A Grief Conserved

I cry a little every day.
Veterans told me sending him
off to college would be hard but
I did not expect to feel forsaken.
Parting’s sweet sorrow? Like hell.
No, its more a coarse sawing
much like when that hiker had to
amputate his arm in order to free
himself. That’s how this feels –
cutting away the firstborn’s life
from tight family formations.
He has long now been not only
my only boy but my right hand.
The humbling boon of a son who
has also grown to be my friend.
But it must be, and will be well. Still
I cry a little every day.

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  1. mike graves on August 17, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Of course,I wasnt there when you left bro David and Anna, but I bet the best cow on our place,they cried
    Knowing your family,I bet he cried
    And God bless yall

  2. Patricia @ Pollywog Creek on August 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    This. It will make my husband cry, but I’ll show it to him anyway. He knows this so well. So do I. Thank you.

  3. Brandee on August 17, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I have three years to prepare for this day. I need a lot more therapy before then. Possibly meds. We would not want them not to go. Even so. Thinking of you.

  4. wynnegraceappears on August 17, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I have lived this and in some ways l am living it still. You tell of the fracturing of a parent’s spirit well. Healing of the broken can and will come. My youngest just started her sophmore year of college. The silence? It is heavy. But we are learning to dance and sing again. The song is a new one.

  5. pastordt on August 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Oh, yes. The wrenching. Ultimately, it is a good, necessary, healthy one, but in the beginning? It hurts. A lot. Bless you – and him.

  6. Michele Morin on August 17, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Yes, we’re in the midst of the second wrenching, and my grown-up self is thrilled for him. He has roots and wings, and his bedroom sits empty waiting for him to visit, but oh . . .

  7. Rebekah on August 17, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I cried a little reading this.

  8. chiestand on August 18, 2015 at 12:37 am

    John this is beautiful. I prided myself on being OK when my first son went to college. I was in a good place bymy counts but I missed the depth of feeling and I think he did too. I leArned from my parents to Be philosophical about life. Accept it and what not. I suspect losing two children (they were to lose one more) was how they coped. I learned well. Now I am unlearning.

  9. agjorgenson on August 18, 2015 at 2:43 am

    My God it hurts. Three times. But I see them in the birds’ flight and each call is a homecoming of sorts.

  10. patriciaspreng on August 18, 2015 at 3:00 am

    yes… such sorrow deep inside, the coarse sawing… but, it will bring you to a deeper friendship, still.

  11. prasanta on August 18, 2015 at 7:39 am

    I’m there. First-born. Identifying well with that coarse saw. And understanding what someone else wrote above about the silence being heavy. Feeling like limbs being torn off all the while knowing there is a new tree growing and sprouting and blossoming and what a beauty it is growing to be. There is no how-to guide for hurts like this…Just cry every day.

  12. Jeri McFadden on August 18, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    There’s good medicine in calling your parents, and understanding they, too, felt that sawing.

  13. LL on August 23, 2015 at 1:53 am

    This is how I felt last year, sending off my daughter as a freshman. Probably will feel this way again in about 48 hours…

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