Helping Those Who Grieve

There has been a tragedy in the past few days in the small community where I live that involves two young boys. The details of their deaths is not important because there is nothing we can do, but because of how people are, that is what they will focus on. They will, for a while, focus on the parents, watching them from a distance. They will send money, cards, food, prayers, thoughts. Some will be brave enough to hug them, allow them to weep in their arms, wiping snotty tears on their shoulder. This attention will last for a painfully short time. The same friends who went to the visitation will see them months later in the grocery store or maybe even at church and will not know what to say. The friends may even skirt down another aisle to avoid them. The well-meaning neighbors and friends don’t like to feel uncomfortable and they don’t want to see any more tears. They will say that they “don’t want to make the parent feel sad.” The parents are always going to feel sad. Where can they go where the daily, hourly, minute-by-minute reminders are not present?

The parents of the deceased have no where to go. They are drowning in grief that will, because of their own particular circumstances, be unique to their situation. And even those of us who have lost a child cannot comprehend exactly what those parents are experiencing. Living in a small town they are in a fish bowl.

Every card, call and extension of kindness will be appreciated, but nothing is going to fix this.The days will pass. The pain will soften, but there is no guarantee how long that will take. The weight of the grief will lighten now and then. It will be hard if not impossible to sleep. It will make them question their faith, especially when well-meaning people say things that are meant to be soothing yet add to the pain. They will blame themselves. While trying to distract themselves they will notice scenes in TV shows and movies that they never paid attention to before that now serve as a painful reminder.

There are things that they were doing the day the tragedy happened that they might purposely avoid doing again. They might put the clothes away that they wore that day, and never wear them again. They will wonder what to pray because all the prayers they had uttered before, thanking God for their children, now seem to have been negated.

And I am speaking only for myself really. There are a hundred other things that the parents who have lost children could include here. There is no guide book or how-to guide. It is horrific and unfair.

The path of the grieving parent is one I wish no parent would have to take. Those who have lost children to covid, regardless of their age, I am so sorry. I honor you and your love.

Those who have lost children to violence, accidents, cancer and all other brutal causes. I am so sorry, I honor your love.

To those in Ukraine and Russia whose beautiful young people are dying in war, I ache when I see your faces. I am so sorry and I honor your love.

For those of us who have lost a child, we feel a blow when we hear of or see that another child has died. It reawakens our own grief and sometimes without meaning to, we relive our own days of shock and deep depression.

If you know the parents of the boys, now gone, here is my suggestion; save some of your energy for later. Six months from now, they are going to need you. Muster up your courage (because it will take it) to sit with them, walk with them, talk with them. Allow them to talk. Do not be afraid to mention their children by name. Share good memories. It will bring tears but tears don’t hurt anyone. Listen to them even if it means hearing them repeat the same thing over and over. When you have given them some time, you are free to leave the grief behind. It is not a part of your everyday life as it is theirs.

They are not going to remember who brought the coconut cake that ended up spoiling because they could not eat anything. I understand that you are grieving too. It is different for you though. And thank you for the cards, the thoughts the prayers on their behalf. I have a big box of cards collecting dust that sits in a room with some of the things I saved from my son. I read them when they came in, but I have never read them since.

But every night before I go to sleep I think of him and every morning I wish I could talk to him. The feelings pass more quickly. I get on with my day. The world started wearing masks in 2020. I have worn one for more than ten years.

I wish I could say that in six months the parents will be “better”. It will be at about six months that the initial shock will wear off and a deeper, heavier grief will set in. If you can bear to be with them then please give them consideration, time and continue, if you are a praying person, pray. Pray for their strength and pray for clarity.

I do not believe that God allows such tragedies to happen so that he can have another angel. It that is true, why did he allow us such a short time with someone he did not intend for us to keep? It seems so cruel. Death comes to all. I do believe he gathers us back to himself. And I picture him weeping with us in our loss, even at the moment of the death, because if he knows all, he knows of our mutual love. I hope one day he gathers us all into his everlasting arms.

I am so sorry for the loss of the two boys, the loss to their family and for this community. I honor the love and devotion their family had to one another. I hope if you are their personal friend that you have the strength to let them lean on you in the days ahead.

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Walking with Sorrow

IMG_0161  The Sycamore

I went to art camp last week.  Its a long story to explain art camp and if you ask me I will try to tell you about it, but what I want to tell you about is safe people.

One of the ladies at camp has had a heart transplant.  I told her my son had been a donor when she told me of her transplant.   I don’t remember her reaction to my news.  Had it been helpful I probably would have remembered.  Now she has lung cancer.   I am so sorry she has lung cancer – stage IV.   It is not going to end well.  I know she is very frightened.   She decided to give a testimonial one morning at breakfast – the first morning we were there.   She wanted to credit God with all her past healing  and something broke inside me.  I could not sit there and listen.   I got up and left the dining hall.   A good friend followed me out.   She is a safe person.

This friend has plenty of health problems of her own – both she and her husband who is newly diagnosed with bone cancer.   Yet she came and sat with me, allowed me talk, allowed me to cry.   I recounted the time in the hospital, signing papers to allow our son to be a donor.  Our son was on life support in his room ; we were in a small windowless room signing papers while in a state of shock.   It is a hard memory.   We have heard from only a few of the recipients that benefited from his gifts.   I know they all will die one day too.  It would have been nice to hear from more.

The painting I posted here I had done the first evening I arrived.  My friend loved it and suggested we write a story about it.   She suggested some prompts for the story.  I wrote it later that evening.   She now owns the painting and the story but I don’t think she will mind me sharing it here, for what it is worth.  I wish for healing for all.



The intentions had been good. She was sure of that. But for some reason rather than being able to focus on the good , she felt an old throbbing from a pain she thought had been softened. Sorrow intruded at unexpected moments. Sorrow took away the keys and drove away with her joy.

“I’m going to take a walk, ” she announced, donning her jacket, her hiking boots. “I’ve got my phone,” she called after herself.

The path so familiar wound out before her. She made little sound, the trail a cushion of leaves and needles. The air was cool, fresh from a rain. A breeze like a sigh brushed her hair back as softly as a mother’s hand. The thought made tears sting at the corners of her eyes. Trying to resist made them hurt more.

Her friend was right, no one wants to try and imagine her grief. The mind in survival mode runs in horror. She really did not think it the worst pain possible. It was simply one form of pain and since it was linked inextricably with a person she loved she had worked hard to accept its presence.

Yet somehow, coupled with a few other stressors something had tipped. So she had decided she would walk it off.

She had been so deep in her thoughts that she had the sudden dizzying moment when she, looking up, realized she was further in than she had intended to walk. The trail now unfamiliar though the stream still rambled by her side. She slowed and focused on the trail. “Focus” she thought. It really was a matter of focus. What did she really want to pay attention to in this moment.

The breeze gained strength pushing her from behind urging her forward. She felt for her phone. Two bars shown from the screen. Just a little farther.

The trail curved to the right, the air warmed like a breath exhaled and the scene opened before her. The stream relaxed against its banks unhurried, flashing in the rising sun that slanted through the trees. It felt warm on her face. A sycamore reached towards her gnarled fingers of branches raised to heaven, reached to earth. The bark on the tree peeling away leaving pale flesh forming a dappled pattern abstracting in a camouflage of grays and greens.

“A tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season”, she thought. A Psalm reciting itself in her weary brain.

She watched as the sun crept up the tree’s flanks and felt the anger and frustration bake away. There were things she might have said earlier. Things she would try to explain gently if asked but it was time to head back, to retrace her steps.
It was time to take the hand of sorrow and walk with it.



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You died trying. . .

Dear Son,

I am working on myself.   It is something I have done in fits and starts, but for some reason as I approach a significant birthday something has shifted.  It feels tectonic.

I have thought about what your reaction to the current political and world situation would be if you were here to voice your opinion.    I wish you could voice it without having to experience what we are witnessing.

The world I envisioned for you and your sister  was one that would be a better, more hopeful place -but it is not and seems to be becoming more malignant by the day.   The damage we have done to the environment – things I have been responsible and complicit to  as an inhabitant of this planet shame me. The extinction of the animals that we have caused, the island of plastic as big as a small nation floating in the Pacific, the melting of glacial ice at an alarming rate, the erratic and dangerous weather patterns are only part of the crisis.

Our governments are being led by men who are tyrants “whose god is their belly”. Their appetite for money and power is insatiable.

We are in many ways already the storyline for an apocalyptic novel, except it is the world and it is happening now.   The violence, hatred, misogyny, prejudice, lack of humanity and objectification that is exemplified by our own leadership and the leadership of other nations is heartbreaking along with the horrific damage that is being done.

But I refuse to give up.  I refuse to give up because of your sister and other young people who still have a life to live.   I refuse to give up because I never ever saw you give up.  Never.  It is difficult to admit because it seems like a trite and hollow truism but the fact is. the reason you are no longer here. is because you died trying.

You died trying.

With whatever I have left – when it is over, I will have died trying.  I will speak up to anyone who will listen.  I will advocate.  I will engage.

I apologize to you and your sister for the damage I have done to this world.   I appreciate your ability to enjoy as long as you did.

I miss you every day.   I can’t begin to put the weight on that statement that it deserves.  I honor your contribution to my life.

I am for as long as I last

Forever, Mom


Posted in Coping with the Death of a Child | 2 Comments

That time of year

IMG_4530Grief has layers like an onion and quite frankly some stink more than others.   Death and life are all around me each vying for my attention.

Recently a friend has suffered the death of her husband.  He was my friend too, but I was not as close with him.  Beloved in his community , touching the lives of so many, he is going to be sorely missed.   The death was sudden and unexpected and I have to say I can’t identify with her loss except for the abrupt nature of the loss.   I have not lost a spouse.

My son life touched lives.  He is remembered, but humans are only able to remember so much for so long.  Those of us who now have grief as a member of our household can’t escape its presence.   Those who remember our loved ones do so intermittently and we learn to pardon them because if we could choose we might let more go ourselves.

The layer of the onion I have worked my way into is that of recognizing my friends grief and being powerless.  My advice for her is only my own findings. I am willing to  help, I only have advice about coping skills that might help , but maybe not.  I can’t change her situation any more than I can mine.   That is the problem.

Her husband was relatively young as is she.   They had no children.   She is a cheerful upbeat person – so people will expect a lot from her.  I hope she learns quickly that there is only so long you can wear the mask.   You folks who house grief know what I am talking about and I know you know  how exhausting it is to wear that “I’m alright” mask.

The Christian world is turning towards Advent and welcoming again the birth of a child who came to bring peace and the seal of salvation.   God allows death.He did not forbid it for the one He called His own son.   I struggle every year.  No I take that back, I struggle every day with the things I hear said by people who say they believe in this god.

I don’t think men have gotten much right about Him.   So if He is indeed willing to forgive me then I assume He forgives others for the crazy things they say and attribute to Him.    My son died.  My friend’s husband died and I don’t understand.   Every human’s passing scratches at the scar tissue and the scabs that still exist on my heart.  I don’t know why good people have to die.

I don’t believe it was my son’s time or my friend’s husbands time.  I do believe that accidents happen and that our fragile genetics predispose us to all sorts of ailments that can, in the right situation cause fatal problems.     That at least explains my son’s death and my friend’s husband’s death.   Could God have created a world without death?  We are told he has that waiting for us after our earthly bodies death.  I hope this is true.  I really do.  But sometimes it is hard to wrap my mind around because larger for me is the fact  I really miss my son and I know my friend will always miss her husband.

It is that time a year again.  It feels like we were just talking about all this just yesterday.  Actually I think we were.

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IMG_6848Tomorrow is June the 2nd. It makes one month from the 7th anniversary date of my son’s death.    I had all intentions of avoiding the cycle I have seen myself enter each year around this time.   Now at year seven, I am accepting that resisting is futile.


I continue to have random grief attacks.  I saw a tall young man with his family out and about the other day and cried all the way home.  It is not the kind of weeping that requires me to pull over but it makes me slow down.  I keep boxes of tissues in the car anyway but mainly because of this.


There is that feeling too that comes which I can only describe as wanting to burst and not with joy.  I find myself inhaling and not able to exhale.  I tense up and hold  my breath for some reason until somehow my body’s functions forces me to exhale.


I shake my head “no” a lot.  I address  the empty room or the horizon or the beautiful Spring plants.  I feel like I am telling them, no, I won’t give in right now.  Don’t look at me that way, I have things to do.    If I give in I may not be able to climb back out.


Yet, I do climb out.    Not always able to be jovial or cordial even, but out, and doing the things that “have to be done.”    I shake my head, no, at them too.


I don’t think the grief weighs less, I have just gotten accustomed to the weight.     The sharp edge of yearning never dulls.    It never dulls.   Maybe that is part of that feeling like I am going to burst.


I have perfected the self talk for almost all occasions.  I say almost all because those occasions still occur that dismantle all my efforts very quickly.    Yet even those occasions give me the excuse to unleash a little of the tamped down anger I still harbor, so those times are not without use.


Death.  I’ve known about it from such a young age.  Perhaps there are cultures who don’t dread it, or fear it, but that is not a part of the culture I grew up in.  I don’t  know what to do with it anymore.


I have been able to separate it from those who are with me now in this life.  I think my son would be annoyed if I allowed the times I have with his sister or his dad to be diminished and not enjoyed to the best of my ability.  There were times when I could not avoid it but I try to be in the moment when I am with them and savor everything about the time with them.


Lots of broken things continue to function on some level.    Some days I am better at functioning than others.


He will always be my son.  I will always be his mother, living or dead that is what we are. The time I give him now, in my grief is not wasted.  Were he still here I would be giving him all the time he asked for.   I can’t say no concerning my time to my children.   He is not claiming more than he deserves, or more than he is worth and it is not wasted, it is not wasted because even in that grief there is love.   Love is truly that energy that can never be created nor destroyed – only transferred.


I whisper it to the air every day.  I wake with it and go to sleep with it amid all those thoughts and hopes for those I love.


Miss you so much sweetheart.   Love you forever.


Posted in Coping with the Death of a Child, Death | 4 Comments

Times like these


Sometimes I forget important things. I forget little things very frequently. Where I laid my phone, or my watch. I find things I value in unexpected places and then I am consumed with trying to figure out why I thought at the time that was good place to put them.

Sometimes I am so busy with something like my artwork that for a short time I forget everything. Perhaps it is not so much forgetting as “not thinking about” certain things. I don’t think about my husband or daughter or my son.

One type of thinking about all of them is through memory of times past and comparing them to the present. My son is totally in memory. There are times I attempt to project what things would be like with him in the present were he still here but that usually leads to hours of tears. So sometimes I stop myself when I am tempted to do that – it takes up what little time I have.

I think about how things used to be. Or a photo shows me a scene and I try to patch together every memory I have about it. Some times the memories are like a scene in a movie where the camera rushes in close up. I imagine my pupils dilate becoming like dark wells with every thought spilling down into me. There are times when I come across a photo that I put it aside deliberately because I know the gravitational pull it will have on my emotions.

I understand that my emotions are not who I am. They are an expression, a chemical reaction at times and anything from a smell or a sound, a refrain of music or the appearance of a bird silhouette against a cobalt blue sky can evoke an emotion. At times I have the presence of mind to hold them at arm’s length and regard them in context. Sometimes I just give in to them, pile them up on the bed with the curtains closed and wallow in them or allow them to drip onto the book I am reading, the painting on the easel.

The evidence of the passing of time with the traces on my face and hair, the backs of my hands cannot be overlooked. I feel it in my body’s joints. My son is never going to grow old which is something not only I but the world should regret.

He (as I know so many others who have passed too soon) had so much to contribute to a world who could have used a mind like his. I find this to be the most difficult thing to get past when I think of him. I understand that everyone is of value and I as most parents have wondered why I could not exchange places with him. Then I think of my daughter and when she was so ill and could not take her place in treatment either. It was not possible.

It is hard to accept what is yours sometimes; the courage to live out your life anyway. The ability to recognize your talents for what they are – tools to be used in any way you see fit – whether just for yourself or for others and accepting the consequences. And I really hate consequences.
Yet this life is the life I have. If Stephen Hawking is correct and there are other mes and others of my son in parallel universes it does me no good here speculating. It serves only to frustrate the fact I can’t send a message to her son to tell of the consequences his choice might bring about. But perhaps where they are there are no rocks to climb or ropes there are failsafe.

Sometimes I hesitate to even write about it any more. It can become like a locomotive engine hitching itself to my train of thought for the whole day and taking me where I do not what to go where there is regret and self-recrimination, doubts and frustration. I understand that I have experienced part of this every Spring when the green world turns its face to me daring me to not sigh over its beauty.

It would be more beautiful for me and my husband and daughter if our son and brother were still here, laughing with us, teasing us, coaxing us to try new things, hike and embrace this world. We do these things still but they are shaded differently and sometimes the poignancy of the missing number in our family equation equals grief and yearning that cannot be swept away.

Sometimes I still want to think I am mistaken. That he cannot possibly have died, that he is somewhere else – traveling and enjoying his life. It never lasts long and perhaps it is the passing of the years that have truncated that fantasy , though it is a soothing one to indulge in, sometimes.


Posted in Coping with the Death of a Child, Death, Family, Memories, mindfulness | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

the end of the year

IMG_2812I have started and abandoned a number of writings this year.  The overwhelming feelings rush over me.  I loath to admit it is the fear of loosing the entire day if I dare to acknowledge out loud or at least on paper that I am trying to keep control of one more day. This day if no other day and then the next day and then the next.  Stepping stones across the time I have left while trying with all my might to stay in the present.

I’ve got so much left to pay attention to.  People who matter  to me, events in their life and my own and joy to find.   Sadness or grief or whatever you want to call remains a constant companion.   I used to try and avoid triggers.  I gave up.   Memories of my son permeate everything.

He is everywhere and in everything . At every event I attend because I have to mention him at some point to new people and old friends just have to figure out for themselves how to handle it when I mention him casually.   He is a part of me, so if you want to be with me you have to be with him.  And that is true concerning my husband and daughter and even my dogs.  They are a part of me.  Take it or leave it.

Writing about him, or how I feel seems almost superfluous at this point.  To write of him is to write about everything.   He is in my writing as are my other family members and loved ones.   They all influence me and infuse me with their wisdom, insights and the light they bring to my life.   I feel him all the time.  Early on after his death that was not true.

I worried that I would loose that “feeling” of him.   Surprisingly it has grown and if anything it is like the cloud I travel in with him.

Oh, there are still plenty of tears, anger, frustration – impotent rage about the unfair aspect of living and dying.  I feel it when I watch the news too, or view how things are going in our world.   What little we can influence for good we should do -for whatever time we have left in which to do it.  And there is no measuring ourselves against others.  Just us, in our sphere doing what we can for as long as we can with all that we have to give to the effort.

Most important in all of this I find it necessary to be true to myself.  I am a person  my son loved ( my daughter and husband too.)  I must be me and the best me I can be.   It is my gift to myself in honor of the love my son had for me.   Its much more complicated than I make it sound.  It can become a goal or something to just remind yourself of when you are tempted to refashion yourself.  Be true to the person your child knew, morally, ethically, in your generosity and insight and your ability above all else to give love.

So if there is a wish for the new year for all who have lost a beloved child it is this:  That their memory of you might surround you and bring you comfort.  That they may remind you how beautiful you were to them and that you might become that again to someone who is still here and needs you.  There are still gifts and joy to share.

To my son.  You know I love you.  Always will.  I will be now and forever your mom.


Posted in Coping with the Death of a Child, Death, Family, Friends, Holidays, Memories, mindfulness | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Every Day is Mother’s Day

My mother used to say “every day is mother’s day.”    As a child I never knew what to make of that.   I am loath to admit I thought she meant that we were supposed to put her up on a pedestal, bring her flowers and candy every day.   Maybe we should have.   She never explained herself.   She would have a look that my young eyes could not discern and later with repetition of the phrase, I came to ignore it.

There were things I made for my mother that I wanted to give her.  They were met with mixed reactions.   I had my feelings hurt.  There were things that I gave my mother because I thought she expected them and when she would gush over them it felt hollow.

I wonder how many times I have done that to my own children?    My mother is gone now.    She was not an easy woman.    I don’t miss that.  I miss what I wanted and did not have.    Perhaps that is what all missing is.

My daughter is a person of great compassion.  She and I share a sense of humor and a sense of taste.   I love her audacity, complexity and drive.   I love that she is so strong while being so fragile.  She is a giver, a nurturer and a true friend if you are lucky enough to win her favor – which is very easy to do because of her generosity.   She is able to learn anything she sets her mind to and is willing to go whatever lengths it takes to do so.   She appreciates nature, music, beauty, ideals.  She lifts up the fallen, cheers for the underdog, and I think sees people – and tries to appreciate them for who they are.

Her brother is gone and left her at a juncture in her life when they were just beginning to be friends again.   The teenage years were gone when both were struggling to be independent.     He saw in her all the things I saw and maybe even more.   As a male I am sure he had insights I missed.

There are photos of them together at every age.  The bond they shared was emotional and physical.   He was a perfect match for her genetically as we found out after his death.

Because of them I have my own understanding of the phrase “every day is mother’s day.”  There is no day that my children are not a part of.   My daughter with her calls, visits and checking in.   My son in my memory.  I carry them both in my heart.

As much as I would like to think that I was a part of the nurturing that made them who they are and were – I have to admit that the gifts they imparted to me have made me who I am for better or worse.

So I write this and do not include a photo of flowers or candy.   No image of children or mother’s with babes in arms.   I say simply to my daughter and to my son – thank you for making every day mother’s day.

I love you both so much.




History Channel’s history of Mother’s Day

Posted in Coping with the Death of a Child, Holidays, Memories, mother's day | 2 Comments



I have in my studio the one non-office chair my son purchased. It is chair from Ikea. I was with him when he shopped for it. In the Ikea store they have this  same model of the chair in a plexiglass container along with a device that simulates a human sitting down and standing up over and over and over. I think he really wanted that whole contraption with the simulated human butt for his home but ended up with all that they would make available – the chair. The seat and back are covered in blue fabric and the arms and frame are wooden, curved in an arch that supports the seat and back. You can bounce slightly in the chair. One of my dogs prefers it to sleeping on the floor on the big dog pillow I have for them. I keep a towel in the seat because of the dog’s habit.
My son bought himself a bed frame too. The rest of his furniture was comprised of hand me downs. There were two futons that his dad and I purchased for him. I never found them comfortable for sitting or sleeping but there again his dogs seemed to like them.
There is something very adult about buying furniture. I remember the first purchase my husband and I made of two rattan swivel rockers. I wish I still had those chairs they were so comfortable, but I gave them away. I have given away a lot of furniture.
Furniture is intimate stuff. A lot of things happen there. Eating, reading, sleeping, relaxing and other things too intimate to mention here. Crumbs and fur get buried deep into the crevices, earrings disappear, jellybeans, tissues.
The back of the couch in our den is torn to bits from our two dogs who love to perch there. We bought leather but I did not realize the top part of each cushion along the back was vinyl. Dog claws applied with great enthusiasm as they use it to hurdle from den deck window to breakfast room window have damaged it. We have placed a quilt over the back but the dogs have decided they must remove it and dig into it to cuddle down to sleep.
There are scratches too on the window facing of the breakfast room window. My dogs stand with their feet against the window watching squirrels at the feeder. The den deck door is painted with nose prints.
We leave our mark too.
Perhaps not as indelibly on woodwork and floors as the marks dog claws make. But the marks are there all the same.
My sister once carved her initials into a wooden toilet seat in boredom and then tried to claim it was not her. I carved up a vinyl chair once when I was a child – the forbidden razor blade slid so smoothly through the vinyl.
There is a very uncomfortable wooden church pew on our patio. It was meant to keep church goers awake – sitting ramrod straight and hard against bony hip bones. I wonder who sat there and where their mind wandered.
My daughter bought her own mattress and bed frame. She has accepted many hand-me-downs too.
There is a point where you want to express your own taste and style. It comes with time if it is something you are interested in.
The chair in my studio resembles my son’s taste. Functional, comfortable, no frills – thin framed, light, portable and slightly laid back – like him. I feel it curve against my back as I sit here to write. I wish he had stayed around long enough to wear it out.

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The End of March

Dear Son,

Your dad has retired from his job.  He seems to be content with the choice.  He could have worked longer.  He could be like some men I know who identify so closely with their job that leaving it is like leaving a part of themselves.  Surprisingly it is not so for him.

He works in the yard as much if not more than he ever did.  We have the chickens and he dotes on them.  He is getting bee hives soon and I hope they are successful.  We worry about bees because of environmental concerns.   The solar panels will soon be a year old and they have provided well for us.  We talk about travel but never make plans.

Ms. Ebbie died.   Do you know that?   She had a great day playing with Newman.  I actually did a video of her that day because she was so playful.   She lay down that night in one of her usual spots and when we went to get her to go to bed we found that she had died.   She would have been 16 on Tuesday.

Daddy buried her up on the hill with Kaycee, Sonny, Honey and Cocoa.   I made a new marker that hangs up there now and catches the morning sun reflecting it into the kitchen.    The boys seemed confused by her absence at first but now seem to have adapted and maybe it is my imagination but  somehow they seem more close.

We have a hard time venturing far from home.    It settles on us sometimes like some sort of apathy or maybe it is fear.   Maybe we are just weary.  Making plans; especially elaborate plans makes me feel weary.   This has been a weary year thus far.

The presidential election has not helped the feeling of weariness.   It began with dread that now has merged into a daily need to walk to the train track where our country is speeding along and see what is going to crash.   I am loath to say it because in some ways I would like to get your opinion but in other ways it is probably better that you not know.

I am sure there are people who have been my friends who view me differently now.   I am vocal (and I know that does not surprise you).  I try but probably do not succeed in not being  vitriolic.

The problems that you expressed concerns about six years ago have only gotten worse.   Everything you observed and I so hoped you were wrong about has proved to be correct.  The world could use more wisdom and insight like yours and we just don’t have it.

We miss you.  Your dad and sister and I miss you.   The reminders have not ceased, the situations in which we find ourselves when we are so aware of your absence have not decreased.  I have accepted the fact that each day I will look for you and often find something of you somewhere.   Maybe that is why it is hard to plan a way to leave home for any length of time.

Yet I know that if we were to travel we would find you there too.

I know I am not going to fix the situation our country is in.  I feel like it is important to be involved because of you and your sister and your dad.  It is important to me to be a part of any solution that I can – whatever that might mean.   I feel like I must honor all of you- my family- however I can with the days of my life.

I can’t retire from being a mother.    And though your dad can retire from public work neither can he retire from being a dad, nor your sister- your sister.   That has been driven home to me.

At night I pray and sometimes it is only to repeat the Lord’s prayer because all other words fail me.  I ask for healing yet people die.  I ask for peace yet wars rage.  I ask for equality yet misogyny, prejudice and discrimination reign.    I recognize that I am having to deal with my misunderstanding of God and my own sad acceptance of mankind as broken.   I wish you could weigh in here.

There are so many words I have spoken to you as the days pass.  So many thoughts that seem almost like prayer that I give up to the universe hoping they reach you.     Power and control are the cruelest delusion.

Know this as you have always known.  In this we are all secure.

We love you.

Always have, always will.



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