Marking Time


Marking time in days, months, and then years is a way of life after loss for many parents. The dreaded number of the day, which was Friday, that my son passed was noticed every month after. The sixth day of each month…the Friday of each week of that first year…a bold reminder on the calendar, not only of his absence but my own painful existence. Somewhere during the third year, I was not so aware of the number six in the term of months. It would actually pass with little notice. Fridays and Sundays are still painful, remembering the call and that last day, a Sunday, when we saw him as he and his little family drove out of our driveway to go back home after visiting us in Alabama. While the sixth of each month has faded from my emotional scope, the sixth of March each year still strikes a mighty blow. I find myself marking time on the calendar as each year passes in disbelief that it has already been five years next month on the sixth.

I thought I would be dead by now. I can hardly believe it is possible to survive after the loss of a child. I have wished for death just to alleviate the pain…a pain you cannot imagine unless you have personally experienced it. If I think about the frightful night Brandon exited this world….I can go “crazy” again from the shock and anguish. It is always lurking in the shadows of my mind.

As I prepare for the fifth anniversary of Brandon’s passing, I am amazed at the peace that I have been given over the past five years. It has grown from incremental vignettes to more epic in size. Even in those first hours, I was held up by a loving, heavenly Father who would never have wished this for my son or for those who loved him. Of course, all facets of me….mind, body, and spirit, were tortured from the unbearable loss and grief to follow. There were moments I did feel as if God had forsaken me all the while knowing that He could not. I clung to His promises “like a child who’s afraid of the dark.”  It was my only hope of survival even though I did not want to survive. I was desperately wanting to not feel anything….my life unplugged.

I am working on Brandon’s Biography for this blog. It is an ongoing endeavor that I hope to have finished in a few weeks. When someone dies at 29 years old they hardly have had time to have much of a biography. His life was a blip on the screen but he was accomplished, and he achieved more than some do who are my age. Our lives are all just a vapor….like my father’s epitaph. In my father’s own hand there was written on a single piece of cardboard left in his desk drawer when he died December 29, 1987…. “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.” James 4:14

The calendar marks many dates where we have made plans but on my son’s calendar there were plans that never came to fruition. Even while we still live there are are those blocks on the calendar that are crossed off for whatever reason, where what we had planned was either cancelled or changed. The date that will never be cancelled or changed is the day my son left this earth to entertain angels. It is now a significant date that like his birth date has impacted my life forever. There is no changing that. I cannot erase it or cross it off….it just is. I know that I must accept his leaving as I did his entrance….there is death and life…good and bad. We can hardly notice and appreciate the best in life if the worst is never realized. How can we know the mountain top if we never traversed the valley? If I had never known my son, Brandon, I would never have known the depth that love for my child (children) brought into my life. It is a mighty conflict in my soul to have loved and lost.  This quote by William Wordsworth, says it so well….

“I love the boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me….yet, in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it.” William Wordsworth 1812


  1. DJ, the Wordsworth quote was beautiful, and it does say it well. I can only imagine what this upcoming anniversary does to your heart. You will be on my own heart in the upcoming week, and in special prayers, my friend. You enrich so many lives with your openness. Bless you.


  2. Oh, Dale…what to say? You’ve said it so heartbreakingly; Philip died on the 23rd of this month. How that number haunts me. Five years? How, Dale? How do you do it? I guess like we all do…we’re here, we deal. I can’t believe I’ve lived two years without my son here. I am so sorry you suffer this, but I thank God you’re there. You’ve no idea. I need you.

    I’m going to print that quote out and put it in on my desk. Thank you.


    • Denise, I think we need each other during this most horrific of experiences. I try to give hope to those who, like yourself, are still in the newness of it all. Two years or five can seem like a lifetime or it can seem like only yesterday. I don’t “do it”…God does. I am glad you like the quote. Much love and blessings to you, friend.


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