Out beyond the silence of eternal night,

within the void of voiceless echoes,

between the folds of dark and light.

In somber streams of starlight.

In the waves of ebb and flow.

Heaven exceeds eternal planes.

Though, it remains closer then we know.

There was a time when the stars were a great source of inspiration and contentment for me. Their slow, predictable progression seemed to calm some of the anxiety brought on by a chaotic world. The incomprehensible distances and incalculable numbers were a humbling reminder of my insignificance. While at the same time, the vastness and complexity made me feel as if I was a part of something great.

It recently occurred to me that over the last six months, since my son’s death, I have not acknowledged a single star, and even the moon has escaped my view. Which, to be honest doesn’t surprise me, considering my mood has been steadily waning. The death of my son not only decimated my world, it enveloped every aspect of my life.

My universe imploded the moment his heart ceased to beat. So, now when the galaxy does cross my mind, it only perturbs me. Because, it no longer exacts a sense of awe, nor does it bring me any peace. It only serves to remind me that the singularity of an individual is expounded by the gravity of death. And, that the loss of a child is beyond the scope of any conceivable horizon.

I can only describe it as black hole of sorrow in which every emotion is compressed and compounded in the vacuum of grief. It is an inescapable vortex that drags me down and wears me thin.

I don’t think anyone would dispute that our children are the center of our emotional cosmos. My world certainly revolved around my son. When that hope is extinguished, you live in perpetual oblivion where nothing sparks your interest or distracts you from your pain.

In some strange way, it’s disheartening to see that the world is persevering, and that the heavens are unchanged. It’s so contrary to what we are going through. Even if the stellar array were suddenly extinguished, it would not compare to what we have already experienced. In fact, it might give us some comfort. Because, only something of that magnitude could begin to convey to others the horror and isolation that we are enduring on a daily basis.

But, despite the fact that I am overwhelmed by the bleakness of my own encroaching future, I am compelled to make an attempt to turn the darkness into something we can all reflect on.

The lack of physical interaction does not detract from the effect that our children have on our lives. In fact, it enhances them greatly. Clearly, love is still the most powerful force in the universe. It transcends death and grows exponentially with each passing moment. The tears of loss refract the full spectrum of bliss, through which we can envision all that should have been. One day, we will look beyond the darkness and see that only such an intense source of joy could have brought such pain to light.

My love eclipses the sun in both mass and intensity.

It is not diminished in the evening,

nor does it rise at dawn.

It is infinitely brilliant and all encompassing.

It is so boundless that it defies the limits of comprehension and exceeds all expectations.

It so great that it envelops my every thought,

and surpasses means of measure.

Somehow, it overwhelms the void that your absence produces, and diminishes the relevance of time.

It propels me through my bleakest moments,

and sets my mind adrift.

Even now, when my hope is exhausted

and my longing is unfathomable,

your effect on my life is undeniable and astounding,

awe inspiring and incredibly influential.

You are the light of my life, I will forever delight in calling you my son.

(A tribute to Brandon French 5/24/92-8/16/09)

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John French

My name is John French. I was born in January of 1968. I own and operate a small remodeling company in Highland, MI. My wife Michelle and I married very young and we celebrated our 20th anniversary in May of 2009. We had two amazing children: Veronica, who is 20, and Brandon, who was 17. We worked very hard to build a life that would afford us the luxury of giving them all the things we never had, including a stable home, committed loving parents and every material thing imaginable (within the means of a middle class family, I should add). Over the last few years, it seemed we had finally arrived, and living was easy. Then Brandon passed away in August of 2009 from an undiagnosed heart condition. The devastation of that one single moment has crushed our view of reality and cast us down into a state of perpetual winter. I’ve been writing all my life, though not publically. Brandon’s death has so overwhelmed me that I can no longer contain my thoughts. Although my stance is undermined by despair, and frosted by the bitterness that follows the loss of my son, I will labor to plant some seeds of promise in the barren future that I'm so unexpectedly tilling. Perhaps something beneficial will stem from my mourning. If you can gather even a grain of hope from my reaping, it may help to sustain you through your own emotional storm.

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