We’re planting a tree in Kevin’s memory. Soon we’ll meet as a family for a final duty to our son and brother and uncle. I won’t be able to talk at the time, I’m aware of what grief does to me. But I can write, and so I put together on paper the things I won’t be able to say. Someone may read the words or I’ll just pass out copies. But this is my farewell.


Kevin didn’t ask for much. He was much more patient than I would have been during those final years.

But this place was his home during that time, and this yard was the view he saw when he looked out of his window. It’s appropriate that we plant a tree here that will bloom in spring as a remembrance of Kevin.

Shortly after he went into the nursing facility he asked me, “Dad, can you take me home?”

I had to say no. It broke my heart. I still can’t think of it without breaking down.

I think what Kevin was really asking was if I could halt the progression of the disease, take him back to the time a few days before when he could still get out of bed and into the wheelchair with my help. But I couldn’t. I think Kevin understood then that he wouldn’t be going home again.

And day by day, the disease progressed. Kevin became weaker, but even as he began to slip away he always welcomed us and had a good word for the people he met. His brothers came to visit him with their families, as did some of his friends. He was happy to see them, to know he hadn’t been forgotten.

Friday afternoon he began to weaken. For the first time, he didn’t recognize us when we went to visit him Saturday morning. Just after noon on March 16th, Kevin’s body followed the person we loved into death.

And finally I was able to bring him home.

Today we met as a family to spread his ashes around the tree we planted in his memory. They’ll be here forever, near the redbud tree outside the window that was his viewport on the world during those last few years.

He won’t be forgotten.

Welcome home, Kevin.


4 Responses to “Kevin”

  1. Charles Fischer Says:

    I can understand your pain and severe grief. No one can say how you feel and understand how the loss you have is so soul strippingly agonizing without having lost someone that is the very heart of you.
    I can understand that feeling and wish you the best and hope that you can come to embrace the good times and the love your son had for you.
    Remember as long as he is in your heart he is never gone.
    Love to you and your family in this time of pain and grief.

  2. cawhiteman Says:

    Jack, that is a beautiful eulogy. I am grateful that you have told this tale in this and your other post “reinventing Myself, part four”. Since I first heard the news I have been wondering how everything went down but could not bring myself to ask out of fear of invoking more pain or having my intentions misinterpreted. I wanted to know the last part of Kevin’s tale to establish closure as a friend. Never until this had I felt regret for having left New Mexico. I wish I could have helped Kevin more while I still lived there or stayed in touch or had a chance to visit with him one more time. There is nothing else I can that has not already been said, so I will wish you peace.

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