Taken Up

Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest,
lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up.
— Henry David Thoreau

Early this morning I visited Stroud Preserve, a frequent place to visit and immerse in nature, and a respite of mine for many years. Zach liked it there too. I captured this photo of a lone Monarch butterfly, its wing a bit tattered, but still keepin’ on. The butterfly as you may know has some very powerful symbolism to life, and death. I thought of how Zach managed for many years with a tattered wing, but kept on, until he no longer could. Or rather, the addiction left him unable to fly any longer. The Thoreau quote is from the guest book of Zach’s memorial service. I wept when I read it today. Hugs and love to all of those who walk this path.


Life’s Energy

Wildlife, especially birds, brings forth an energy that I think goes beyond their own wild lives.  I suppose I have sensed this more since the death of my son, for when I see a bird, I find a sense of joy that clearly mirrors times with my son. A life, joy, and energy that is universal, perhaps.

I’ve had many birds cross – er rather, fly – across my path this spring, some of which I’ve been fortunate enough to capture with my camera. Many are migratory, stopping by only briefly in their trek for some seed and a photo op 🙂

For Zach

For Zach

I came across your tiny
fleece mittens today
tucked back in a sock drawer
somehow, having gone unnoticed for this long

simple and fingerless
flat oval teal pods
I remember them well
such small hands
wriggling around, skin and fleece
together deciding who was softest

I thought of how old these mittens were
and how young you were
when you wore them
23 years old,
7 months young

I slipped two fingers in
to feel what your little hands felt
all those years ago
so cozy
so loved, you were
ours to dote on, our only little boy

we didn’t know then
of course
that you’d be gone
23 years later
we didn’t know then
that we wouldn’t ever slip
these same mittens
on your own son or daughter’s hand
one day

we didn’t know a lot of things, then
– anxiety, addiction, death
and never dreamed we’d only have you
for what feels like
just yesterday
putting mittens on your less than
1 year old hands.

we did know, in the end
the constant, the many things
of who you were
and who you always will be:

our amazing son
overflowing with such
genuine kindness,
a gentle,
radiant heart
and that now, you can fully
be that boy, be that man
unbound, in a world
I can only dream of,
a life in which I know you,
my beloved son,
are very much now



It is always the same, the story.

Love, sadness, regret.


Birthday lunch with my sister.

Tea and lazy afternoon.

Going to pick up Zach at work.

Seeing him walk across the parking lot towards my car.

He is high.

My stomach sinks, my heart races.

It is the worst feeling.

An addict son.

The disgust.

The anger.

The fear.

We were going to have birthday dinner together.


“What did you take” I say.

“Just an edible” he says.


We drive home, he nods off.

All droopy eyed and stoned.

Slurred speech.

I worry, what has he taken, what would happen if I took him to the ER?


He goes to his room.

I worry.

He is sleeping with the light on, 7pm.

Not sleeping, stoned sleeping.

I wake him, he bumbles down.

Scrounges for food.

I film him with my iPhone.

Last time, I said, “I am going to show you what you look like”

On drugs.

“What, I have a headache is all!” he says.


“Do you want to watch a movie” he says.

“No” I say.

I go to bed.

He goes to bed.


I did not hear him all night.

I make coffee.

Feed the birds.

Go to wake him.

Tap and open the door.

“Zach” I say.


“Zach” I say.

I know.

I see him, still.





He is dead.