"Abide with us; with heavenly gladness
Illumine, Lord, our darkest day;
And when we weep in pain and sadness,
Be Thou our Solace, Strength, and Stay.
Tell of Thy woe, Thy victory won,
When Thou didst pray: “Thy will be done.”
Inspired by the hymn, “Abide with Us, The Day is Waning,” Illumine, Our Darkest Day was written in memory of a little boy who passed away shortly after birth. Musically, it chronicles the mother’s journey from pregnancy through tragedy to acceptance and hope. The first melody represents excitement and euphoria as she anticipates the birth. The minor, dissonant section represents the denial and anger that come with grief. The low woodwind and brass instruments portray the mother’s conversation with God as she bargains for a different outcome, and the minor thematic material is developed as the mother deals with depression. As the melody builds, the piece changes key once again to recap the original melody – representing acceptance, hope and, finally, resolution.