The Season


Dear Son,

Thanksgiving holiday has passed and Christmas is on the horizon.  Your sister and your brother-in-law have traveled to visit his family in Zimbabwe and have returned safely.  Your dad has built some solar panels to heat his garage with plans provided by one of his good friends and Mother Earth News.  I have hung my show at the Gallery and found out last night that I have been accepted in the Southern Watercolor Society Show.  We all really wish you were here to share these things with us. You have always been a great cheerleader in our family.

I find it difficult to trust life.  It makes me weary.  I’ve decided to take a mild antidepressant.  The grief is not decreased but I am able to focus and sometimes it is on the grief.  There are still no words that explain how I feel.

In our family you come into our conversation as often as you ever did.  Your sister and I talked about how you would have wanted to accompany them on their trip.   There are places where both she and I realized you would have set up camp and longed to stay and climb and explore.  I told your dad how proud you would be of his solar panels.  They function really well and he has a great sense of accomplishment.

When I got my acceptance into the show you were the first person I wanted to talk to.  I really think you would like my new work.   I started it this past July.

I listened to a rebroadcast on NPR the other day of an interview of “Great Expectations” by Robert Gottlieb on the life of Charles Dickens.  I was thinking I would read the book until I heard him talk about the loss of one of Charles Dickens children.  Gottlieb explained when questioned about it that Dickens  loved children, but that he “got over it” because you have to “get over these things.”  These things?  I almost climbed through the radio.

I don’t think I can read this book knowing that Mr. Gottlieb has no better grasp on reality than this.  He cannot possibly empathize with the man about whom he wrote.  I can tell anyone interested that Charles Dickens never “got over it”  and and that indeed it influenced his writing forever.

You, my sweet son influence us in every decision we make.  You influence how I see the world and how I react to others at times.  You continue to encourage us to try, to explore, to reach.

Grieving parents worry erroneously that they will forget their child, or not honor them properly.  The fact that they get up every day and try at whatever level they are able is a tribute to the life of their child.  When you were handed to us swaddled and squeaking our hearts grew to encapsulate you within our very being.  You can’t destroy that without destroying us.

I have observed as best as I can the passing of the days.  There is no particular time when I miss you more and there is no time when I miss you less.  If circumstances do suffice the very being together as family reminds us of you.

You are forever a part of our family in every way.

As I am always,



About pathfinder

Artist, Writer, Walking wounded.
This entry was posted in Coping with the Death of a Child. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Season

  1. Oh, how I felt you, understood. My heart is still feeling your words. Granny Gee/Gloria

  2. It’s so backwards. Our children should be remembering us, not the reverse. Your son seemed to be so supportive and loving. Such a terrible loss.

    In regards to your comment about the NPR interview about Dickens, the ignorant things that people can say are utterly astounding.

    I came across this quote from Mark Twain, whose oldest daughter died from spinal meningitis at the age of 24. (I can’t remember which website I found this on.)

    “… I did not know that she could go away. I did not know that she could go away, and take our lives with her, yet leave our dull-bodies behind… I am a pauper. How am I to comprehend
    this? How am I to have it? Why am I robbed, and who is benefited?

    I am working, but it is for the sake of the work–the “surcease of sorrow” that is found there.

    -Mark Twain aka Sam Clemens in a letter his dear friend after the death of his daughter Susy.

    Doesn’t sound like he “got over it”. He sounds as shocked and devastated as we are.

    Congratulations on your artistic success. Is there any way that some of your loyal blog readers could ever see more of your artwork (perhaps to purchase)?


  3. Steve Brackett says:

    I just found your blog earlier today and as I began to read there was sentiment that seemed very familiar. Then comments about climbing…

    Our son Ben died on March 1, 2012 from injuries that he received in an avalanche in the Sierra backcountry just south of Squaw Valley. Ben was 29 and he had lived and worked at Squaw for 5 years. He absolutely throroughly loved even single minute of it. AS his friends said he lived stoked. He especially loved backcountry skiing and in June 2011 had climbed and skied Denali.

    Mostly I just want you to know that alot of what you write resonates with us. Missing the chances to share the really good stuff, being reminded of him in places that he went, or that he wanted to go.

    We are so lucky to be Ben’s parents. I am sure you feel exactly the same way.


    • pathfinder says:

      Dear Steve,
      I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful son, Ben. We are so lucky to be parents. It is great that our boys were able to do the things they loved so much and that we live in a place that makes that possible. It does however come with risk as does life in general. The holidays turn our thoughts to special memories. I hope that yours will sustain you in the days ahead. Endure.
      Pam H.

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