Archives for Memories of John
A sympathy card we received contained this wonderful poem for times of grief:
Winter fades the garden now
Where laughter used to flower.
It makes us sad to linger here–
The minutes seem like hours.
But though we only see the loss
Of what we used to know,
In time the warmth of memory
Will make the garden grow–
And shades of love we thought we’d lost
Once again will show . . .
Peeking through the snow.
The years keep rolling by, and the pain does get lighter. It’s been six years today since we found out John had killed himself on June 10, 2006.
“How many kids to you have?” It’s a simple question, but how do you answer it if one of your kids is dead? If I don’t want to get into a deep discussion, I can say “four” and briefly describe (if asked) my three remaining kids without mentioned the fourth. Most people don’t count and notice the lack of a story for one child.
I have a hard time saying “three.” It’s just not right; I have four children.
Starting today, someone in my family was either born or died every other day until December 29. My son John was born on December 21, 1980. He would have been 31 years old today.
Some year I’m going to hole up in a cabin somewhere during the holidays and just not do anything . . . but not this year! Back to the Christmas cards!
During our trip to Saskatchewan, Canada, we visited the pioneer town (long abandoned, yet some rebuilt so visitors like us can see a small bit of what their life in the late 1800s on the Saskatchewan prairie was like) of Cannington Manor. I photographed several headstone messages I wanted to remember.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.
God takes our loved ones from our homes but never from our hearts.
Our darling child,
infant son of
William & Matilda Turton
died March 5, 1915
Aged 4 days
God’s finger touched him and he slept.
No pain, no grief, no anxious fear, can reach the peaceful sleeper here.
We thought of you with Love today,
But that is nothing new.
We thought about you yesterday.
And days before that too.
We think of you in silence,
We often speak your name.
Now all we have is memories
And your picture in a frame.
Your memory is our keepsake,
With which we’ll never part.
God has you in his keeping,
We have you in our hearts.
It was exactly five years ago, about now, when I got a phone call from the Bolivar police saying they needed to come out and talk with me. Of course, I knew they were going to tell me that my son was dead. Click here for more about John.
It’s been five years since my son John took his life. Five years, yet I remember so many little details. Five years, yet it seems like mere moments.
We had a quick “Happy Birthday” party for John (he would have been 30 today!) at Jenny’s work. Dog grooming appears to pick up during the holiday season, so Jenny barely had time to pose for this photo with Jessica.
I’ll lend you a child for a little time
a child of mine, God said.
For you to love the while he lives
and mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years
or twenty-two or three.
But will you till I call him back
take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you
and shall his stay be brief.
You’ll have his lovely memories
as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay
since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over
in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lane
I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call
to take him back again?
I fancied that I heard them say,
“Dear Lord, thy will be done,”
For all the joy thy child will bring
the risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness.
we’ll love him while we may.
And for the happiness we’ve known,
forever grateful stay.
But shall the angels call for him
much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.
by Edgar A. Guest