Losing a child is like falling into a fathomless pit, a deep well of sorrow that leaves an enormous void in the center of life. One moment, you are on top of the world, an instant later you are plummeting into the deepest depths of despair. Tumbling like a stone into utter desolation. Where sorrow pours out in a cascade of memories and mixes with the deluge of tears. The pressures are immense, and the solitude is unbearable.

Since my son Brandon’s death in August of 2009, I have been struggling to pull myself out of this dreadful hollow. But, my emotions are so frayed that I can’t seem to get a grip. Sometimes, I can cling to the poignant moments. But then, the gaps in time send me reeling. My heart plummets, and I fall deeper into the depression.

On the surface, those who are closest can sense the enormity of my sorrow. But, they can not reach me. That’s because there is no bottom to the anguish or limits to the pain.

It seems the further I get from that horrific day, the more detached I become. I have few ties to this world, and my faith is in tatters. As time rushes by, I can not discern life’s direction. And the more I struggle to gain perspective, the more difficult it is to grasp.

It is all so far beyond me. And, still I make this stretch:

In the desolate barrens of grief, hope still blooms among the emotional crags and withered expectations. It is rooted in faith, and thrives amidst the yearnings and inpatients. Although it looms beyond my grasp, it reaches into the heavens, stemming from the assurance of death, and unfolding through the promise of incarnation.

John French 2011

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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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