When My Son Died - An Excerpt From Chapter 1

A Letter To You As the sun rises, so shall your fire extinguish at the end of the day.

—Big Brother Nanabozho

Dear son: I wish our story be made available to us and anyone else seeking solace from the loss of their child. Help me formulate the appropriate diction, son. I ask you to look over my shoulder and suggest ideas and memories. Give me the insight and intuition to create the appropriate message.

Since you are home in the spirit world, I call upon your spirit and the spirit of our ancestors to step in and give me a nudge here and there, so I can render a humble human touch to our memories. One day, I too will no longer be of the terrestrial. That crossing over is not far away.

Through tears I attempt to write. It’s a fight. It’s a struggle. For I am an angry father softened by Nishinaabe culture, language, and tradition. I seek not malice nor retribution. Peace is my only goal. Help me, son. Send me a prayer, will you not?

My wish is to help another soul in need, another father or mother to find strength in these words. The test is for me to come with the right formula. I am not strong, but I am determined to convey the power of Nishinaabe medicine, wheel, and world view. Mine is not the final answer. Mine is only one of many. But it is true. It speaks to the truth.

When you died, I died. Father and first borne. I wish our story to be public. I yearn to express the state of our lives after you died. This is my way of apologizing and confessing things I should have said and done over thirty-eight years. I want to tell about the love that kept us together. It’s too late. Is it? Or, not?

You are home with our families in a remarkable community. In our home, our ancestors as medicine people keep you happy and busy. As busy as the day you travelled. “Back to the motherland,” you laugh.

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