They told me his body lay on a mattress in a room that wasn’t so bad. They told me he was covered, and peaceful. They told me he spoke of love that night, that he laughed. They told me he made plans for tomorrow before he closed his eyes.
Next morning, in the warm heart of summer, my son’s body lay cool and slack, the scaffolding that held up his being for twenty-one years, now absent. When his soul flew, the tent poles collapsed. Only a quiet skin inscribed with markings remained.
Confusion isn’t new, Holden wakes up in weird places all the time. He is an accomplished couch surfer because he isn’t picky. The first question he asks himself most Saturday mornings is, where am I? The second, who is beside me? Continue Reading →
I have no grave to place flowers by. I have no headstone to polish and sweep. I do have a beautiful, smooth, wooden box, made by my husband Cam, that we keep on the same shelf as the vodka. We don’t reach for the vodka often, or the box for that matter. The box contains the burned bones of my son.
And now I also have a sixty-five foot cement wall in a parking lot in East Vancouver covered in glorious red paint, at the centre of which there is a huge and uncanny portrait of my son Holden in black and white, smiling out at the world. He looks truly happy. I hope it’s true. There is no good resting place for your child, but this wall makes sense. If there has to be a symbolic location for Holden to be recognized, well, this is his kind of place.
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Where do ideas come from? How does this genesis occur? I’m serious. Who is in charge of these bastard thought children running amok? Do memory and desire hook up quick and dirty one night and boom…the “let’s go camping to mourn the anniversary of the loss of our son” idea is their love child?’
All this to say the three of us ended up on top of a snowy mountain in Garibaldi Park on the afternoon of July 2. I knew I didn’t want to be at home that day, or the next, but… snow camping? After a huffy puffy, sweaty, slippery, slushy hike up, over and across we arrived at Elfin Lakes back country campground. The journey up was tough but spectacular. We started in the green, traversed a fair amount of brown and ended up in the white and blue. Continue Reading →