Monday, January 16, 2012

Parents Outliving Their Children

Oh, today is a hard one.

It was just two years ago that the Memorial Service for my oldest son was held.  At the very moment I am writing this, I am looking back at two years to the moment that I was standing in a receiving line as hundreds of friends and family members came from across the country to help us bid farewell to our son.

Our firstborn.

The one you make all your trial and error runs on.  The one you learn how to be a parent with.

Peter was 30 years old.  As he entered into adult hood, he entered into a lifestyle that was completely foreign to us.  The gay community welcomed him as no other group of peers had.  He felt he had a place there.

Soon, it led to drinking, to drugs, to disease and to eventual death.  I received news of his death the day before a scheduled back surgery.  My world came crashing down.  We knew this day would come, but you're just never quite prepared when you actually hear the news.

Peter's body was bruised and broken, and it had taken enough.  From what I understand, he fought long and hard in the emergency room, but his heart couldn't withstand it anymore.  He died three hours later.

Though we butted heads on more than one occasion, he was still the same, sweet young man that we had raised.  It wasn't until his graduation from high school that I learned that he had given up his lunch period for six years to go and read to the mentally disabled kids.  These kids loved him and accepted him - and he didn't have to eat alone.

At his funeral, Mr. Kerry spoke of others within his ancestry that also had buried children - namely his own father, and several grandfathers.  Their feelings would have been no different than the feelings we grappled with on news of Peter's death.

There is not a single day that I don't think of him, grieve for him, feel anger about losing him, and long to hold him. 

I can't wait for that day...
Peter, about a year before he died.
Peter, the week before he died.  Drugs had really taken hold of him, as well as HIV and Aids.  He had what is called "meth mouth", where his teeth were crumbling even while eating soft foods.


  1. Very Brave Post. Thank you. You have a beautiful son and you are a remarkable mother.

  2. Thank you for sharing these very intimate thoughts. The road is long some days, but in the end we will make it. Loved ones await us on the other side.

  3. A truly lovely tribute, accept my sympathy and prayers and a few internet ((hugs)).

  4. Our Heavenly Father blessed you and Mr. Kerry with a loving son who had a tender Spirit. It's wonderful that you can still celebrate his earthly life and his bond in your family. Our prayers are with you on this special day, Peggy!

  5. You brought tears to my eyes: I'm missing your son with you. So beautifully written, this piece. I'm sure Peter is aware, very much aware of your love for him: you taught him to share it when he was a boy, and the world is definately a better place because of him. Thanks for sharing.

    Peace and Blessings,

  6. Peggy,
    Thanks for sharing your special story. May the Lord bless you with peace and comfort. I am sure Peter has found peace and acceptance.

  7. I too lost my firstborn son and know the agony all too well.