Friday, May 1, 2015

" Happy Birthday John Boy"

                                                          

                                                        
Note:  This is my annual tribute to my son on his birthday....because he lives in our hearts forever.

Dear Son,

You would have been 44 years old today.  Despite all of the pain we have suffered since your passing we would not trade anything for the 28 years we had you with us.  The images that flicker through our mind are a panorama of "John-Boys"; the little guy who wore a smile from the day he was born and wore that smile for all his days.  I used to play with you, saying, "John-boy, whatever you do, don't smile, okay"....you would look at me and try mightily to keep a smile from breaking out on your face...and you would fail, often surrendering the effort in a mighty wave of giggles.  God, how I miss that smile, and will until the last of me.

Is it possible that we know when our days are numbered?  I have asked that question so many times since your passing.  How else can one explain the last months of your life when you showered us with love and grace and a degree of forgiveness that is often beyond the means of our human selves.  It seemed as if you were solely focused on touching us, loving us and doing the most considerate big and little things that you thought might make us happy. 

Had we all known that, on that last Christmas, you would be leaving us in two months time, how much more could we have given you.  Images of those few days still linger.  I watched you slide down the snow bank, your face bathed in happy exhilaration as if all your years of sadness was now behind you.  I remember the nights of Christmas shopping when you and Melissa were rejoicing as you carefully chose the gifts for your brother and sisters. 

God gave us such immense gifts in those last months before your passing.  I still remember the long morning walks and the talks we had about family and the warm memories of the past.  Each evening, as we prepared the supper meal we watched each other sift and measure to see if we couldn't out do the other with our chosen recipe.  Supper prepared, you would sit in the living room, constantly getting up to glance out the window, to see when your mom pulled in.  Like a loyal spaniel you had to rush out to your mom to hug and kiss and welcome her home.  Just as joyfully, you arose early to take a day labor job and, when not working, rising equally early to walk Melissa to work, just because you knew it would make her happy.

So, John-Boy, for the last nine months of your life you gave and you hugged and you kissed and you smiled and you loved...god, how you loved in those last months.

I tell you now, my dear son...you gave all that you had in those last months, perhaps in the hope that it would be enough to last us for a lifetime...but it wasn't enough.  We needed you to be here today, on your 44rd birthday.  We wanted to see the tiny crow's feet about the eyes, the laugh wrinkles and the frown lines and the light of wisdom that emanates from living into the prime of life.  Most of all we needed to see that perennial smile that graced your visage all the days of your life.

Happy Birthday, my dear son.  May God keep you in the gentle cradle of loving arms.  I look forward to someday once again feeling the touch of your welcoming embrace and seeing again that john-boy smile.

25 comments:

Darlene said...

Beautiful,,,

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss! May God keep you in comfort and courage until you are finally reunited. jo

JustCommonSense said...

Darlene and Jo; thanks for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

i'm so sorry about your loss.

JustCommonSense said...

Thank you, Anon. And thanks for dropping by to visit. Visit again, often.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for your loss. If I could, I'd give up my life in a second so you could have your son back.

JustCommonSense said...

You are so sweet! I would too! Children aren't supposed to go before the parents. He's in a better place now and someday I'll see him again. And, as long as I can still "see him in my mind, hear his voice in my head", he's still here.

Ken said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, so happy you had those 28 years. Your story of love has brought me to tears again, I will promise you this, your words will find me praying a prayer of thanks for all I have been given, a prayer of thanks for your son, who's story has made me so very appreciative of all God has given me today and the folks I have to share it with. God Bless You my Friend, on this sad day, you are a very good man!

A Modest Scribler said...

Thank you for the kind words, Ken.

Thanks to a gracious God time dulls the pain and somehow gives us the strength to bear it.

The problem with losing a child is that, from the day they pass your life is never the same. The sky is never as blue, nor grass as green, and there is never again that boundless joy that one sometimes feels as they travel through life...there's always that rain cloud hovering just over your shoulder.

Again, thanks.

Anonymous said...

A post well said, but not just for you. Not just for your son. Well said because it reminds all of us what is really important and for that I thank you. Ed

FLYING GOATROPER said...

What a happy little boy! How did he die so young? At 28? Life is so long and so short at the same time.

Brian Kalifornia said...

Sorry for your loss. Your right, time is the only thing to dull the pain. Bless your family and son.

Brian Kalifornia said...

Sorry for your loss. Your right, time is the only thing to dull the pain. Bless your family and son.

Jerry Carlin said...

Forgive me for being speechless.
I cannot even comprehend such grief.

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks to all of you for your kind words, and thank you for allowing me to indulge in an extremely personal and painful time in my life.

I do it to honor my son...but also so that we can all be reminded of life's fragility and the importance of always expressing your love while you still have the chance.

Carol said...

I'm rather stuck for words, as there's a lump in my throat. I'd do and give anything for my 3 children and I know you would do the same for your own. I cannot begin to comprehend your pain. A beautifully written piece.

Anonymous said...

Glad I didn't read this at work. Beautiful words. Going to go hug my boys now.

Jilly

A Modest Scribler said...

Carol and Jilly; the one comfort we've had is those last months were glorious...I don't know how to explain it but it was as if our creator, as "puppet master" had us locked into a "swirl of joy", a veritable feast of love knowing that HE was going to take him from us.
Even a quiet dinner at home, with all of us sharing the experiences of our day, was magical...and we knew it!...had no explanation for it as we were living it..but oh so grateful that only words of healing, and of love were uttered in those final days.
So that, with the crushing, heart rending loss we had a small bit of 'flotsam' to cling to; that we had time to express our mutual love over and over, so that nothing was left unsaid.

Frank said...

I'm tearing up for you right now because I know how it feels. My first son was still born and I grieved like at no time in my life. I've lost a Brother, a Mother and a Father but not having my first son was a crusher. So, count your Blessings that you had 28 wonderful years of memories to draw on. I wish I had them.

A Modest Scribler said...

Thank you, Frank. Peace be upon you.

Ken said...

I have read this beautiful tribute more than once. Your love for your Son IS quite obviously very great.

This column brought tears to my eyes again, just like the first time I read it. I can't even begin to imagine the pain you and your family must feel. I will offer my prayers up for you, your Son and your Family. Your Son was most fortunate to have had you for a Father. I've said it before, you're a good man!

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments, Ken.

melissa hickok said...

Thank you for including me in your memory of the last Christmas we had with John.

A Modest Scribler said...

Of course, Melissa! Peace be upon you on this day.

Greg said...

Did John Boy die of cancer? I am losing friends fast now many to cancer but we are in our 60's not 20's or 30's.