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Alan D Busch

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A Father Muses as the Eighth Anniversary of His Son's Death Nears
By Alan D Busch   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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The Prose and Poetry of Bereavement

A father muses as the eighth anniversary of his son's death nears ...


For Ben’s sake whose life I love, may I merit the strength to live life free from bitterness, anger and cynicism. May you Son dwell on high, enough to look down from above the clouds and see us searching the heavens for your shadow.

I became misty in synagogue today while attending morning services. Rabbi

had taken hold of the Sefer Torah and chanted the “Kel Mole Rachamim”, a

prayer that pleads for divine watchfulness over the souls of our loved ones in

the “olam ha ba”, the world to come. While listening, I remembered that

the twenty-fourth day of Heshvan, the Hebrew date of  Ben’s death, is only

two weeks away, and this year will mark the eighth anniversary of his passing.

A Jew of faith quietly utters “Baruch Dayan Ha Emes”-Blessed is the True

Judge-upon learning of a death. It reflects his acceptance that God “runs the

world”. For him it is an unalterable reality. When a Jew dies, his soul ascends.  

It makes “aliyah”, we say, to the higher plane of the world to come, floating

like a feather caught up in the draft of God’s exhalation.

The “living” remain behind, struggling with our faith which, if heretofore

untested, is likely not to be as strong as we think. Untested faith is like a

first layer of clothing which, by itself, is inadequate against the cold wind of

loss.  We add layers of “protective insulation” to faith by prayer, the reading of

psalms and the recitation of Kaddish,  It’s not a panacea, however. The

struggle to cope, to “make sense out of it all”, continues. The pain remains,

but by reinforcing our faith, we hope to manage the pain of grief more


The approach along the winding path to Ben’s grave fills me with dread.

I stand before his parcel of earth numbed by the irreversible reality

of his death. It is a curiosity of human behavior that the bereaved speak to their

departed ones while standing before their graves. I do it too although Ben

remains silent
. Even if the comfort we experience lasts but a moment, our

nature compels us to reconnect through imagination.

“Ben, it’s been a while. I apologize, Son.”


“Oh, that’s okay, Dad. No problem,” he said, generously letting me off the


“You know Ben … while standing here, I think back to some of my favorite

moments and picture you as you were, as we used to be.”

“Like what? Oh, wait! I bet you’re thinking of the Radio Flyer red wagon when


it was just me and Kimmy, right? Remember how she sat in front and I held on


to her from behind,” he asked.

“Yea, that was good. ‘Member’ how I used to fix her hair like Pebbles on

The Flintstones?” I reminisced.

“Yea, that was funny. You really liked dragging us around a lot, especially to the

library, didn’t you?”

“I sure did. I would seek out clumps of people on the way there who would tell

me how beautiful my kids were. Then we’d read stories for an hour or so.”

Ben blushed.

“Listen Ben, I ‘gotta’ go. Talk again?”

“Sure, Dad.”


Sometimes you come away feeling  better …

Leaving the cemetery, especially the first time, is a difficult step. After all, we

brought so much but leave with so little, nothing more than memories.

Although we may “feel” the presence of our loved one, it is somehow never


A Poem in Memory of Benjamin Eight Years Ago

Since we bid thee farewell eight years ago,

that bleak morning many tears did shed.

Into cavernous depths we lowered thee …

to souls long before art thou wed.


I want you to know I’ve lived as well …

as best I could … I have tried.

Nary a morn, noon or night has passed
couldn’t ever help myself but cried.

I've felt so bad all these years,

when your days of youth deprived
with sickness that stole so much of
your strength
from our well that might otherwise have thrived.

Much like you, what could we do

when alone we left you to lie ...

Living our lives lest we stray

from our faith well worn and tried.


It is hard to explain these feelings I have

without you eight years I live.

As each day passes, I can’t but think

My life for yours I wouldst give.


Alan D. Busch






Reader Reviews for "A Father Muses as the Eighth Anniversary of His Son's Death Nears"

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Reviewed by Mark Brown 2/5/2009

This is truly a wonderful tribute to your son. I too lost a child. May God comfort you and bless you as he has done me.

Mark Brown
Reviewed by Micki Peluso 11/19/2008
Dear Alan,
Well you took me out with this one. Tears rolled down my face as I felt empathy with you. I had just visited Noelle's grave last week in the mountains of Pennsylvania and cried then too. As we come to the religious holidays it always seems to get worse and Noelle's birthday is right before Christmas. I spoke in public for the first time in my life at a MADD presentation at a PTA meeting a few days ago. I never thought I could speak out loud of her, but I did it, and her sisters did as well. It had an emotional impact on those listening-maybe it will help stop the slaughter. Your writng gets better every time you write-more like poetry than prose.

regards, always,
Reviewed by Linda Settles 11/18/2008
Your musing today is a poignant reminder of the depth of love a father has for his son. We grieve with you my friend.

By the Grace of God we stand,
Linda Settles

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