The questions of July


Dear Son

I am sitting here in front of the computer.  The coffee is brewing in the kitchen. The youngest pup has come to lick and wallow on me. I watch his antics and think “you would like him, must like him”? I never know exactly how I am supposed to talk about some of things I think.

I have felt you to be so “close” all week. Are you close to me or am I closer to you?  Yes it is the week that marks year four of that terrible anniversary. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for those who continue to reach out to us in remembrance of you. At the same time I find myself hesitating over some phones calls when I look at caller ID. I don’t understand it myself. It is not like I am not used to crying but sometimes when I hear my voice full of tears struggling to talk I feel like I am embarrassing you.

The grief process has been likened to a roller coaster by many . But that description only goes so far (yes that is a pun). On a roller coaster you have a moment to at least acknowledge the fact that the current climb is going to lead to a dip of some magnitude or other at some point. For me most days, the dips and gut-wrenching loops still come out of nowhere.

The term softer is used by some of my contemporaries to describe their feelings with the passing of years. I think I have become harder. I am less tolerant. If you still laugh at me you must be laughing at that. Tolerance for some things was never one of our long suits. I gather myself up, steel myself for the situation and plow through, mow down, bulldoze under?  You get the idea.

I don’t think I am alone with this annoyance factor. I see it in other’s who have lost children. We flare so quickly when someone tries to tell us to move on, even if it is not directed at us personally. We are very quick to defend the bereaved parent. Recently someone accused bereaved parents of “wanting attention.” I will grant you there are a variety of personality types in our sad group who come at the situation with their own particular style and perhaps that is what they are seeing, and turning and running from (because that is what “they” do).

If parents seek attention it is not for themselves, but to draw attention to the child that is gone or to draw attention to the circumstance of the passing in a hope of preventing it for someone else’s child. But really, how dare the world forget their child! How dare anyone who knew you, forget you!

It is Saturday and the 4th of July and the country is pretending to understand what it is celebrating though few would put themselves in a position to do those things to bring about the independence this day is marked for. Independence is an ideal. It is the goal of many and the achievement of few. We are all bound by many things.

Fear binds me and others. Fear is a big one. Fear for the unknown. Grief binds me too and the knowledge that I wield no control. I am not independent of these things.

Your sister saw a juvenile red tail hawk the other day when she took the dogs – your dogs – out to play. She said it sat near by and watched her and the dogs, though the dogs did not notice the hawk. She and I and your dad notice – is that the right word-notice? We look for and anticipate finding the things that are connected with you to remind us and become our sign that we are still connected. As if we really needed a sign. Yet we crave it because we don’t have you.

Living the life I have is a lot of work. Remembering your positive embracing spirit and things you said to me while you were here is a common practice that helps to some extent. I don’t know if living is any more of a struggle than it it ever was, but I have to admit that sometimes I wish I could slap a handicapped sticker on my forehead – just to warn people. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear – something like that.

I digress. I would so appreciate a reply from you.

This has been a tough week. There have been a few other minor losses among those of us who love you but we will gather ourselves up and press on. If you are aware of anything then you understand that that is no minor feat.

Yes, sweet man, you are that important to us. You changed our life and if you did not know that then the attitude you exhibited to us was a great act indeed.  I think – no I know – you were secure in the fact that we adore you.  I hope you are laughing now. You changed my life and I will be forever altered by you. I freely acknowledge no desire for independence from it. I love you and I miss you.


About pathfinder

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

3 Responses to The questions of July

  1. Norma Clayton says:

    As always I so enjoy your posts about your son – maybe enjoy is not the correct word because there is no joy in an untimely death or any death for that matter. But you are able to verbalize what so many of us are thinking and feeling. Your words reach our hearts! As you know Mike shares the same sad anniversary with you. His daughter has been gone twenty years and the grief is still there – albeit tempered with time – but still there. On the 2nd I posted on FB a picture of Mike and Michele and we were so touched to see that others have not forgotten her. Prayers for peace for you and your family.

  2. Nancy Fossland says:

    Someone just posted your “Dear Son” on our page of parents that have lost children to cancer. It is emotional and intense reading which links to my soul in so many ways. Thank you for sharing in a way that I cannot.

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