Purple Lilac Cluster in Bloom in Spring, photographed for My Forever Son: Chronicling Grief, Hope, and Healing After Losing My Son to Suicide, "Matins-Reflections on Hope After Loss" and "Loving Him Past His Pain"
Purple Lilac in Bloom in Spring, My Forever Son

Loving Him Past His Pain

October Shadows

A gorgeous fall afternoon, early evening
Sun slants wide
Shadows cast and scatter across a stone wall

Oh that I could have loved him past his pain.

Walked a bit ago to the cul-de-sac and then down to the field, following the sun, finding the sun shadowing me, feeling the sun trailing behind. Warm still, though only 60 and chilly. Dropping.
But this is how it goes, is it not? For tomorrow, warmer and by week’s end up into the mid-70’s. But a cooler feel to the air, to the sun, to these days filled with leaves.

Winter is never easy. Depression descends when skies color gray. Days drip with nature falling. Leaves. Limbs. Shedding. Casting off. Letting go a season of growth. Following a rhythmic flow not entirely our own.
A beautiful melancholia of a chorus arranged by angels and a god who loves. Tucking in. Turning in. Turning over. Letting go. Relinquishing. Yielding. Breathing out. Settling in and holing up as days grow shorter.

Ghost Memories Swirl Everywhere, My Forever Son

The Color Orange

Orange Little Pumpkins and Green and White Gourds in a Round Wicker Basket on a Wood Table, photographed for My Forever Son: Chronicling Grief, Hope, and Healing After Losing My Son to Suicide, "Loving Him Past His Pain"
Pumpkins and Gourds in a Wicker Basket, My Forever Son

I have been missing Dylan dearly. Deeply. Painfully so. Achingly so. It’s the holidays—October, Halloween, costumes, the big bowl of candy by the front door, Dylan’s friends in costume and the three of them trick-or-treating, seeing Dylan grow, change.

The color orange. His second grade “fall book parade” where each student in his class chose to be a character from a book. Chuckie from “The Rugrats.” Halloween parties and cupcakes. Volunteering in the elementary school library. Picking him up from school.

I wasn’t ready to let go. How could I? He was my one and only, the child I loved and protected. My son.

And I couldn’t keep him safe.

I Want to Believe, My Forever Son


Tomorrow remembers once-upon-ago. Gorgeous fall day. Bear Farms. My dad still here. Pumpkins and gourds. Red and gold for colors. Promises on a wing. Forever it seemed.

Music and Dylan together woven into music right down to his beginning. Music conservatory, the diligence of practicing scales and arpeggios, strings wearing grooves in my fingers, art and love in my heart.

Songs for Child Loss, My Forever Son

Oh my angel, Oh my dove, On wings that haunt, I send you love

I felt happy. Or sick and happy. Pregnancy and I did not get along well. Now I understand why, though not then.

April 17th, his due date. A sturdier month. A more hope-filled month. Spring more than mud. Sun more than sopping rains. Warmth more predictable than onslaught of cold, damp, chilly weather for days on end. The difference between March 19th (He Came Too Soon) and April 17th seems short, though oh so much in terms of hardiness and hope. His. My own.

Red Roses Arch Against Stone Wall, My Forever Son, "Loving Him Past His Pain"
I Will Seek Until I Find You

And where will you run when arms reach 
(but you’re not mine)
When I can feel still so strongly 
(holding you still in my arms)
From here frantic I search wildly 
(but cannot ever now find)
Little one in pictures 
(trying hard for one so young)

Standing, but not steady, little hand tucked inside mine
Holding on together climbing moonbeams to the stars
Once upon a time ago—forever 
in my mind
I thought us both impervious 
(Against the ravages of time)

Oh little one where art thou
Whence I call you once again
Dearest child, still my child on earth
(in a world so vast and big)
You've gone where I can't find you
(and seek still that which did exist)

If God can hear prayers from below 
(and you can see me now)
Please know I miss you terribly
(and will seek until I find)
A way to hold you yet again
(your hand yet still tucked in mine)

When fire moon red bloodies 
Little star that once was mine
Deepest blue on blackest night 
(I will seek until I find)
Little one beside me
 (your hand tucked inside mine.)

© Beth Brown, 2022

Loving Him Past His Pain

I wish I could have loved him past his pain. Loved him past addiction and ache. I wish I could have saved him. But I could not. Did not. Could not. I couldn’t save what he threw away, which in the end, winded up being everything. His body, his talent, his mind, his brain. He damaged all parts of himself to the point of an oblivion from which I couldn’t retrieve him.

He went where he knew I would not be. Could not be. Was not. And in his fleeing me, his search for self took him into a darkness I will never know.

Beth Brown, My Forever Son, Loving Him Past His Pain

But the depression was there all along. I wish I had seen that. Loved him past a pain that told him to go. But darkness haunts me too. Exhaustively so. Always on the edges frayed, always around the corner of all the chapters of my life. I’ve been trailed, marked, and haunted by depression all these years. Bottle-necked. Jammed. Clustered. Stuck in the neck of a bottle I can neither get into nor out of. Trying so hard to live balanced in glass.

And so tonight, I feel this ache. I miss family. My family. My life from then, which is still yet now, though empty–the tangible current of love through touch, scent, taste, activity, life shared and lived parallel, lost forever to what I will never find here. I find this devastating some days. Today, I find its sadness. If only I could have loved him past his pain.

5 Years, Infinite Tears, My Forever Son

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