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September 29, 2007

Why A "Surviving" Son?

In the years since our son's death from addiction we have  come to know many parents who have lost adolescent and young adult children to a myriad of causes both natural and unnatural; all of them tragic since the premature end of human life is always so.  At first we are like members of a press gang hijacked and taken against our will , "pressed" into the service of grief and despair.  With time we become part of a league of loss whose membership fees are pain and perdition.  Outside of our league we soon discover that understanding from family and friends is at best fleeting...while within our fellowship there prevails an atmosphere of kindness, warmth and compassionate empathy. 

Loss teaches us many lessons of life and continues to do so as we make our way through each day without our beloved child.  One of those lessons is that each of us grieve in our own way and in our own time.  We also learn that there are no rules about how we should grieve or integrate our loss into who we are as individuals.  Over time I have heard many a mother or father who has lost a child speak of their other living children as their "surviving" son or daughter which as always struck me as an odd turn of phrase.

Is it a phrase that is a hold over from an earlier time in our history when childhood diseases and the hazards of daily living took an inordinately high toll on the lives of children?  Or is that somehow because we lost a child that we are expressing some aspect of hope or good fortune that our other children have miraculously carried on? 

Regardless of what others intend I prefer that instead of being a surviving son he is more correctly my "thriving" son.  Not untouched or unaffected by his brother's death but hopefully wiser, more understanding and more compassionate for others...in short not surviving but thriving as a young adult...just my Josh...my beloved son.

September 29, 2007 at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 11, 2007

Making A Difference

Some months ago I submitted an essay to National Public Radio's This I Believe project, the text of which appears in a previous entry on this Blog site.  My essay was selected by the local affiliate and was edited by staff for broadcast. 

You can listen to it here....Making A Difference

September 11, 2007 at 04:17 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack