Living with Grief. One Father's Journey

animal portraits

Back on March 18, 2013, my youngest son, Ethan, took his own life.

I have two sons. Justin is the oldest. Ethan was the youngest. He was just over 20 years old as he was away at college at the time.

And the event was devastating. My world… our world- was shattered.

Since then, I have grieved. I have tried to heal. I have tried to stay out of the darkness. I have looked for hope. I have sought health and resisted the urges of isolation, anger, and bitterness, addiction, and pity. It is in its own way, still a function of my love for my son… grief. So to cast his life in some positive light… to make something good from grief- it is an act of will. It is a set of decisions and mindset made daily.

Since then I have kept busy. I have gone back to…

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Imprints by Paul Foster

East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines

An old man’s thought of school.

An old man gathering youthful memories and blooms that youth itself cannot.

Now only do I know you

O fair auroral skies—

O morning dew upon the grass!

And these I see, these sparkling eyes, these stores of mystic meaning, these young lives

Building, equipping like a fleet of ships, immortal ships, soon to sail out over the measureless seas

On the soul’s voyage. 

Only a lot of boys and girls?

Only the tiresome spelling, writing, ciphering classes?

Only a public school?

Ah more, infinitely more;

…And you America, cast you the real reckoning for your present?

The lights and shadows of your future, good or evil?

To girlhood, boyhood look, the teacher and the school.


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City Terrace Postcard

East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines

It’s 10 PM Rocha, in a cold wind you stand guard, sentinel from the old days,

standing in the shadows on the front steps of City Terrace Elementary,

but I catch your silhouette from the street light on the corner of CT & Eastern, as I drive by like I usually do, Rocha,

I see you like I always do, Jack in the Box drink on the top step, all chubby (the same age as me) now, your face taut and thick

your ponytail gone thin, gray and straggly down your back, it’s cold staring at the Eastern Avenue traffic in the dark—

but you got a thick black jacket and a steely look on your face, as if to say, “Yeah, they shot me and so what? I’m still here.”

They shot you, Rocha, and so what, you’re still here—but does your mom know where you are? She was…

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