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November 26, 1986 - October 10, 2010Painful memories, we all have them.

We live in a very “social” world today and often don’t think twice about sharing what used to be very private thoughts in a public space. This blog is exactly that. I share for two reasons. One, to release some of my own pain. Two, to let others know they are not alone and it’s OK to grieve. 

Do I feel guilty for sharing? Not in the least, nor should you.

Painful Memories

granddaughter in the forestI don’t know about you, but I try to avoid painful memories. Except, there are some that are actually beautiful and lead to healing. Today is a trigger.

10-10-10 is day I will never forget and the anniversary of that day often compels me to want to release some of the pain associated with Thanksgiving.

Today is the six year anniversary of the death of our son at the age of 23. He would be turning 30 on November 26th of this year. This day always reminds us that we lost a beautiful soul and our granddaughter was left without her father. She was five when he passed away. I can distinctly remember her asking “please don’t close the door” when we went to close the coffin. Now, that’s a painful memory.

father, son and babyI use a trick to get myself through those moments. Those painful memories trigger the many beautiful memories that his 23 years in this world brought us. Our first Christmas together and throwing socks at the kids to wake them up. Learning to ski so I could ski with him. Him holding his younger sister when she was born and being so proud he was a BIG brother now. Traveling to soccer tournaments all over Ontario with him. Becoming a young father and watching him do some of the things with his daughter that we used to do. And the list goes on…


red bushIt’s rather ironic that our son left us Thanksgiving weekend in 2010. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for the 23 years God gave us with our son. I’m thankful for a beautiful granddaughter who will be a lasting testament to her father. I’m thankful for my faith that helps me through these times.

Maybe it was God’s design that he took our son on this day. Thanksgiving is about focusing on what we are thankful for. We could wallow in self pity but our son would be very disappointed in us. He said to his mother “Don’t cry too long”.

Just like today, Thanksgiving 2010 was beautiful and sunny. We were surrounded by loving family and friends. I remember that one friend in particular said don’t worry about dinner and she showed up with a complete roast turkey dinner. We fed two families that day and shared some wonderful memories together in celebration of the life just lost. The picture here is one of a bush that friends gave us in memory of him. The red bush beside the lilacs was about two feet high when we planted it. Today, it’s over 15 feet!

Biking with dogAs I sit here writing this blog, my wife is talking with our younger son who headed out a couple of days ago on The Great Trail. Him and his sister’s dog are biking this trail from Tweed, Ontario to Mont Tremblant in Quebec. I wonder if he subconsciously chose this time? He has traveled multiple countries and learned two languages in the last six years since his brother died.

We believe his brother guides and protects him. Many beautiful memories are being made as a result of his passing. For this, we are thankful.

To Share or Not to Share

Memories can be very painful. Is it OK to share when you are hurting? Of course it is! In fairness to others, try to share the positive with the painful. We hurt when we think about our loss but we are so thankful for the 23 years we had and the legacy he left us. He has had a very positive impact on our lives and left us a beautiful granddaughter. I can only hope to leave a legacy like he has.

For now, I hold onto the thought that he plays “The Beautiful Game” whenever he wants and his pain is gone. He watches over us and his daughter and I’m sure he puts a smile on my mother’s face (she left us three months before).

Until we meet again son…Happy Thanksgiving.



P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for my faith. I’m thankful for my wonderful, supportive wife. I’m thankful for all of my children.

What are you thankful for today?

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