"The Youngest Daughter"

By Adam Wheat - A Tribute to Holly, Written in Her Honor by Her Nephew

There once was a family
who went to visit the shore:
A mother and father and daughters,
of which there were four.
The youngest loved the beach
with all the fun and sun and sand,
Though she kept her flip flop covered feet firmly anchored on the land

Nearby stood a tower
filled with a winding, narrow stair
And a sign that read “Upward!
For a view beyond compare.”
Each chose to follow it
and toward the light above they climbed,
But mother, sister, then the father
soon left three girls behind.

The youngest took up the mother’s place, making yearly books
And protecting family traditions
for Wheats, Fords and Cooks.
Her family grew and dwindled in turn,
but she was ever there
To share a meal, a movie, a trip,
a dream or a prayer.

There were landings along the way
at which she’d stop a awhile
To do the things she loved
with a laugh or a soft, sweet smile.
Whether eating lunch first Tuesdays or playing cards for crowns,
coaching tennis or teaching math,
She shared life’s ups and downs.

For when, at times, the climb was hard
Without an end in sight,
She’d grab the hand of someone dear
and keep fighting the fight.
She opened up her arms and heart to those needing a friend,
Telling them to not give up
for they had not reached the end.

Finally she emerged
on to a balcony at night,
But could not see the promised view til suddenly—all was light!
Around her and before her and behind her and beside,
The light showed things she never could have dreamed of while inside.

The keeper of the light saw that she wore a troubled frown.
He asked “Is this not worth it?
Aren’t you glad you left the ground?”
“Oh yes!” She said, “It’s worth it,
every sacrifice I made
And things that once consumed me
even now begin to fade.

I just never thought I’d get here
So soon before the rest,
For I’m the youngest daughter
And should have more time, not less.
“That’s not how I see,” said the Keeper, with a patient smile.
“I judge the journey of each life by heart and not by mile.”

With fallen face, she whispered,
“I did not do much but climb.”
The keeper wrapped an arm around and said, “Child...look behind.”
There she saw, spilling through the door and stretching down the stair,
Person after person came.
There were people everywhere!

“You’ve climbed a lighthouse,” the keeper said.
“It reflects my light,
And leads those lost in darkness
from the dangers of the night.
So not just the youngest daughter,
You are a lighthouse, too.
For as you followed the light from me,
they followed my light from you.”