Seventeen years ago

Tomorrow it will be seventeen years since our son Paul died by suicide. Tomorrow my husband and I will visit his grave, leave a small stone, as we do every year on his birthday and death day. Today like all days is a time to reflect. I wrote the following poem a few years after he died. It is included in my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide.

Yes, we have survived all these years, but the grief has never gone away.

Our son Paul who died in 1999

Our son Paul who died in 1999

I’ll Always Remember

I’ll always remember he slept without closing his eyes all the way
I’ll always remember he walked fast and way ahead of us
I’ll always remember he had long, thick, black eyelashes surrounding clear blue eyes
I’ll always remember he played the piano, legs crossed at the knees, leaning way down over the keyboard
I’ll always remember he liked to wear second-hand clothes and didn’t mind if they were ripped
I’ll always remember the way he stood at the pantry door munching almonds
I’ll always remember he liked to climb—trees, rocks, up the highest diving boards
I’ll always remember he was meticulous about his things
I’ll always remember he could play almost any tune by ear
And that he was always a loner
And how much he loved Janet
And wasn’t hugged enough after she left him
I’ll always remember he was sensitive
I’ll always remember he drove too fast and erratically
I’ll always remember he got lots of parking tickets
I’ll always remember he was in love with John Lennon
I’ll always remember he liked Doc Marten shoes
I’ll always remember he tapped his foot when he sat down
I’ll always remember seeing him on the stone stoop drinking coffee at Starbucks
I won’t ever forget the feel of his cool pale skin the last night I saw him
Or the sound of his voice
I’ll always remember his hair was thick
I can’t forget he knew all the nursery rhymes by the time he was two
I’ll always remember that he and his brother called the back of the station wagon, “the really back”
I’ll always remember he loved to fish.

eBook Cover

eBook Cover

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