ON THE LOSS OF A SON



No platitudes for grief.

Of course nobody knows

the way you feel.

Others who have seen

their sons and daughters pass

beyond a last embrace—

even they cannot know.

Your ache and anger, your

questions questions questions

are customized, uniquely yours.

Flowers and cards and memorative notes

well-meant attempts to fill

an unfillable hollow, as one drop of water

cannot slake a desert thirst.

Tears coo to the soul,

splash the windows of recollection;

here, then, take my tears,

add them to your ocean,

condensing to a lake, a pool, a basin

for sun weary birds. When some day

all is vapor, and life again a dream,

he will smile where you will.


--4 June 2001, rev. 19 June 2022, Father’s Day


On this day, in 2001, my father lived. He was nearby, so his two daughters and

his son-in-law could celebrate with him. Mother, too, was there. They both passed early

in 2006, Daddy two days following Mama. The day Daddy died he lost his daughters,

and the daughters, their father. What is the difference between the different losses?

How many answers are there to that question? I know a part of me went with Mom and

Dad, and something of each parent stayed with me.

I see that in all my writing, loss is a featured character. In The Titus Gift, one of

my upcoming children’s books, Tommy and Erica fear their ailing father’s dying. They

live in a rural area, away from other children during the long summer. They must cope

with many changes without the distractions the school year provides. I might argue with

my own idea about how they thrive in their isolation and sense of impending loss, but

there it is, you see; I created the worlds each of them inhabits. Is it for me now to deny

the navigation of uncertainty that I provided? Absolutely not! Just as loss of my parents

initiated in me inevitable change, so Erica and Tommy follow a course that will change

them, probably forever.


###