The Son I Never Knew

Sometimes, I wonder

What my son would look like now

If he had survived

The devastating tragedy of February 12, 1979

The day of his childbirth

The day he died

Sometimes, flashes cross my mind from that fateful time

Moments magnified, agonizing, gut-wrenching

Ones that take my breath away

Yet, in the midst of the chaos

I see his newborn face

He is so beautiful

Sometimes, I miss the moments we should have had together

Changing his diapers

Watching him take his first steps

Wiping his tears

Seeing him off to school

Little joys, never shared

Time heals all wounds – or so they say . . .

Yet, year after year, on Memorial Day

I tearfully stand before his lonely grave

And gaze down at the cold, rose granite marker

I look at his name etched upon it

Aware that dusty, cremated remains lie below

Remnants of a baby that once lived and breathed

My baby . . .

I feel an odd mixture of sadness, anger and remorse

And I wonder what might have been

I breathe deeply, in and out, and I try to understand

And yet . . . I never do

12 comments to The Son I Never Knew

  • Mark Parkhurst

    Beautifully put, Gary. I don’t think I will ever understand life. What a tough experience for you and your family.

  • “The Son I Never Knew” is a heart-breaking, beautifully written & powerful tribute to your son. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Gary – I’ve been thinking all week about what to say about this moving poem. You and I both have different belief systems, and yet we – and, sadly, so many others – have this great human sadness in common. In this life, we may never fully understand why, but this I believe: there is a reason for everything, and all life is precious – even if only for a short while. Know also that through the sharing of your heart, you also help others who are going through the same pain. Bless you, friend!

    • Hi David,
      I so appreciate your kind and well-thought out response. While our spiritual beliefs may be different, we share the unfortunate commonality of losing a child, and few events in life are more painful. Comprehending mysteries such as this can sometimes be challenging, yet I feel it’s not really important whether we understand them or not, because oftentimes we can’t. Rather, once the pain and grieving has lessened, I try to see such happenings as opportunities for spiritual growth, and I suspect you might feel the same way. Thanks again, my friend, for your comments. Gary

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s a haunting poem, for I’ve shared the same experience. My son, David Michael, had he lived would now be 51. My arms ache with emptiness at his loss. Burying tiny coffins is heart-breaking. You have my sympathy and prayers. Thank you for your wise words.

    • Hi Carolyn,
      It’s always great to hear from you, and thanks for sharing your own personal loss. Likewise, I will hold you in my thoughts and prayers. The death of a child creates a pain that never really goes away, though, with time, it becomes bearable. On certain occasions, such as Memorial Day, the agonizing feelings can return, and it is then that my wounded soul cries out in pain. At that point, I breathe and turn it over to God, the Great Consoler. Blessings to you, Gary

  • Trayce McCray

    You always find a way to touch my heart. Trayce McCrau

  • Cousin Suzanne Allen

    I’m so sorry. I never knew. Losses like this feel huge and our broken hearts are expressed by our tears. May all the love and power in the Universe keep you close. I feel sure you will meet him one day. Much love to you.

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