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Gabrielle did not consider her prayers hypocritical but she did find them a little funny. She’d always dutifully checked the Methodist box when asked about her beliefs but even as a child religion had never been a big part of her life. She and Jenny walked to her brother’s grave and Jenny said, “’William A. Brewer, 1970 to 1991.’ Oh my lord, he was the same age as Larry, wasn’t he?”

“You mean when he died? Just about. Bill turned 21 before he was deployed.” Funny, she thought to herself, I’ve always thought of Bill as having been a wise grown-up but he was the same age as this little fawn’s husband. “I like to say some prayers and then just talk to Bill for a while. It comforts me. Do you mind?”

“Not at all. You mean like the Lord’s Prayer? I know that one.”

The two women held hands and recited the Our Father but when Gabrielle went on to intone, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end,” Jenny’s voice fell off. Taking the hint Gabrielle gave the young woman’s hands a squeeze and recited two more standard prayers silently and then went on to fill Bill in on the terrible experiences Jenny had shared with her and to ask his help in figuring out what to do.

After praying for Bill and ‘speaking’ to him she stood silently over his grave holding hands with the young woman whom she had met less than an hour earlier. Funny, she said wordlessly to her brother, it feels rather natural to hold hands with this poor girl. When she was through she again gave Jenny’s hand a squeeze and said, “Thank you, Jenny. I feel better.”

“Did Bill tell you what we should do?”

“Not yet, but his messages don’t always come through right away. Sometimes they take a little time.”