A Lingering Look At Windows: Angel’s Light

This week’s ‘Lingering Look at Windows‘ challenge is not letting me do what I set out to do. Another day for that.  Today, this is what I need to do.

What I can’t get out of my mind is the broken body of a three-year old boy called Mikaeel Kular found dumped in woodland behind the house where he once lived in Fife, Scotland.  Some 25 miles away from his home in Edinburgh. He hadn’t been seen at nursery since Christmas and his mother has been arrested in connection with his murder.

How many children die every day, how many corrupted and destroyed?  How many times do we read such terrible stories of innocents cut down before they have had a chance to live?

Why, when we are bombarded with news of disasters, terrors and murder day after day does this little boy’s story haunt me?  I don’t know.

There is nothing I can do.  I certainly can’t presume to know the facts but it doesn’t matter.  A little boy was found alone, dead and he is gone forever.

Inverary Prison, Scotland (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Inveraray Historic Jail, Scotland
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

A few year’s ago, we took a holiday in Scotland.  It was the first time that I had visited and I was excited to do so. During our stay we visited historic Inveraray Jail which was built in 1820 at the same time as the courthouse.  By 1848 it became known as the New Prison when many improvements were carried out, making it a model prison for its day.

The Jail today is a museum and as we walked around its many corridors and rooms, including the inside of its cells, we couldn’t help but feel a little unsettled.   Indeed, the Jail is known for its ghostly sightings and phenomena.

Looking at this photo now I remember being drawn to the worn, flagstone floor of the corridor and then the way the light radiated through the window at the end of it. Especially as it was raining that day and the lamp above it was not switched on.

Now I think of the little boy as I stop for a lingering look at this window.  Jesus said ‘let the little children come to me’. From the walls of his hellish prison was this boy saved, gathered up in the arms of angels and carried into the light of salvation, of deliverance.

The light beckoned him and in an instant he turned to glance for one, last, fleeting moment at the life he was leaving behind and then, like a whisper in the wind, he was gone and peace was his reward.  Angels fly thee to thy rest.

His short, broken life has to count for something.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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46 Responses to A Lingering Look At Windows: Angel’s Light

  1. Rachel says:

    I am in Scotland! We came here today and are here just for the weekend before flying back to NZ. I love Scotland.

    I hate reading about awful things happening to children and animals. Both are so helpless and at our mercy and so I find their mistreatment particularly upsetting. I haven’t heard about the Scottish boy. Did this happen recently?

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    • Sherri says:

      Goodness Rachel, and there you are, wow, I hadn’t realised you had left York already!

      It has been on the news for about a week. The mother has just been arrested but being Scotland the hearing was in secret so don’t know any more. She told police that she put him to bed at 9pm and the next morning when she went to check on him at 7am he was gone, coat, gloves, boots and all. He was found 25 miles away behind the house where his aunt lives. The mother has 5 children in total.

      With all the tragedy that goes on every day I can’t get this out of my mind and when I wrote this post I suddenly thought of how, in my own way, I could maybe pay tribute to this little boy.

      Happy, safe travels – please keep in touch!

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  2. I haven’t heard about the Scottish boy, either, Sherri. Like Rachel, I want to know more.
    The picture is eerily beautiful, with sublime light around the window and the rubbed-smooth flagstone floor, as though shuffled by countless prisoners’ feet. Very powerful.

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    • Sherri says:

      It has been all over the news here for the last week. All we know is that the mother has been arrested in connection with his murder. I wanted to pay tribute to the little boy who was betrayed in the worst possible way. As I said to Rachel, it came to my mind to use this photograph for this post, it seemed to be just the right one. I was alone when I took the shot and who knew I would be sharing it in this way. I want that sublime light to surround the little boy. Thank you Marylin.

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  3. Steven says:

    A very claustrophobic corridor! Though I suppose that’s standard for an old prison. Thank goodness for the light coming in through the window. I wouldn’t want to be in there, in the dark…

    It never ceases to depress me what some people in this world are capable of doing to other, feeling souls, in particular, vulnerable children, robbed of their entire lives. This story is very sad and its kind is all too frequent. How people who carry out such atrocities can live with themselves, I have no idea.

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, that’s just the word to describe it, claustrophic! The entire prison felt that way and there were parts where I didn’t want to go. It was the way the light radiated out like that caught me up short to take this photo, otherwise it was very gloomy indeed. Spooky too, let me tell you! When I looked up on Google to find the date it was built, I noticed on it’s blog that there is a webcam for live ghost watching!! Oooooo…

      I know. I just can’t get it out of my head, this little boy. Of course we don’t know the full story but it doesn’t matter. So many children are damaged and hurt every day. I just wanted to write it out and I know it’s not a very uplifting or ‘merry’ post but I had to be true to what was in my heart. I just can’t bear it when a crime or suffering involves children. Thanks JG for sharing, I appreciate it very much, as always…

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  4. jennypellett says:

    Very powerful piece here Sherri – your picture and the description of Inveraray Jail ties into the recent shocking news of that little boy very well. As soon as the news broke that he was missing it felt suspicious and I’m afraid the outcome was inevitable. But what drives a mother to do something as terrible as that?

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Jenny, I felt just the same as you when I first heard. And again, like you, I question over and over again, how can any mother do that to their own child? The entire situation seems to utterly implausible and perhaps we really don’t want to know the whole, ugly truth. I had to get this post out (even if I did it by the skin of my teeth today!) and then I remembered our trip to Scotland and the Jail. BTW, a very interesting place to visit if you are ever up there. I remember being so struck by the way the light beckoned at the end of an otherwise quite spooky corridor and now it seems even more salutory.

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  5. Denise says:

    The picture reminds me of Sarah Waters’ Affinity. Not that it sounds like the description, but there is something so enclosed on that corridor.

    Of course this thinking about things from a different point of view from Mikaeel’s in one sense… yet in another, thinking about the imprisonment of this whole unfortunate family’s future, narrowed down forever to a dark tunnel, and wondering “Why?”

    Really thought provoking post.

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    • Sherri says:

      I had to Google Sarah Waters’ Affinity and now I know just what you mean.
      Yes indeed, the imprisonment of the whole family and so far-reaching. The gloom of this corridor and the surroundings seemed to me to be the epitome of little Mikaeel’s darkness yet the calling light at the other end took him out of the tunnel and away from the brokeness into his rest. I pray so.

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  6. Heyjude says:

    This story didn’t feel right from the beginning. Some times there are no words.
    Jude xx

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  7. Andy Oldham says:

    My hear breaks in two when I read stories of little one like this. Yours must have too. It is so hard to get these thoughts out of our minds and they haunt us with each one we hear about. I believe our God has a special hell for these kind of people who hurt and kill our children. All we can believe is that because they are so young, God has taken them under His wing and they will live victorious never to be hurt again. God Bless Sherri!

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Andy, it is heartbreaking. Right from the start when news of this story broke it seemed all wrong. This is what I hope and pray as I wrote this, as this little boy was so young that he was taken up and given rest and peace in heaven, never to be hurt ever again. What is so utterly shocking is that it seems that his mother either did it or was responsible in some way. Just can’t bear to think about it. But I felt compelled to write this and I thank you for your kind heart. God bless you too Andy.

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  8. I live in Edinburgh and the death of that wee boy really shocked everyone. So upsetting

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Mikey, it is heartbreaking. Yet, the amazing way your community in Edinburgh rallied with such love and support has touched and moved many who watch in despair at these events. The shock must be palpable.

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  9. Imelda says:

    I can understand how this tragic story of the boy could unsettle you. It is hard to imagine terrible things being done to children. I think the pain and tragedy is especially magnified when it is a mother like you contemplating these things.
    Your picture captures the eerie quality of the prison. How many unhappy people passed their lives here – their unhappiness hovers in this place like a fog.

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    • Sherri says:

      As a mother, yes, these crimes against small, innocent children are the most tragic and I find it so hard to comprehend, as all mothers do.

      You know Imelda, yes, and thank you for your very insightful thoughts, the unhappiness of the Jail really does hover there like a fog. A very emotive way of putting it. Looking at it again as I wrote this piece gave me the overriding sense that this little boy is now free from his prison, no longer held captive in a dark corridor, alone and frightened. He was brought out of the fog and into the light. Quite what remains for his mother and the rest of his family left behind hardly bears thinking about.

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  10. Your photo could have been taken in my current office building. I work in a renovated historical courthouse that also housed the jail in the 1900’s. Walking through the halls in the early morning hours sometimes gives me the chills.
    Oh Sherri, hearing about the three-year old child’s murder is heart breaking. Just yesterday, we had a 10 year old die from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. These horrific events are happening way too often. xo

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    • Sherri says:

      Goodness Jill, that must be something when you have to walk through those halls at such an early hour, I can just imagine the chills that you experience, I would too 🙂

      Yes, tragically we hear of these terrible crimes and something about this one knowing that the mother has been arrested makes it even more terrible doesn’t it? How awful for that 10 year old to have been so desperate to have done that.

      Oh Jill, we can become overwhelmed. I am glad that I wrote this post even though I know it is a hard read but I wanted to pay little Mikaeel tribute even though I didn’t know him in any way. Then, all we can do is live our lives in the hopes that for every bad thing that we hear about, we can in some small way do some good. That, and pray… xoxo

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  11. His life DOES count for something, Sherri, if his death opened up one heart to the light, he made a difference in his short stay on Earth. Sounds like he opened up many more than one heart.

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh thank you Bev, what a beautiful way of saying it. Yes, you are so right! The response to his death and this terrible crime, particularly in Edinburgh, has been unlike anything ever seen before there. The outpouring of support and love for him has helped their community begin to heal over this tragic loss. And yes, even just here, in this tiny corner of the world, he has opened many hearts to the light. So his life does indeed count for so very much.

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  12. bulldog says:

    Sherri, you say his mother was arrested in connection with the murder. how can this happen…? His mother !!! What a tragic happening, so young and dispatched by his own mother, this puts a damper on my whole day…. I thought mothers and sons were the closest bond in the world….

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes Bulldog. This is the terrible tragedy unfolding before our very eyes. This is why this story ripped me apart so much. As a mum I can’t even begin to comprehend this. I struggled about whether or not to post this as I knew it would bring people down but I just had to, I felt compelled to. As I wrote this post, and then this particular photo came to mind I felt that it was healing because I now have this overwhelming sense that he is safe now, in the light, out of the dark and the pain and terror. This is the only way I could get past it as he has been haunting me as I wept. Now I see only his smile…

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  13. Today we are enlightened yet at the same time overloaded with reminders of cruely and the fragility of our life. But good is there quietly working in the hearts of most people, and your writing shows your goodness and compassion. I am certain the gaol holds intense memories of tragedy and remorse – as well as pockets of forgiveness and hope as shown by the almost etherial light in your photograph.

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    • Sherri says:

      Beautifully written response, thank you so much CM for bringing your unique insight into the light of goodness, compassion and forgiveness. It is easy to forget all three when such a tragedy befalls an innocent three year old boy by the hands of his very own mother, the one person who should have loved, nurtured and cared for him as nobody else alive possibly could. The ultimate betrayal. I see little Mikaeel’s smile now, he was taken to that very light and he is free. Then life moves on relentlessly. xo

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  14. I always find something very enticing and intriguing about narrow corridors… Your writing at the end is very beautiful.

    As for the situation with Mikaeel Kular.. I will forever be baffled as to how a mother could do that to her child. It is deeply sad. Although the media rightly shared this little boy’s story, so the country could open their hearts for him, I find it sadder that the media so often (or always!) shares doom and gloom. It gives us all the wrong impression that there is no hope for humanity, that evil and corruption lurks everywhere… but that is far from the case. The world will always hold more good, more light and more hope than the media ever tells us. We need to remember that.

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    • Sherri says:

      I had to write about Mikaeel to work out in my mind that he is free now even though it is so hard to understand how any mother could do such a terrible thing to her own son. Yes, terrible things happen every day and yes, you are right that we can remember the good, the light, the hope and take hold all of that. That is what I saw in the light at the end of the corridor.
      Thank you for your very soulful and true words and reminder that it is not all doom and gloom…

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      • You speak as though you are apologising for your thoughts and reasons, and for that there is no need 🙂 Sometimes we all need to do things like that to work things out for ourselves. I’m actually in the middle of working on a post like that myself. I just need to say it, to get it off my chest, and to clarify exactly what I hold as important.

        Always light at the end of the dark and dingy corridor 🙂 A shadow cannot exist without light, which means that light will always rule over the darkness.

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        • Sherri says:

          Oh no, not at all. I was agreeing with all you said but no apologies!! I was compelled to write my post yesterday and it was very important that I did. I wanted to pay tribute to the little boy and I’m so glad that I did. Reading everyone’s comments has helped so much. Community is a wonderful place to be!
          I look forward to your next post and yes, it really is a great way to clarify what is important. The best way. Write it out.
          Have a lovely weekend Jennifer and thanks again for your lovely thoughts 🙂

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          • I’m glad it’s helped (: Community is so important.

            Just to warn you: it’s very long!! But it kind of has to be. I don’t see how I could possibly write this any shorter than I have done.

            Thank you very much 🙂 Have a good one yourself! Keep your brolly close to hand 😉

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  15. I’ve read that children are statistically at greater risk of harm from their mothers than from their fathers. I suppose what makes these tragic events so disturbing is that is it such a dark and disturbing perversion of something so beautiful: motherhood.

    Choice of photo was apropos.

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  16. mumblypeg says:

    Your post, as usual, was written with sincere compassion, love and hope. This crime, whatever the circumstances, is horrendous, but, out of even the most awful events, some glimmer of hope can emerge. The way caring, kind people have come together to support one another demonstrates that there is still a lot of good in human beings.Also there is the hope of a better place for the little boy. I feel convinced that children under a certain age go straight to Heaven into the tender care of a loving Heavenly Father. I pray that is so.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I do believe so too. I do believe that this little three year old Mikaeel is safe in heaven. What becomes of his mother and the rest of the family, his siblings, remains to be seen. I am so glad to have been able to share my heart here with so many loving, kind and compassionate people. There really is so much good in the world and I felt that the light at the end of the corridor in this photo reflected that. Thanks so much MP for sharing your insight and loving, kind thoughts here.

      Like

  17. When we heard the story of the little boy, my partner and I suspected straight away that it would be his family, which is a sad way to think, but unfortunately, it’s always the most likely explanation – we had a discussion about how murder is more likely to be committed by the ones you know and that this unfortunately means that if that isn’t the case, the family always have to go through being the first suspects. I think these stories haunt us more because they’re more personal than the thousands of children who die every day because of disease or war or poverty – I suppose they give us a name or a face or a story that we can relate to more easily and therefore remember the tragedy of any child who dies. I do think the photo is a hopeful picture – a point of light in the claustrophobia of the corridor, a point of hope that there’s something beyond.

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    • Sherri says:

      I felt the same way Andrea, sadly. How could a three year old be put to bed and then be missing by the morning with his gloves, coat and shoes missing too? Very true what you say about the family being the first suspects even when it isn’t the case. So tragic and you are right, because it seemed so personal and also the fact that it looked like the mother was responsible made it that more so.

      I felt that the light at the end of the corridor represented hope and salvation for little Mikaeel. The claustrophobia of the corridor (which to me seemed like a dark tunnel) spoke to me of his loneliness and fear but the light at the end spoke of his being taken up away from all that, into the warm, safe and embracing love so that he can now be free. This does indeed give us an eternal hope.

      Thank you so much Andrea for sharing your kind and very insightful thoughts – and your hope for this little boy.

      Like

  18. thirdhandart says:

    Beautiful capture of ethereal light Sherri. My thoughts and prayers are with little Mikaeel. Surely, his innocent, young spirit was guided by angels into the light of our Lord.

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    • Sherri says:

      Written so beautifully Theresa, and yes, thank you so much, surely little Mikaeel is safe in the arms of Jesus as the light at the end of this dark, lonely corridor beckons and then tells us so.

      Like

  19. Wow. A wonderful post and tribute to a little boy half a world away. Thank you.

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  20. Such a sad story which happens way to often. The photo really suits the story. A cold, hard short loveless existence going to the warmth, to the light.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Irene, yes, a very sad story but I just had to write this and I’m glad that I did and that this was the photo that came to mind showing his ‘hard, short loveless existence going to the warmth, to the light’. Beautifully put, thank you so much.

      Like

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