Wish you were here

Today is my son’s birthday. His father made this video slideshow.

I put this slideshow together with the few digital photos I have. Most of my pictures of Nehemiah are print photos. I am starting the long process of scanning hundreds of them.

Nehemiah Owen McKinsey
Born January 7, 1978
Died May 11, 2009

It is only because of our misunderstanding that we think the person we love no longer exists after they “pass away.”  This is because we are attached to one of the forms, one of the many manifestations of that person. The person we love is still there. He is around us, within us, and smiling at us.
~~~~~~Thich Nhat Hanh

This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies all manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide and seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave goodbye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We will always be meeting again at the true source, always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.
~~~~~~ Sutra “Given to the Dying” from the Anguttara Nikaya

And at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
~~~~~~T.S. Eliot

Just as a mother would protect with her life her own son, her only son, so one should cultivate an unbounded mind towards all beings and loving kindness towards all the world.
~~~~~~Thich Nhat Hanh 

I am not a bit tamed….I am untranslatable
I depart as air….I shake my locks at the runaway sun.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

~~~~~~~~~Walt Whitman

27 responses to “Wish you were here

  1. That was beautiful. I’m sorry for your loss.

  2. Very touching tribute. I am so sorry you lost your son. The pain never leaves, you just learn to adapt your life to it. I have lost a child too.

  3. californiacruisin

    Nothing exceeds the loss of a child. There is a special cruelty in out-living your child. I learned that when my brother was killed in a car accident and watched my mother grieving his death over the next 45 years. I’m so sorry for your loss. I think your tribute to Nehemiah is beautiful, and I thank you for sharing his tender, young life with us.

    • Our son, 17 at the time, worked for a man in his late 40’s who died from cancer. At the funeral, this man’s mother said to me with a broken heart, “Parents not supposed to outlive their children.” At the time, I remember agreeing with her – but only with the knowledge I knew then…which was no real understanding of what it’s like to lose a child and subsequent learning to live without that precious child.

      That same son of ours, at the age of 19, was broadsided by a drunk driver going more than twice the speed limit. Both he and his best friend died instantly. I now know the awful cruelty of outliving a child and trying to learn to live without our precious boy. It’s not an easy journey, and my heart goes out to anyone on that particular path…because now I really DO have the understanding of what it’s like to lose a child.

      • Heartfelt words, thank you on behalf of sis who is traveling right now. I am so sorry you lost your son – you left a wonderful description of him on your blog. I hope your eyes are sometimes not sad – he would want them to smile at times, too.

  4. I’m sure you experience your son’s presence around you daily. I now find the ‘coincidences’ in my life very comforting knowing that my loved ones are just a thought away. Thank you for sharing these touching affirmations of life’s game of hide and seek.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss.
    My day to morn is Nov. 10, Jan Toma’s birth and Nov. 15, the day he died.
    We have very few pictures from the NICU but I treasure them. I make a small cake every year, to celebrate a life and to cheer me up.
    I will be thinking about you and your husband today.

  6. Miss him!

  7. What a nice tribute to an all-too-short life; bless this day of remembrance. It was uplifting, however, to see the evolution of your family through the pictures.

    Somehow, Perilous, I pictured you as younger, a Gen-Yer. I suppose that’s because the humor of this blog reveals how young at heart you really are.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss.

  9. I’m crying with you today as I did in ’09. The photos of your beautiful Nehemiah brought smiles, too. I love the picture with the flower behind his ear, feeding a squirrel. The third photo in your slideshow stood out: in the rain with all the energy orbs…the biggest centered on Nehemiah. Thank you for letting us share your grief and love. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  10. K, There’s nothing I can say, but I would if I could.

  11. Perhaps they are not the stars,
    but holes in Heaven
    where our loved ones can look down
    and let us know that they are happy.

    Inuit Song

  12. californiacruisin

    I went back and read old postings on your other blog. It sounds like you have been denied the joy of visiting your grandchild. If that is so, you do know that California has pretty strong laws regarding grandparents’ rights, don’t you? I hope you have found some way to live with this horror.

    • Years ago my grandson was frequently “missing,” so I got to spend very little time with him, but in recent years his mom grew up, sort of. Now it is mostly logistics and mom not making the effort. He only lives 2 hours away, but their phone changes regularly, and mom never calls when they come to town. Having never bonded deeply with my sweet grandson, who is now a bright teenager, I find it difficult to spend the hours it takes to chase them down and arrange something. All of us are guilty. I never really felt a part of his life, and now we are fairly stilted with each other the few times we do spend time together. I don’t have jet skis and motorcycles to ride, like when his dad took him to visit his grandpa. We are semi-strangers. He gets along well with my little sister, but she lives far away. She has always gotten along well with kids and teenagers. Me, not so much. I have no idea what to do with a teenage boy.

      • Most of my students are teenage boys. Believe me, they love to talk about the silly things they have done. It doesn’t take much prompting once they get started. Give a boy a penny, and he can entertain himself for an hour. Girls? Not so much. Watch “Ridiculousness” with him or even Funniest Videos.

  13. That was a lovely tribute. It would break my heart to lose of my kids too. I don’t know where you live, but did I see one of the pictures of Nehemiah at Sandy Beach in Douglas?

  14. I am so sorry about the loss of your son. That was a touching tribute with one of my favorite songs, brought a tear to my eye.

  15. It’s painful to remember. I never see your other name without thinking of Nehemiah.

    I believe in my heart that you’ll hold him again.

    • Last night I dreamed that he came to see me. We hugged and I told him I loved him and wanted him to stay. He said he couldn’t and then he was gone. It felt so real to hold him in my arms.

      • I had a similiar experience with my late wife. I truly think it was her visiting me to let me know that she is ok and she is still with me in spirit, hope you can think of it the same way.

  16. While our circumstances may change, the love goes on. I’m glad you were able to have dream-time with him.

    As the Irish say when someone has died, “Tá sé in áit na fírinne anois.” Literally this means, “He is in the place of truth now.”

  17. What a beautiful and moving tribute to your son. Sending you virtual hugs.

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