Welcome to my blog. This being the first entry, let me sum up my life to date:

I was born and raised in Santa Monica, California, attended Venice High (class of '81). Found my first job and lost my virginity, both the same year, both on Venice beach. After a short stint in the military (it was an unhealthy relationship for both of us), I decided I'd had enough of military mindsets, and started listening to borrowed 45s of bands like the Dead Kennedys, X, Dead Milkmen (lots of death in punk band names...), and Social Distortion (years later, when their tune 'Story of my Life' hit Guitar Hero 3, I introduced the band to my middle son. He now has the song on his IPOD.

I returned to Los Angeles, gave myself a Mohawk, and scored work at Madam Wong's West, THE Santa Monica Club, where I watched new bands come up, like the Chili Peppers and Fishbone, and old rockers get drunk and puke in the parking lot. Once, I saw Telly Savalas there (star of TVs' Kojak) and he autographed my head with a Magic Marker. It was a bald head thing, you wouldn't understand.

Ah, memories... Wong's West in no more. History eats everything.

The next several years were a blur - I studied Hinduism, married a beautiful immigrant from Columbia, got divorced when it became clear she was PSYCHOTIC and DANGEROUS, escaped to Waikiki where I sold pearl jewelry to anyone with a credit card in the International Marketplace, and chocolate chip cookies to busloads of Japanese tourists at Hanauma Bay.

This is Hanuama Bay
This is a Chocolate Chip Cookie


I also ran a "Party Cruise" business. This entailed talking many beautiful women into paying me to help them get drunk on a boat, in the middle of Waikiki bay, while we watched the sun go down.

Now I manage a Dell technical support center in icy cold Utah.

What the flip happened to my life?

Actually, I left out a big chuck of stuff that answers the above question - the most important stuff in my life, really - my family.

Party cruising became a little too much "life in the fast-lane" for a guy over 21, so I headed off to Denver, met a girl (not on the cruise - a NICE girl), settled down, finished college, and had three kids, all boys (Kevin - 19, Jacksen - 14, and Ian - 9). moved to Utah.

Which leads me to the reason I decided to create this blog, and unfortunately signals the point where the tone of the dialogue gets serious.

In May of 2008, my youngest son, Ian, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was operated on and removed, but the cancer spread through his nervous system. All the radiation treatments in the world will not stop this terminal disease from taking my son away, and god knows we've tried. All he has left are a warehouse worth of medications to stop the tortuous pain that comes with cancer of the CNS (Central Nervous System), and the love and support of his family.

This is my documentation of the events as they unfold over the remaining few days/weeks of his all too short life. It is my catharsis, my journal, and with luck, will play a small role in the eventual emotional recovery of the loved ones that Ian will soon leave behind.

In many of the world's mythologies, there is a story of the world tree, the Axis Mundi, the doorway between death, life, and the afterlife. In Norse mythology, the tree is an enormous, evergreen Ash. My son's ancestors were Norse, so I borrow their myth to help me understand our current journey through an unreal reality. I hope you find the trip interesting and inspiring.

May you walk in peace for all of time, and may you, your children, and your loved ones live long, fulfilling, and exciting lives.

There is a world tree, a sacred ash which spans heaven and hell, and it is ever green...

Yellow House

When people are dying, they often report seeing a light in the darkness, and they want to go there to be with their family. The other day, Ian held up his hand, and told me he had found a Yellow House where we could live, and that I could go if I jumped into his hand. I asked him to tell me about the yellow house, and he said it was warm, and the light was soft. It was on an island, between a hill and the beach, and that Krishna made it for us. Then he tried to get me to jump into his hand, and he wouldn't let up - I just wasn't trying hard enough, he said.

It made me think he was seeing the light. I think he's getting ready to go. If this is what he sees when he's leaving us, then I'm so happy for him. I'll miss him, but I have to let him go to that Yellow House.

The next day, I wrote this song...

Yellow House

We played a game of I love you more
and you always won -
with a promise of love that was never ending
how could you know?

But I taught you always to keep your words
and it isn't fair
to hold you to that eternal tending
how could we see?

So we walked to the yellow house you kept in your hand
opened the door and stepped outside
on the silver beach we ran in the sand
played off the waves, swam through the tide

And watched a red sunset that I keep in my heart
I let go your hand and stepped inside
we walked our long roads home, apart
and we walked our long roads home…

I played a game of I love you still
and freed your soul
but no one can free what no one can own
how could I know?

You went to a place where I could not follow
and I let you go
but in your heart you are never alone
how could you see?

So we walked to the yellow house you kept in your hand
opened the door and stepped outside
on the silver beach we ran in the sand
played off the waves, swam through the tide

And watched a red sunset that I keep in my heart
let go your hand and stepped inside
we walked our long roads home, apart
and we walked our long roads home…

© Dirk Pierce 2009
Early in the morning of the 10th, my son stopped breathing. His eyes rolled upwards and in, and his skin took on the appearance of wax. I held him in my arms, and his body was limp as a rag. I knew he was dead.

My wife called 911. I did the only thing I knew, and breathed my own air into his lungs. I felt resistance for a moment, and then his lungs filled, like I was breathing into a leather bag. I looked at his face, and repeated the steps.

Ian's eyes focused with sudden clarity, and he breathed on his own.

I have the rare honor of having brought my child into this world twice. Whatever else comes from this ordeal, I will always feel blessed.

Death Rattle

Widespread understanding of the significance of the death rattle has led to its common use in literature.

She sank more and more into uneasy delirium. At times she shuddered, turned her eyes from side to side, recognized everyone for a minute, but at once sank into delirium again. Her breathing was hoarse and difficult, there was a sort of rattle in her throat.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment

In common parlance we call it a "death rattle." It is one of those terms that through use has passed into the realm of fantasy so that many no longer believe it is an actual biological phenomenon. In fact, it is. Forensics experts tell us that the death rattle is the result of involuntary spasms in the vocal box brought on by the increased acidity in the blood following death. The noise itself is alternately described as a loud bark or whooping rasp emitted by a victim sometime after death.
Steve Martini, The Judge

"If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business."
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Presently his fingers began to pick busily at the coverlet, and by that sign I knew that his end was at hand. With the first suggestion of the death rattle in his throat he started up slightly, and seemed to listen; then he said:
"A bugle?...It is the king! The drawbridge, there! Man the battlements!—turn out the—"
He was getting up his last "effect"; but he never finished it.
Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

"Next morning, around six o'clock, the servant entered the room with a candle. He found his master lying on the floor, the pistol beside him, and blood everywhere. He called, he touched him; no answer came, only a rattling in the throat."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "The Sorrows of Young Werther"

"Life, like a child, laughs, shaking its rattle of death as it runs."
Rabindranath Tagore

"I think I may have dropped off into a light sleep, but my senses were still wide awake, and I suddenly startled into intense consciousness by a hurried, angry sound, the most awe-inspiring sound anyone can hear, the Death Rattle." —
W. Somerset Maugham "The Razor's Edge"

"...but the baby's crying, and its death rattle were heard, and they were discovered."
Wladyslaw Szpilman "The Pianist"

A Far Green Country...


“No, the journey does not end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it. White shores, and beyond. A far green country under a swift sunrise”


My Dear Friends,

At 7:40 am, while listening to his favorite tape of spiritual music, and while surrounded by his family, my son Ian passed peacefully from this world into the next. I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for your prayers and support over the last several months of his illness. My family could not have made it through this time without that help.

Ian lives on in our hearts and memories, but his soul also lives on in a very real way. He is in a better place now than I can conceive, on an unimaginable adventure. Please do not grieve for him, or for those who do not yet follow on that adventure. This is a time to celebrate his life and his passing. It was his wish, and it is mine as well.

Day #1


Today is the first day I've woken up without my son Ian in my home. He is not at Grandma's house. He is not on a sleepover. He will never sit with me again. What did not hit me yesterday is hitting me today.

I feel lost. My boy is gone...

My boy is gone.

From here on its about survival.

Day #2 - Coping with Death, Grief, and Loss


I read this on the University of Iowa website, and wanted to share: (

What is Grief?
Grief occurs in response to the loss of someone or something. The loss may involve a loved one, a job, or possibly a role (student entering the workplace or employee entering retirement). Anyone can experience grief and loss. It can be sudden or expected; however, individuals are unique in how they experience this event. Grief, itself, is a normal and natural response to loss. There are a variety of ways that individuals respond to loss. Some are healthy coping mechanisms and some may hinder the grieving process. It is important to realize that acknowledging the grief promotes the healing process. Time and support facilitate the grieving process, allowing an opportunity to appropriately mourn this loss.

Common Reactions to Loss:
Individuals experiencing grief from a loss may choose a variety of ways of expressing it. No two people will respond to the same loss in the same way. It is important to note that phases of grief exist; however, they do not depict a specific way to respond to loss. Rather, stages of grief reflect a variety of reactions that may surface as an individual makes sense of how this loss affects them. Experiencing and accepting all feelings remains an important part of the healing process.

  • Denial, numbness, and shock
    This serves to protect the individual from experiencing the intensity of the loss.
    Numbness is a normal reaction to an immediate loss and should not be confused with "lack of caring".
    Denial and disbelief will diminish as the individual slowly acknowledges the impact of this loss and accompanying feelings.

  • Bargaining
    At times, individuals may ruminate about what could have been done to prevent the loss.
    Individuals can become preoccupied about ways that things could have been better, imagining all the things that will never be.
    This reaction can provide insight into the impact of the loss; however, if not properly resolved, intense feelings of remorse or guilt may hinder the healing process.

  • Depression
    After recognizing the true extent of the loss, some individuals may experience depressive symptoms.
    Sleep and appetite disturbance, lack of energy and concentration, and crying spells are some typical symptoms.
    Feelings of loneliness, emptiness, isolation, and self-pity can also surface during this phase, contributing to this reactive depression.
    For many, this phase must be experienced in order to begin reorganizing one’s life.

  • Anger
    This reaction usually occurs when an individual feels helpless and powerless.
    Anger may result from feeling abandoned, occurring in cases of loss through death.
    Feelings of resentment may occur toward one’s higher power or toward life in general for the injustice of this loss.
    After an individual acknowledges anger, guilt may surface due to expressing these negative feelings.
    Again, these feelings are natural and should be honored to resolve the grief.

  • Acceptance
    Time allows the individual an opportunity to resolve the range of feelings that surface.
    The grieving process supports the individual. That is, healing occurs when the loss becomes integrated into the individual’s set of life experiences.
    Individuals may return to some of the earlier feelings throughout one’s lifetime.
    There is no time limit to the grieving process. Each individual should define one’s own healing process.

  • Factors that may hinder the healing process:
    Avoidance or minimization of one’s emotions.
    Use of alcohol or drugs to self-medicate.
    Use of work (overfunction at workplace) to avoid feelings.

  • Guidelines that may help resolve grief:
    Allow time to experience thoughts and feelings openly to self.
    Acknowledge and accept all feelings, both positive and negative.
    Use a journal to document the healing process.
    Confide in a trusted individual; tell the story of the loss.
    Express feelings openly. Crying offers a release.
    Identify any unfinished business and try to come to a resolution.
    Bereavement groups provide an opportunity to share grief with others who have experienced similar loss.
    If the healing process becomes too overwhelming, seek professional help.

Death, The Final Stage of Growth. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1975 Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth
On Death and Dying. New York: MacMillan, 1969 Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth
When Bad Things Happen to Good People. New York: Schocken Books, 1981Kushner, H.S.

The Secret


"I believe that you're great, that there's something magnificent about you. Regardless of what has happened to you in your life, regardless of how young or how old you think you might be, the moment you begin to think properly, there's something that is within you, there's power within you, that's greater than the world. It will begin to emerge. It will take over your life. It will feed you. It will clothe you. It will guide you, protect you, direct you, sustain your very existence, if you let it. Now, that is what I know for sure."

Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith D.D.

Day #3 - What Ian was listening to as he passed...


We set up an Ipod to play the following songs non stop on his final day. This was his favorite spiritual tape, and is considered a classic in our family, because it reminds Joie and I of our time in San Francisco. We listened to this tape often. A lot.

More than you think :)

There were a good 15-20 songs on the tape we had looping, but when we knew Ian had passed, I listened in on the headphones to see if I could tell what was playing. The song is called "Govinda Jaya Jaya."

This is a song of great praise! "Jaya! jaya!" compares to "Hallelujah!"

Govinda, and Gopala are names of God in childhood form. Govinda means "protector of cows" and Gopala means "friend of the cows." To satisfy his devotees, God takes the form of a young child, tending the cows. He has many adventures in this form, fighting demons and playing games with the young boys and girls who also tend the cow herds. God encourages us to love him, as we would love a child, as we would love our own child. It is considered a very sweet form of God to serve, similar in the US to devoting oneself to the baby Jesus. We serve as parents or protectors, but with unconditional love.

Hari is the name of God that refers to his ability to steal the devotee's heart. Hari removes one from the earthly world of disease and death, bringing the devotee back to the heavenly realm, a place of eternal love and peace.

This song is in praise to Govinda! It is the last song Ian listened to. Here's the link:

If you have difficulty streaming the song, right-click on the link, chose Save Target As..and save to your hard drive. MP3s can be opened in a variety of audio players, including Windows Media Player.

Govinda Jaya Jaya
govinda jaya jaya, gopala jaya jaya, radha-ramana-hari, govinda jaya jaya

All glories to Lord Sri Govinda! All glories to Lord Sri Gopala!
All glories to Lord Sri Hari, the partner of Radharani,
All glories to Lord Sri Govinda!

Day #4 - Time, and Fresh Baked Bread


We've slept for the last three days. Friends from the neighborhood brought us food, until our food to kitchen ratio was strained. We literally had no place to keep another casserole, or loaf of home-baked bread.


So we asked everyone for a break, and some time. Joie still can't speak, but her breathing is getting easier. She promised she would start adding posts to the blog soon.

Jacksen (my 14 year old son) tested the waters and left a comment. The post he commented on is here:

I Can See The Sun


Yesterday, I had a realization. I'm not sure if this is healthy or not, but it brings me peace right now...

I mourn for myself and my family. I have lost someone, therefore I weep. Those closest to me are sad, therefore I weep. I do not cry for the world, because I don't know the world. Wars rage on, whole nations suffer, and there is no respite. I do not hurt for the world. I am no saint.

I cry because I suffer personally. It is a self-centered feeling. But why do I suffer?

I suffer because my entire recent life has been devoted to being a father. Now, my oldest son is about to become a father, my middle son is about to become an adult, and I have no one left to call me daddy. No one to climb on my back for shoulder rides, no one for me to teach how to hit a ball, and no one to watch the clouds with me, finding dragons and sailboats floating over our world.

So, about that realization....

Most parents watch their children grow up and become adults. Their personalities develop, their commitments change with the times, and their attentions are slowly diverted away towards friends and families of their own. Though Joie and I will never experience that journey with Ian, we do share a gift with other parents who have lost young children.

Our relationship with Ian is now preserved. He will ALWAYS be our sweet little 9 year old. He will always play "Shave and a Hair Cut" with his dad before bedtime, and he will always snuggle with his mom and tell her how pretty she is.

When we remember him, we will remember those sweet moments of Ian's childhood, and we will always be parents to that little boy. To me, that is a gift, because--while I mourn the loss of Ian--I find that I do not mourn for Ian. Ian is at peace, and I have no doubt he is with his Lord now. That is all a parent could ever hope for.

But as a person, as an individual, centered on myself, I find that things I mourn for on my own behalf, are things I have not really lost at all.

I opened the blinds today, for the first time since Ian passed. Whether the weather reflects my mood, or my mood reflects the weather, or both go on, independent of the other, I notice a change. Today, for the first time in days, it is not overcast. Today, for the first time, in days, the clouds have lifted, if only for a few minutes.

Today, however briefly, I can see the sun

Day #5 - The Daily Grind


Oh man I wish the title referred to the coffee of the day, but it does not. I'm back to work.

Back to work, where I've turned into a harsh task master. I recognise it, but I have little emotional attachment to trying to change it. Not all of my supervisors realize it yet, but the party is over.

I keep running songs through my head...16 Tons, Working in a Coal Mine, Back on the Chain Gang...

In fact, Back on the Chain Gang by the Pretenders hits hard.

I found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh
What hijacked my world that night
To a place in the past
Weve been cast out of? oh oh oh oh
Now were back in the fight

Were back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang

A circumstance beyond our control, oh oh oh oh
The phone, the tv and the news of the world
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell, oh oh oh oh
Threw sand in our eyes and descended like flies

Put us back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang

The powers that be
That force us to live like we do
Bring me to my knees
When I see what theyve done to you

But Ill die as I stand here today
Knowing that deep in my heart
Theyll fall to ruin one day
For making us part

I found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh
Those were the happiest days of my life
Like a break in the battle was your part, oh oh oh oh
In the wretched life of a lonely heart

Now were back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang


One day, I don't know when, but one day in a future I can't see yet, I'll make it through the day...

Day #6 - Blue Delphia


Today, Ian's body was cremated. This is the urn that we picked out for him. It is called the "Blue Delphia" keepsake. "Delphia" has multiple meanings, and is used both as a word to describe any female native to the town of Delphi, or as the word for "brotherly” or “friendly."

The town of Delphi was revered throughout the Greek world as the centre of the earth and the universe. In the inner hearth of the Temple of Apollo, an eternal flame burned. After the battle of Plataea, the Greek cities extinguished their fires and brought new fire from the hearth of Delphi.

Delphia – city of friendship, city of the eternal flame.

Day #7 - And The Blog Rested


God Rested on the 7th day. I'm not a foolish enough to think I can work any harder than God, so I'll rest a bit today, and refer you off to a blog I found where the author lists 7 different things every day. It's call "Lists Of 7 Things" Here's your link:

Take a 7 minute break today, you deserve it. In fact, take 7 of them...

Ok, I will present a small gift. A picture of Ian, before he got sick, that we decided to use for his obituary (which runs tomorrow). The text is for tomorrow's blog, the picture is for right now...

Day #8 - Obituary


Ian Baker-Pierce
Spanish Fork, Ut
11/26/99 - 1/14/09

At 7:40 AM, while listening to his favorite tape of Krishna devotional music, and while surrounded by his family, our Ian passed peacefully from this world into the next. Ian had a long, hard fight against cancer, but he never gave up the battle, and never lost his incredible spirit. Ian was so strong in life. He was like a little fish, and loved to swim anywhere he could. He loved jumping on the trampoline, then a quick rest to watch the clouds roll overhead. Ian also had strong character, and always stood up for the underdog. He'd rather play outside, even barefoot in the snow, than watch TV, and he often talked about how he looked forward to seeing Krishna one day. We just didn't know how soon that day would come.

Ian is survived by his immediate family: brothers Jacksen (14) and Kevin (19), his sister-in-law Mandi (19). Grandparents Lowell and Debbie Baker, Grandfather Frank Pierce, Uncle Ron Baker, Aunt Sherri Pierce, Aunt and Uncle Terry and Bill Strout, Great Grandparents Shirley and Gerry Gangelhoff, father Dirk (45), and his mother, Joie (35). Unfortunately, there is not enough space here to list all of the family and friends that will miss Ian.

Services will take place Sunday 1/25/09, at 3:30 PM, at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple, 8628 South State Road, Spanish Fork, Utah 84660, 801-798-3559. The service is open to the public, and will coincide with the regular temple program. There will be music, dance, philosophy, story-telling, and a delicious buffet style vegetarian feast. Dress is clean and casual. All are welcome! Donations to the family will be accepted at the service, or to the memorial fund for Ian Baker-Pierce at any Washington Mutual bank.
Ian, we miss you so much...

First blog Ian's passing


A little test to see if this will appear. My parents are coming in today. I will be glad because since I have had no voice I have not been able to talk to them and I know they are worried. I will be grateful to see my mom because I very easily could have lost a son AND a mother to cancer in a very short time.

Writing used to be quite an outlet for me, but I dont write like I used to. I miss it. I will try to write here but I am not one that goes on the computer everyday, not even to check email or the news. I get antsy in front of a computer most of the time. Maybe I just need a more comfortable chair ;.

The service will be this weekend. I doubt I will write for several days; a lot of stuff to plan for. Ian's teacher brought over this notebook that she is going to give me. It has letters to our family from Ian's classmates as well as other students in the school. Hearing these elementary school kids write about how fun and nice he was made me very happy. It also really touched my heart to see these young children write that he is in a better place now and we should try not to be sad. One girl wrote she knew he was watching us from Heaven, and a couple kids talked about how they had lost someone.

One little girl from his class, Tori, wrote a nice little note then circled two places at the bottom of the page and wrote "here is a tear" then off to the side "here is another tear" indicating where it fell onto the paper while she was writing the note. That one little thing seemed so deep to me, reminding me that kids often understand more than we give them credit for and although they may look and sound immature, sometimes their true depth of thought just shines through. Ian was that way himself. I have no doubt that if he had been in a class with a child in his condition, he would have been a friend to that person and would have written something like Tori did.

I am grateful that because of Ian and the service we will have for him, people will end up getting to visit Krsna when they may not have before. Then again, we know it's not by chance that people get to Krsna. I was looking at pictures of him today, when we were at the temple on Christmas day. As soon as he had gotten out of the hospital he said, "I want to go see Krsna." He kept asking and asking so we got him there as soon as we could. It is obvious that in his heart he knew he was going back home, and wanted to make sure he saw Krsna and that we needed to see him too. He is there singing, with his eyepatch, his oxygen, looking quite peaceful.

I can't begin to express how glad I am that he insisted we take him and that he was listening to devotional music when he passed away. I was awake and right there, for I just couldn't bring myself to go to sleep until it was daytime. It was very early morning, and I was going to wait for his medication dose to be done, go take a shower, then come back in and try to lay down with him and sleep. One second he was warm next to me, breathing shallow, pulse racing, but looking very peaceful. Next second, he had no pulse but his face was so serene and calm. I am eternally grateful that his passing was very peaceful and that I didn't miss it. I'm glad I waited for his dose to be done, even though I had no logical reason for doing so, because if I hadn't, then he would have passed away while I was in the shower and I would not have felt nearly as calm about him passing, I am sure. I am very grateful to Krsna that my baby was not alone when he passed. My first close experience with death, and it couldn't have gone any better. I am so very grateful for that, because I did not know how I would handle it. Since he was peaceful and passed away quietly, I don't fear death as much as I may have.

Much to plan. I have no idea when I will write again. The service will be lovely. I love you, Ian. Give Krsna a hug for me.



It has been closer to a week than not, since the last time we posted. Ian has had his service, relatives come and gone, friends showed from near and far away.

I've avoided writing because of the focus I've had to put into just getting through each day. Today or tomorrow I'll recap the week, and add a bunch of photos of Ian, in life and in death, and from his services as well.

stay tuned :)

Healing Old Wounds, Feeling New Wounds

It's been 3 1/2 months since Ian died. I have not been able to return to this blog during that time. I am not that strong. For much of that time, when I talked of Ian I used euphamisms - He "pased on" or "left us," or any other manner of means by which I could avoid the hardness and resolute nature of the truth.

Ian has died. At least, his body has. His soul lives on, I haven't changed my views on that. But the importance of accepting his death has come to me, with finality. Before I can get past this moment--this seemingly endless moment--in my life, I need to accept his death for what it is.

And still, I heal, if only slowly. My remaining sons heal, and Ian's mother heals. Everyone heals, but we all go through the process differently. For some people, those differences create great rifts in their relationships. Count my wife and I in with those numbers.

We have moved on, leaving our relationship behind. I hope it becomes a part of our healing, and not an impediment.

A Photo Journal - Warning: Disturbing Images


A while back, I promissed more pictures of Ian. This post is my first effort to make good on that promise.

Here's a link to a Photobucket Album, for those who like to browse slowly:
Photo Album

Or, to see the same images in a chronological series of slide shows, click the following links:
Slide Show #1
Slide Show #2
Slide Show #3
Slide Show #4

Thanksgiving, Ian's Birthday, and My Anger


I'm not having a good day. I read a thread on a forum I visit, about how someone had "the worst Thanksgiving ever" because their cat died.

Now I'm angry, because I want to jump on the thread and scream:

"MY SON DIED!! It's Thanksgiving, and my Ian's birthday, but he's not here because HE'S DEAD. F*ck your cat, I lost my son. He should be here to get presents today and eat turkey, but he can't, and never will, ever again."

Mine is the worst Thanksgiving, because I can't share it with my son, and because he can't enjoy another year of life, and ALSO because I hate myself for feeling so damn selfish that I can't allow someone else to feel grief.

I want the grief to be mine, and I want them to grieve for Ian.

I am NOT generous.

And so the first birthday without Ian, and the first Thanksgiving without Ian, simultaneously pass. Today, I don't feel like I've healed.

I just feel older

I had a dream yesterday


I dreamed that Ian was alive, and needed my help - in some indeterminate, fuzzy way that can only happen in a dream. He was leading me through some dark hallways, telling me "go here" or "go there" and in the end, we managed to accomplish whatever it was that he needed, and he gave me a hug. Then, still in the dream, he vanished, and I remembered that he had been dead for over a year. I realized that the whole endeavor had been in my imagination, and I began to cry. That's when I awoke from the dream.

Somehow, through all of that, I came away with a revelation - it is not my son's death that torments me. I feel the greatest loss I have ever felt because of that time, but that loss is not the source of the grief I still feel.

My real grief comes from watching my son die slowly, and knowing that there was nothing I could do to take away his pain. I feel like that knowledge has ripped out my sense of hope. Life is a game, and we all lose in the end, because we all die. We don't keep our money, our toys, our clothes or even our names. We get nothing from this game, and it takes everything from us.

What happens in the next political election is ultimately of so little importance that it might as well not happen at all. 100 years from now, or 100 * 100 years from now, our politics will be nothing but notes in a history book, or forgotten altogether, as will the details of our lives.

Why do we continue to play at a game that we are destined to lose? We should stop preparing for our future and begin preparing for our death.

The future is a mystery, death is inevitable. It is the only thing, other than birth, that every person on this planet shares. Whatever happens after death is the sum and reality of life. Do we face hell, or heaven, or reincarnation, or nothing? That is the only real question that I see worth answering.

How did I pull this thought from that dream? I don't know. Is it the message I should have taken? I can't answer that either.

But is it the truth?



I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry

Came over houses from another street.

But not to call me back or say good-bye;

And further still at an unearthly height,

O luminary clock against the sky.

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.

I have been one acquainted with the night

Voices of my Past


This is the voice of a ghost.

Not really, I made that up. This is a saved voicemail message of Ian from when he was about 3 years old. I don't know why we saved it for so many years. Maybe we knew. Before we left Utah, Jacksen recorded it onto the computer, and then we lost it. Today, we found it in an old email he had sent to himself.

Listen :)

Click above to play...