danielle will most likely shed a tear or two missing her like crazy and wishing she were here or even better yet, wishing we were all there with her in glory. I love the picture in my minds eye as I listen to this song playing on my phone. I know I can find Danielle by looking inside my heart, allowing the memories that fill the files to play, being reminded of her everlasting mark. I have a smile on my face today as I can so easily imagine seeing her sleeping in the stars, shining through!

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed”

1 Corinthians 15:51


Michael Osthimer





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