Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Below is something I wrote the Day after James' funeral. I still keep a journal, and this is what I wrote that day. I was looking over it tonight and one line struck me. Back then, almost four months ago, I wrote that I didn't have a time table. When I read that tonight I started to wonder if that was changing, if in the intervening months I'd decided that there was a time I was going to allot to this, the same way I might schedule a meeting or plan a budget to buy a new car. I've always found a certain degree of comfort in schedules. I like to know when and where I can expect to deal with something and prepare myself accordingly. When I read this tonight it struck me that I still, after all this time, have no timetable. I can't even schedule when or how I think of James, whether it's smiling when I stumble upon a giraffe walking stick we got from the zoo, or freezing when I open my trunk and see the base of his car seat still there. For some reason I was fine taking it out of the backseat but couldn't bear to take it out of the trunk. So now I just don't use the trunk. I don't even have a timetable for when I'm taking that out, let alone when I'm going to deal with everything else.

What I am beginning to realize is that perhaps this never ends. Perhaps I'm not going to "get over it." Perhaps I'll just live with it and manage it. I don't necessarily mean that in the sense that I will lead the rest of my life morbidly depressed, but in that James and his loss are never going to fit into a neat, compartmentalized box in my life. There is never going to be a file I can index and store for this, it's always going to be there, the good and the bad. I've come to believe this isn't necessarily a bad thing. James was an amazing gift, and it was the highest privilege I have ever known to be his father. I don't want a timetable for getting past that.

The picture is a James "self-portrait" I handed him my phone with the camera on and let him play with it. He took a few select shots of himself on accident and this was one of them- he's trying to put the phone as close as he can get it so that he can get at the baby in the picture. I loved watching him do that, and I like to remember things like that, the way he played, his objectives. I don't want to forget those things.

Thank all of you for your continued support and prayers. It's been very comforting over the last few months to hear from all of you.

Day Twenty Nine

Today marks either the first day of the rest of my life or the last day of the best part of my life. I suppose it's a question of perspective. After James' service yesterday, family has slowly migrated home, back to their jobs and their lives. Friends have faded, though still supportive, the sense of urgency fades. James is buried, commended to the earth and claimed in faith. All that remains from now on is what we do with ourselves. We are left to grieve, to mourn, and to recover as best we can.

I wish I could say that I spent the first day of this new period well, meditating on James life or reflecting positively in some way. God knows I would have liked to. Instead, I did virtually nothing all day. I woke. I dressed. I showered. Each act took too long, a little more time than you might expect. Forty minutes to get out bed. 20 for the shower and getting dressed. Pauses were long, and frankly I completely lost track of time on several occasions. Focus comes irregularly, and all too often sharp on the wrong images. The background picture on my phone. The cluster of toys on the hearth, still unmoved. We haven't gone through anything yet.

I went to dinner with a friend I'd scheduled yesterday. Thai food, drunken noodles with a touch of spice but nothing overwhelming. If I hadn't scheduled the dinner yesterday I seriously doubt I would've done anything at all today. And maybe that's ok. Maybe there is no time table for what I'm doing here, maybe there's no way this ought to look. Kara and I both love schedules, exact timetables we can rely on and trust completely. I am obscenely punctual. But we can't schedule this. And so I lose days in the cemetery, days I never even knew were there. It's humbling, and incredibly enlightening at the same time.


  1. I wish that I could form some sentences that could ease some of your grief. I'm sorry for the loss of your precious son just doesn't seem like enough, though I am so very sorry and heartbroken that you and Kara have to go through this. We've never met, but I think of and pray for you, Kara, and Jamesie everyday.

  2. even though we've never met and probably never will, please know the lord places you both on my mind at random times and i stop what i'm doing and pray. funny how the lord works. i pray you are always comforted.

  3. I continue to pray for you and your wife, for your marriage to hold firm during this very sad time.

  4. We are discovering that with the loss of our son that we will never "get over it" either. He was our son and no matter if he was here for 20 minutes, 8 months, or 40 years, he was still part of our lives. We still loved him deeply. You won't ever wake up one day and be over it. You will move forward, in time, but your James will always be a part of you. And that's a good thing!! Praying for you guys

  5. Let me start by telling you how deeply sorry I am for the loss of your sweet, beautiful James. Unfortunately, I have had to bear witness to a couple of friends losing their "babies" way before they should have been called. I believe I have learned through them that you are correct. There is no timetable. There is no time that you will feel better or resolved. This hole in your heart will remain forever. You will learn how to manage your pain and eventually be happy again. Of this I am sure. I pray for you and your wife to find strength and to lean on each other. No one who has not lost a child can understand what you are going through, we can only feel a pinch as compared to the sucker punch you feel every day you are here without your baby. Please take comfort that so many people who do not know you at all are praying for you and care about you and your precious baby, James. You and Kara are such wonderful people. As blessed as you were to have James, he was just as blessed to have you two for parents.

  6. After I lost my son, I had to get up and go to work and act as if everything was fine. For a couple of years, tears would unexpectedly come when I was in my office alone. Chris loved skydiving, and just seeing a photo of a skydiver brought deep sadness, regret, and a longing for him. On the weekends when I didn't have to work, without planning to, I stayed in bed for one whole year.

    Chris and I were studying Spanish together, although he lived in Florida and I in Louisiana. I finished the semester in which he died by the hardest, but I couldn't go back or think of studying Spanish again. It was too painful. It brought back memories of his emails to me written in Spanish.

    Finally, I volunteered on the weekends at the animal shelter and on Sundays taught a two-year-old church school class in the inner city branch of my church. In some way, giving back saved me. I was changed. I felt such love and compassion.

    It has now been four years. I still have sad times, but they are less frequent and don't last as long. I know this will be true for the remainder of my life. How could we ever get to a point that we never thought of our beloved child? We can't. Life will one day bring happiness again, but loving and losing James has forever changed you.

    Only recently, I decided to begin studying Spanish again in Chris' honor. He would like that.

    I pray for you and Kara and James' grandparents every single morning. I pray that God will bind up your broken hearts and bend down and bring you his peace that passes all understanding and guide you to his plan for the remainder of your lives. May God bless and comfort you. You and Kara are in my thoughts. My heart breaks for you.

  7. Your post touched me so deeply. I wish I could say or do something to ease your pain and grief. At the very least you have each other to hold onto. I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers, we've never met and most likely never will but because of what you went through I do my best to savor each moment with my that is a gift from Jamesie that I appreciate. God bless.