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MEMORIAL SILHOUETTES

for our children
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music playing: SOLITUDE










SILHOUETTES OF FATHERHOOD

The silhouettes of fatherhood
From another time and place,
Grief has cast it's shadow
On his cheerful father face.

The contour of his happiness
Created sometime long ago,
Darkened by his agony
And the truth he's come to know.

The profile of his peacefulness
Embraced in days gone bye,
Shaded by his loneliness
And the many tears he's cried.

The shape of all good things to come
Yearned for in future days,
Blackened by reality
Of death that's come his way.

The form of his existence
In the life he thought he'd live,
Clouded by his pleading
That his life he'd gladly give.

The figure of fulfillment
From yesterdays desires,
Obscured by constant mourning
And all that it requires.

The likeness of tomorrow
Won't bring the things it should.
Soon he'll find the light within
The Silhouettes of fatherhood.

2007 - Christine Ross
~in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001
Published in
LIVING WITH LOSS MAGAZINE
Summer 2009, Volume 24 No. 2
Bereavement Publications, Inc.




THE NATURE OF GRIEF

There is a kind and gentle man that is the type of dad that dreams are made of. He never misses a soccer game, or an awards day, or a school presentation, or anything for his kids. When his kids are sick, he is there. When his kids are honored, he is there. When his kids just need their dad, he is there. Working hard and long hours is done only to produce wonderful family vacations and to provide his children with the things they need or the things that he wants them to have. But the most important thing he provides for his kids is....LOVE. His FAMILY comes first..... above and beyond anything else. It is understood at his job that NOTHING comes before his family. My children are lucky enough to have this kind of dad.

I reacall a time long ago when there was a sound of joy that came from deep within the soul of this dad as he stood there in the delivery room and first learned that he was the father of a "son". He held his baby so close as his eyes filled with tears. As his little baby grew older he became his dad's piggy back partner, his pitch and catch partner, his fishing partner, his camping partner, his mountain biking partner, his skiing partner, and his partner at work as they shared a job together. The death of his son literally brought this man to his knees. He prayed, kneeling below the window of his son's room, his eyes once again filled with tears and then that sound that came from deep within his soul was released, but this time not because of joy, but because of knowing that his son lie dead just beyond that window.

Sometimes a father and son have that 'special' relationship that is created because of a love that is shared. Their love is not an obligated love, but a love that transcends expectation. A love like these two share cannot be separated by the lack of physical presence. They continue to share in each other's spirits on this earth. One day this dad's eyes will fill with tears and that sound from deep within will be released because of joy, as his soul and his son's soul will reunite as father and son....... FOREVER on the other side.

There are many that have been a special father figure in some child's life. Sometimes this father figure comes in the form of a mom who has taken on both roles of a parent because of reasons beyond her control. Some father figures are those men that have loved a child and that child loved them and looked up to them. But whatever the situation, the nature of a father is to be with his children, not to be without them.

Oh how we long to just see our children once again and be with them once again. We can imagine that we see them, but is it really our imagination or are they really there? When we see someone that resembles our child, it takes our breath away and tears begin to fall. We can hear their voices in our minds, those voices that have a direct line from Heaven. Sometimes we think we need that reassurance that we see them, or that they speak to us.... but in reality, we need nothing but what we know from the nature of our hearts.

The nature of the earth is probably one of the best healers of grief. We can see our children in the sunrise, and we can taste them in the rain. The afternoon breeze brings their scent to us and we can feel their touch in the shadows of the evening. When the world is at its quietest that is when we can hear our children the most. The spirits of our children fill up all of our senses. We long for their love, we long for their laughter, we long to always be with them.... but most of all we long to be the one that dies in their arms, the one that dies first. But all of these senses that are aroused by the gift of nature returns our children to us in ways that we thought were impossible. Our children are here with us always because that..... is their nature.

2011 - Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001





SOMETIMES

Sometimes in the early morning.....
When the sun is just beginning to peek over the mountains
I see a glimpse of you as the light fills my tearful eyes.

Sometimes in the midday.....
When the rain is just beginning to sprinkle down from the sky
I savor a taste of you as the drops flood my quivering lips.

Sometimes in the afternoon.....
When the the breeze is just beginning to blow through the trees
I smell the scent of you as the wind engulfs my lonely soul.

Sometimes in the evening.....
When the stars are just beginning to twinkle in the sky
I feel a touch of you as the darkness shadows my broken heart.

Sometimes in the night.....
When the sounds are just beginning to fade from the earth
I hear a whisper of you as the silence quiets my troubled mind.

Sometimes I know you are here
Sometimes.....

2007 - Christine Ross
~ memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001












Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!

~ Lydia M. Child









THE EASY PART OF THIS JOURNEY

It was June 25, 2012 and it had been two years since I had seen Jennifer. There she was... sleeping peacefully and so still. There was an echo of whispers throughout the room. Jennifer had spent the last 20 years struggling with an awful disease that took her kidneys, her legs, and finally her life.

I sat there in that beautiful Catholic church in that quaint little town as I watched her parents standing there in front of her casket. They were crying as they held her cold hands and as they bent over to give her that one last kiss goodbye.

The mother walked back to the pew and as she walked away two brothers of the father walked up to the casket. When the father saw them he turned towards them and they all stood together hugging each other in a circle. But there at the front of that church was an unbelievable eerie coincidence. The three brothers that were holding each other at the casket had now all lost children. One of those brothers was my husband. You could hear their sobs and moans float throughout the chapel as they all clutched each other in disbelief. It was one of the saddest things that I have ever witnessed.

As the music began, the service began, and the pain began. I was now sitting next to my husband. His brother, the father of the child in the casket, was sitting right in front of us. Then, next to my husband was his other brother. I looked at my husband just as his brother grabbed his hand and as their eyes met they both cried on each other's shoulders. I looked further down the pew at his wife, my sister-in-law, and her eyes were red and tears were streaming down her face. My tears dropped to my lap as I absorbed the reality of it all. I thought to myself as I looked at all of us sitting in that pew, we all have a common bond. It was the worst thing in the world to have in common.... our children had died.

As the service continued I cried for Jennifer and I cried for my son Luke. I cried for Dylan and for Matthew, the children of my husband's brother. The thought of all four of these children, together in Heaven, and all of us sitting together on earth was so overwhelming that it consumed my emotions and I could not stop crying. I felt that I was reliving Luke's service all over again, with memories of Dylan's service and Matthew's death, and now the reality of Jennifer's service. It was 1972 when Matthew died as an infant. In 2001 Luke died. Dylan died in 2010. And, now 2012 had brought the death of Jennifer. Four children from three brothers just seemed so unfair.

As the pall bearers, two of which were my husband and his brother, carried another dead child out of a church to a hearse, I could only hear the shuffle of their feet through what seemed like an everlasting silence. Was there a song playing? I really do not know. I only know that there was a reverence, and a presence of angels all around. Angels that would walk with Jennifer to Heaven, the same angels that walked with Luke and Dylan and Matthew. I knew that those Heavenly angels would walk with Jennifer's parents, just as they had walked with us when Luke died, and just as they had walked with the parents of Dylan and Matthew..... and they would be there for all of us through the difficult days and years ahead.

As the casket passed the pew, followed by Jennifer's parents, my sister-in-law (the mother of Dylan and Matthew) and I stepped out behind them. We reached for each other's hands as we both looked deep into each other's eyes with that knowing and those familiar tears streaming down our faces. We walked out of the church together, the sun was shining brightly and a few clouds in the sky as if to say.... life will go on. My heart was heavy with the knowing that for most everyone else at that funeral the pain was mostly over, but for the family of Jennifer it had only just begun. My sister-in-law said to me as we walked hand in hand to the adjacent cemetery...... "As unbelievable as it may sound, the funeral is the easy part of this journey."

2012 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001






ONE LAST KISS


Oh, there you are
So still, so cold.
No more breathing.
No growing old.

As I touch you
Nothing is real.
Your skin is cold,
Your body still.

My eyes see you.
My heart wonders...
Beneath this shell
Do you slumber?

I listen close
No sound from you.
I whisper soft
My voice eludes.

Air engulfs you,
Frigid and stale.
I breath in deep,
Capture your smell.

Upon your lips
I press my own.
The taste of death
It lingers strong.

Lips cold and sealed.
Your life dismissed.
Tears warm your face
With ONE LAST KISS.

2003 - Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001



WALK WITH YOU


When you walk down the road
Heavy burden, heavy load
I will rise and i will walk with you

When you walk through the night
And you feel like you wanna just give up,
give up, give up on the fight
I will come and i will walk with you

Walk with you
Until the sun don't even shine
Walk with you
I'll be there all the time
I tell you i'll walk with you
See you through

When you walk from this place
And you gotta go to meet him face to face
Take my hand and i will walk with you

Oh, oh walk with you
'Till the clouds fade away
I tell you i 'll walk with you
Each and every day
Oh yes i'll walk with you

Oh, oh oh when nobody cares
I'll be right there by your side
If all your hope is lost
I'm the one that's gonna help you see the light
Just look into my eyes
Please know you're not alone
I'm here, i'm here by your side

Walk with you
Walk with you
Walk with you
I'll be there all the time, i'm gonna walk with you
Walk with you
I'll be there until the clouds just fade away
Walk with you
I'll be there every day, every day, every day, every day
Walk with you
I'll be with you all the while
Walk with you
Be right there through the longest mile

Walk with you
I will walk with you yes i will, yes i will, yes i will, i will
Walk with you
I will walk with you
I tell you i'll be there and i will
Walk with you
Believe me i'll be there and i'll walk with you, yes i will

~ Words & music by Marc Lichtman




THE SLEEPLESS NIGHT

I woke up early this morning
Just as the sun was beginning to rise.
I reached out for my husband.
He wasn't there, to my surprise.

I arose and went to the window.
On the porch was his shadowy form.
He was probably just reminiscing
In the misty veil of the dawn.

Silently I remained inside
Hidden secretly from his sight.
Allowing him his solitude
Outside in the pale moonlight.

His silhouette took my breath away.
The eerie resemblance of our son
The one that died many years ago
Leaving us grieving and so alone.

Quiet tears began to fill my eyes
With memories of life and joy.
Longing once more for days gone by.
Wishing my husband still had his boy.

I pondered in the stillness
The pain this man should have been spared.
I wanted to go out and hug him
And tell him how much I cared.

I dared not disturb his reverie
Because I know how I cherish mine,
So I waited inside just watching him
As the clock ticked away the time.

I felt a warm hand on my shoulder,
A whisper "You can't sleep either hun?"
I turned quickly away from the window.
Standing next to me was my husband.

So I gazed back out the window.
The silhouette I had seen was gone.
Then my husband said "It's okay sweetie,
"He's been out there all night long."

2007 - Christine Ross
~in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001
Published in
LIVING WITH LOSS MAGAZINE
Summer 2007, Volume 22 No. 2
Bereavement Publications, Inc.










My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person,
he believed in me.

Jim Valvano










A LITTLE IMPAIRED

I've been known to seemingly talk to my self in public, but I'm really talking to Luke. Most people think doing that is abnormal. If I concentrate I can hear his voice, I can hear his footsteps, and I can feel his touch. Even I, sometimes question myself and wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me.

My husband (Robin) is an engineer and has been since 1975. A few years before Luke died, Robin decided that he wanted a change from engineering management, so he quit his job and went into real estate, and was very successful at it. Luke and Robin were real estate partners for about one year. What a blessing that was!!! Then Luke died at the age of 21. Robin tried to continue in real estate but could not keep up the smiles and happy face that goes with selling and listing. So he quit real estate, we sold our house in Phoenix, and moved north Flagstaff, Arizona.

Finding an engineering job in Flagstaff was almost impossible so Robin took a construction engineering job that was west of Phoenix, about three hours from our cabin in Flagstaff. He worked in that job for about a year and a half (the length of the contract) and we had to live apart for most of that time. He knew the job was coming to an end soon so he decided to take his Profession Engineering Licensing Exam to open up opportunities closer to the cabin. It is a very difficult exam so he had extensive studying to do. The test is given twice a year in April and October. These months happen are the most emotional for Robin because Luke's birthday is in October and Luke's death day is in April. He studied and took the exam in April, but wasn't sure if he passed it, because it was extremely difficult. The job west of Phoenix had ended about a month earlier and Robin was looking all over the country and the world for a job in engineering. At that particular time jobs were pretty scarce in Engineering. If he had his Professional Engineers License he felt he could probably get work closer to home by being hired on contract. Flagstaff is a smaller town than Phoenix, so the opportunities are very limited. But felt he probably did not pass the exam. It was June and he was still anxiously waiting for the results of the exam in the mail.

About a week before Father's Day Robin and I had lunch at a Chinese Restaurant. When they brought our fortune cookies Robin's fortune was..... SOMETHING NICE IS COMING TO YOU IN THE MAIL. Robin said......"Maybe it is my EXAM SCORES".

The next Saturday (the day before Father's Day) we went to the P.O. to pick up our mail. The exam scores were there! We both sat in the car, holding our breath as Robin opened the letter. He read it and just started crying because he had passed the exam! Now, so many doors were open to him including the possibility to live closer to home. Robin looked at the license number/file number listed on the letter and it was 21143. (Luke died at the age of 21, in the year 1, in the month 4 (April), on the 3rd day.) Robin started crying again and said "This is probably my father's day gift from Luke." We were so excited, and crying, and amazed all at the same time. I said "Okay, we are going back to that restaurant again today and see if Luke has any more messages for you." After eating they brought us our fortune cookies again. Robin opened his and it said "YOU HAVE AN IMPORTANT NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SHAPING UP." Robin started crying again at the table and then flipped his fortune over and read the little message on the back. It stated "HAVE A GOOD HOLIDAY."

Somehow, someway Luke found a way to get a special Father's day gift to his dad and to wish him a Happy Father's day. I'm sure a lot of people think that we are a little crazy, a little impaired, a little unwell. But just because Luke is not here physically does not mean that he is not here. We haven't lost our minds..... we lost our son.

2013 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001



TRICKS

Sometimes I think I hear his car
Coming slowly up the drive.
I run up to the window.
I look out through the blinds.

I hear the gravel crackle
And I hear the engine roar,
But As I stand there at the window
I can't find him like before.

Why does my mind play tricks on me?
Such a cruel thing for it to do,
But I still listen anyway
As I search for what is true.

The days they get so lonely
And the nights are filled with tears
I just can seem to understand
Where he's been for all these years.

I think I hear him at the door
And I think I feel his hug.
But I guess it's all just make-believe
Created by undying love.

My mind is resting quietly now
And it's late into the night,
But there I go imagining
All the things I can not fight.

He's coming up front porch steps
And he's walking to the door
As I peep out through the window
My mind plays tricks..... once more.


2013 - Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001



UNWELL

All day starin' at the ceilin' makin' friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices tellin' me that I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for somethin'
Hold on, feelin' like I'm headed for a breakdown
And I don't know why

But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know, right now you can't tell
But stay a while and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know, right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to be, me

I'm talkin' to myself in public, dodging glances on the train
And I know, I know they've all been talkin' about me
I can hear them whisper, and it makes me think
There must be somethin' wrong with me
Out of all the hours thinkin', somehow I've lost my mind

But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know, right now you can't tell
But stay a while and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know, right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to be

I've been talkin' in my sleep
Pretty soon they'll come to get me
Yeah, they're takin' me away

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know, right now you can't tell
But stay a while and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know, right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to be yeah, how I used to be

How I used to be
How I used to be

Well, I'm just a little unwell
How I used to be
how I used to be
I'm just a little unwell...

~ Words & music by Rob Thomas











I USED TO CALL YOU DADDY

I used to call you Daddy
Back when I was very small.
I'd ride upon your shoulders,
It would make me feel so tall.

Many years we shared together,
Skiing and camping, and fishing,
Working together, talks at lunch,
All the times that we spent wishing.

Pitch and catch and mountain biking,
Back roads when we went Jeeping,
We had so many good times Dad,
Lots of memories well worth keeping.

I left you for another life.
It was my time to go away.
Just remember that I'm with you
Every minute of every day.

When your time comes to join me
You'll hear me calling out to you......
"Hey friend! Hey Dad! Hey Father!"
And I'll still call you "Daddy", too.

2004 - Christine Ross
~in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001










My father didn't tell me how to live;
he lived, and let me watch him do it.

~ Clarence B. Kelland










THE PHOTOGRAPH

He stood there in the chapel
As he clutched the photograph.
No words were spoken from his lips
All he could do was gasp.

He held the photo to his chest
As tears streamed down his face
Hoping for a miracle
In that "forever goodbye" place.

He glanced down at the photo.
Then a tear fell from his eye
And landed right upon the heart
Of his child that had to die.

No one understood the pain
This grieving father felt.
So they hugged him and his photograph
Not knowing how to help.

This photograph seemed magical
And helped him to understand
That for his child... this one last time
He had to be a man.

So he stood up proud and tall that day
And listened as they spoke
About the life of his child
He still needed in that photo.

He held on to that photograph
Through painful days and weeks.
But finally had to let it go
And let it rest in peace.

Just a stained and wrinkled photograph
Although much more than it seemed
It gave him strength to bear the pain
Never dreamed in his worst of dreams.

This cherished tearstained photograph
Is now a testament to us all
That tears can touch the silenced heart
Of a grieving father's child.

2008 - Christine Ross
~in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2001










The greatest gift I ever had came from God,
and I call him Dad!

~ Anonymous










One night a father overheard his son pray:
Dear God,
Make me the kind of man my Daddy is.
Later that night, the Father prayed,
Dear God,
Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.

~ Anonymous










A father is someone that holds your hand at the fair,
makes sure you do what your mother says,
holds back your hair when you are sick,
brushes that hair when it is tangled because mother is too busy,
lets you eat ice cream for breakfast, but only when mother is away.
He walks you down the aisle and tells you everything's gonna be okay.

~ Unknown










When a father gives to his son, both laugh;
when a son gives to his father, both cry.

~Jewish Proverb










A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.

~ Knights of Pythagoras










It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons

Johann Schiller











It doesn't matter who my father was;
it matters who I remember he was.

~ Anne Sexton










Small boys become big men through the influence of
big men who care about small boys.

~ Anonymous










They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her,
a father adores his daughter.
Whoever she grows up to be,
she is always to him that little girl in pigtails.
She makes him feel like Christmas.
In exchange,
he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years,
the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.

~ Unknown










When I was a boy of fourteen,
my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.
But when I got to be twenty-one,
I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

~ Mark Twain










When I was a little girl,
Dad, you were my hero.
Some things never change

~ unknown










"I loved the boy with the utmost love of which my soul
is capable of 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"

letter of William Wordsworth
on the death of his son, 1812











Anyone can be a father,
but it takes someone special
to be a dad.

~ unknown










My son,
a perfect little boy of five years and three months,
has ended his earthly life.
You can never sympathize with me;
you can never know how much of me such a young child can take away.
A few weeks ago I accounted myself a very rich man,
and now the poorest of all.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, on the death of his son










ROCK-A-BYE

Rock-a-bye my little child.
Rock-a-bye to sleep.
Sleep within your Daddy's arms.
Sleep in restful peace.

Peace will come to you my child.
Peace when you awake.
Awake to love and happiness.
Awake to everyday.

Everyday will be a gift.
Everyday will come.
Come to find your purpose here.
Come to be my one.

One day you'll find the distant light.
One day you'll say goodbye.
Goodbye is not forever.
Goodbye... Rock-a-bye.

Rock-a-bye my spirit child.
Rock-a-bye to sleep.
Sleep within the angels arms.
Sleep until we meet.


2014 Christine Ross
~ in memory of Lucas Christopher Ross 1979 - 2002















SEE OUR CHILDREN'S NAMES

NO MORE NAMES CAN BE ADDED, BUT THE NAMES THAT ARE LISTED WILL REMAIN



PAGE 01 ~ POETRY, STORIES, QUOTES, PAINTINGS, AND MORE



PAGE 02 ~ OUR CHILDREN'S NAMES ~ BABIES AND CHILDREN



PAGE 03 ~ OUR CHILDREN'S NAMES ~ TEENAGERS



PAGE 04 ~ OUR CHILDREN'S NAMES ~ TWENTIES



PAGE 05 ~ OUR CHILDREN'S NAMES ~ THIRTY AND OLDER










"VISIT WITH LUKE"

Last Entry in Luke's Journal:

"When there is love in my heart and a smile on my face,
I need nothing else." ~ Luke Ross


"MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU"

Music playing:
SOLITUDE