Sad  Glad  Fear

Two days ago my oldest son Jay was walking out the door heading to work.  This summer he started a business here in Anchorage called "The Grass Guys."  He was standing in the laundry room heading out the door dressed in his lawn cutting gear (everything with a tint of green from all the grass he's mowed this summer).  I looked back at Brenda who was standing in the kitchen.  She was crying so I asked, "What's wrong?"  

She answered, "I'm gong to miss him so much."

It hit me.  I can spend the next two weeks keeping busy at work and filling my schedule with the million details that are screaming for my attention.  Or I can slow down and "see" Jay . . .  and in the seeing, grieve the goodbye that is right around the corner.

When I asked Brenda what was "wrong," her answer reminded me of so much that is "right."

In the past I would have stayed busy and allowed the urgency, even "importance" of my work to crowd my heart and my mind allowing me to skirt above the the deeper currents rushing inside me.  Today I am not refusing my sadness -- a sadness whose depth honors the rich relationship I share with him and the unbelievable joy he is to me.

Last night Jay and I sat up until very late.  I reminded him that he would not be alone on the Dartmouth campus.  I shared with him about the time when I was 28 years old and realized that there wasn't anyone "thinking about me" and there never had been . . . at least not like a father thinks about a son.

"Jay, in that way, you will never be alone.  There won't be a day that you are walking across that campus that I'm not thinking about you.  There won't be a day where you get in or out of the pool (he's swimming for Dartmouth) that I won't be thinking about you.  You won't be alone!"

We both cried.  I saw him.  And he saw me.


  1. You do know your mom was thinking of you every day those 28 years ago, don't you? As well as everyday since. You have never been "alone".

  2. Yes Linda. What I'm speaking of here is the unique need of a son for his dad. For many years, I lived in denial of this need - in part because of the relationship I had with my mom, the rest of my family, and others I knew who cared about me - relationships I remain grateful for but that nonetheless did not fill the void left by my dad. Brenda meets unique needs in Jay's life that I cannot meet. And what I have seen is that God uses me to meet unique needs in Jay's life as his dad. It's the realization of this unique relationship that continues to awaken me to the aloneness I felt growing up -- in this way, "very alone." In my denial of this need (which was real), I often placed unfair expectations (even a demand) upon others to fill that void only a dad can fill. The moment I refer to when I was 28 is when I realized I was placing those unfair expectations upon a mentor in my life who cared about me, but not like a father does his own son.

    Missed you this summer. Hope you had a great trip. We were hoping to see you. I was in Homer twice and thought of you as I always do when I'm there. Love, Jeff

  3. I almost cried reading this. I miss you guys.

  4. Amen, dear brother, Amen. What a memory you just made ~ that young man ~ nor you ~ will ever forget that conversation. The words many fade from memory, but the love will not.

    And, HEY!, we miss you & Brenda, too! :-)

    Blessings from Ohio...Kim Wolf<><

  5. Hi Jeff, loved reading this. Matt and I walked this out a year ago with Matthew. I can say that the anticipation of the drop off was much worse than the actual event. We developed a new rhythm and enjoyed having him home for the summer. That is my strength and hope. We still miss him so so much. He is back at UT now.