Milk Bottles

glass milk bottles


When my children were small, we lived on an army base in Germany. It was in the early sixties, a time when milk came in glass bottles. They were delivered by a milkman, who would pick up the empty bottles on his next scheduled round. One bright, sunny day, I walked into the kitchen and found my three children, Debbie, Niki, and Eddie (Michaela had not yet been born), staring up at the empty milk bottles I had washed and placed on the kitchen table. “Kids,” I said. nobody answered. “Kids,” I said again, a little louder. Still no response. Curious, I got down on my knees to see what had them so enraptured. From their vantage point, the sun coming through the window had turned the bottles into sparkling, rainbow-colored prisms. In a few minutes, the light changed, and the magical crystals turned again into milk bottles. They turned to look at me with eyes wide with wonder. We all smiled, and I had a moment of immense gratitude. We had shared a moment of wondrous magic.

And nothing had changed but the way we saw the milk bottles. I thought about that when I got a phone call from my friend who told me that the magical man whose life was changed by stars, the man I wrote about last week, died this afternoon. I am happy for him. He is well, safe, and happy. That’s the way I see him – no more cancer, no more tears. I see the night sky twinkling with another new star.

I cannot change what is. I can only change the way I see things. And thanks to three little children on a sunny day in Germany, I’ve learned to do that. Because I know that milk bottles are not just milk bottles, but are also sparkling, magical crystals. I know that there is nothing but life, and I know that Nobody’s Gone for Good.


starry night



Helen Delaney’s book, The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide is available on

The Messenger IMG_0416


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