The last picture of Andrew at home, sitting by his new fire pit.I sit outside in Andrew’s garden as the flowers are all dying. I remember planting them just a few short months ago, and watching them grow and flourish, just as I did with my son. I watered them, took care of them, protected them from the elements, and they flourished, just as I did with Andrew. They were beautiful and full for so long, as was he. They gave other peace and comfort when they sat here amongst their beauty.

Now, they are gone. Nothing I could do, nothing I could do to protect them, nothing I could have done to save them. They, like my son are now gone. The flowers, like all grieving parents children, are gone. We took care of them, we nourished them, we guided them to grow, but now they are gone, and we grieve.

We must now face winter. It is cold, dark and barren. As many of our hearts are. Nothing grows, the days are short, the nights are long, almost unbearable.  For we must now face the winter of our lives without our children. And just like winter, we have no idea how cold it will be, or how long it will last.

For us, all of us, this winter will be cold and long. And like grief, we can’t get around it, we can’t climb over it or go under it – we have to face it and deal with it. We will each deal with winter in a different way, as we do with our grief. Some of us hide and cry, and keep interactions to a minimum – we feel we must grieve alone. For others, we reach out, we ask why, we go to support groups. We need to hear from others that we will be okay one day.  Some of us start  foundations. We need to feel we can prevent other parents from suffering the loss we have suffered. We will all do something – and if we even do nothing, that is still our way of doing something.

We all deal with our own winters in our own way. That is what we need to do. But, we will all make it through winter, as we will make it through our grief. One day we will smile again. One day we will plant again and see flowers. One day we will see spring and we will know we made it through this winter, we know we will survive our grief. How long or how cold will winter be? How dark and how long will the nights be? We don’t know, no one knows. But we will make it through, we will see spring one day.


The last picture of Andrew and Todd. The last of hundreds of pictures of them living their lives and growing up together.


The very last picture of Andrew. He was truly happy in Boulder, and fit in there so well.

4 thoughts on “Autumn

  1. Janie

    I’m here for you and Dorothy and Nicole. Your writing is powerful; now and again I relate to snippets. You once asked for a name for a foundation you planned to begin. How about Andrew’s Garden, which will nurture other kids and help them flourish.

  2. Susan Wallace

    Good morning, Perry. I apologize for being absent for your last few posts. I was going through a difficult time, but now the sun is peeking through and things are somewhat easier. I, too, dislike the winter, short days, long nights… More time to reflect. But as you mentioned, this too shall pass.

    As always, your words are beautiful as are your thoughts. Your strength never ceases to amaze me… Yes, you are incredibly strong. This blog is helpful to me. I know it is helpful to you, and nothing I can say will take away your pain, yet when I read these posts, it puts you in the forefront of my thoughts… Remember that we are here for you, in any way you need us.

    Andrew’s garden will bloom again, winter will pass and life will go on. I hope you find moments of peace…

  3. Sally

    I really needed to read your post this morning, Perry, as exactly a year ago today is the last time I was with my Jill. At this difficult time, your encouraging assurance that the winter will pass and the beautiful flowers will flourish again has consoled me and lessened the paina bit for which I thank you!

  4. Rita Griffin

    I discovered your blog this evening, & enjoyed it very much, because I can relate. My grand daughter & I planted sunflowers this year. They grew 8 feet tall & had huge pods on them. We couldn’t wait to see the dinner plate sized bloom! Then… right before it bloomed, it broke off, from it’s own weight. Then another, the same. I tried to tie them up, bracing them & even sweet talking them. Then another. At last I was angered. Why God why, do you let it grow up so healthy & strong, watch me nurture it, & praise you for it… only to let it fall, right before it is to be all it was going to be!? Then I realized that I wasn’t really all that upset over the flowers. It was my beautiful daughter who grew to almost 26 yrs old, battled opiate addiction 5 years, was clean 9 months & then relapsed after a brutal attack, & she was gone. It has been 2 & 1/2 years since that very last hug from her. I know in my heart that I will miss her & long for her company as long as I live, until we meet again on the other side. I am so alone in this, in my little world. Everyone acts like she never existed & avoid me like I’ve got some weird contagious disease. You know, kinda like we look at strangers in a wheelchair… We look at them & think, oh God how horrible that must be, hope it never happens to me or someone I love! But we don’t run over to them & say something because we don’t want to offend them with our compassion, insult them with our ignorant pity. Maybe remind them of how messed up they might be. Ironic isn’t it? Well maybe they might need a cheerleader, I know I sure do. I need somebody, ANYBODY to tell me how great I’m doing. How far I’ve come & how proud she would be of me for it. I need to hear that I’m a heck of a trooper & that it will only get easier as I allow myself to patiently learn to live without her presence that I was so accustomed to for 25 plus years. God bless you all. So sorry for your loss Perry. <3 I'm looking forward to your future posts. & by the way… I think YOU are doing GREAT! Expressing yourself & feelings in a way that is beneficial to others feeling the same. GO PERRY GO!!!


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