These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

a landslide of emotions

as time nears to the one-year anniversary of my dad's death, i'm feeling his loss so much more than, say, a week after he died. i guess that when he first died, it was his death that was at the forefront of our minds. now, it's his loss that hits me. i miss him.

this week has been extra hard and today it culminated with a package sent by my mom. she included a one-yar anniversary card for the mass (which was beautifully done with kind words), some photos of my dad (one of which he looks to happy and it tore me up to see it) and some items that just sent me into a ball of emotions. she put in a medal he won in high school for track and a ribbon for track. it meant a lot to have them. they're things from my dad's past. then as a surprise, she included his watch. it was the watch he wore before he died. i'm pleased and honored to have it. oddly enough, the watch stopped and the date on the watch is 19: his birth date.

and so i went back to work listening to music on my mp3. i settled on cat stevens. big mistake. more memories came flooding back, especially the song, "oh, we're young."

tonight as i walked home, there was a bright moon in the sky. i'd see it peeking through thinnign tree branches. i'd look down and see my shadow on teh sidewalk in front of me. i imagined it was my dad walking with me, accompanying me home. he'd be quiet, not saying much as was his manner. maybe he'd make a comment about the weather getting cooler or how the leaves are changing color. either way, it would have been a good conversation.

you know, when we're young and silly, conversations can be a bother with parents, sometimes not wanting to talk to them or bored by what they have to say. i wish i'd treasured every one of those conversations instead of wasting some of them on silliness or bad behavior. all in all, though, i think we were ok. dad and i were on different wave lengths and we enjoyed mostly different things and tastes, but he'd always listen no matter what. sometimes i wished i'd listened a little better.

and so as time draws nearer and nearer, i'll be thinking of pops more and more. my gentle old man with the kind smile and soft voice.

"goodbyes make the journey harder still." cat stevens

Sunday, October 05, 2008

final thoughts

this past week at work finished with a resounding emotional thud. a wall of tears, sighs, wonderings, questions, blame, finger pointing and, most importantly, loss.

in the pre-dawn hours thursday morning a west ottawa seventh-grader died on his way to school after being struck by two cars. he'd made it halfwy across teh five-lane street. he continued, then the back wheel of his bike was struck by a car. the bike spun. a second car struck the bike killing the boy.

it set off a barrage of media, both from newspapers and tv. word spread quickly through his family, his school, to teachers and students -- his friends -- the community. students at harbor lights began to grief and cry for the loss of their friend and classmate, teachers held students and comforted them.

his boy's sister saw her older brother lying on the street, dead. a haunting image that will surely stay with her all her life. a mother who cried until no more tears came out and no words, unable to say anything about her son's death.

his body lay in the casket, open to viewers, some children hugging it, a friend told me.

he will be buried ad life will continue...with an emotional loss.

still, i wonder what were his final thoughts as he crossed the street. was he thinking of breakfast at school? his new bike? his upcoming school day? his friends? the weekend? who knows, but i'm hoping they were happy thoughts, thoughts that will keep him happy whereverhe is now. let's hope there was little time to feel pain and fright.

bless you where you are now, giovanni.


it's time to get serious.
very serious.