Reflections of a Son

On May 31, 2003, my son died in a rock climbing accident in Yosemite National Park. He was twenty-five.

After Chris died, I created a manuscript about his life, which included many poems. Later, the manuscript was culled into a book without poems. In remembrance, for the 11th anniversary of Chris’s fall, I am sharing a few of the poems.

Love’s Angel expresses the sense of Chris’s freedom following death. Growing Up and Reverie cast light on his character and love of life. The final unnamed poem reflects on my experience of loss as a whole.

 

Love’s Angel

Chris is Love’s angel,

such wealth untold;

I feel his sparkling Presence—

stardust turned to gold.

 

Love is not earth’s servant—

rather rapture on the wing.

Love flames mortal hearts,

then soars to hear seraphs sing.

 

Angels flit among us

like shining shafts of light—

Some linger but a moment,

then spiral into flight.

 

Away, away—

to Love’s sweet home.

I’ll know you by the ash

you hail from heaven’s dome.

 

Growing Up

Chris grew up and up,

an unwieldy clatter of bones

ahead of himself.

He was the tallest kid in class.

 

While playmates tilted

to tease or taunt,

he tied knots in their shoes,

and learned to laugh at himself.

 

At six foot five the kid settled in—

a slick, swift, lanky

gem of a guy,

though they say he couldn’t dance!

When others cracked up,

he’d jazz it up,

bobbing above the crowd.

 

Goofy or graceful, it was all the same.

Chris rolled with the rhythm of life.

 

Reverie

Chris danced the elfin jig

under a crescent moon.

He leaped to touch the arc

of a rainbowed afternoon.

 

Live your life, forget the strife,

Whirl and twirl; be free!

The wind is heckling clouds,  

and the sun glitters glee.

 

Chris juggled feathers

strewn by wayward flocks.

He gazed on nature’s splendor,

whistling on the rocks.

 

Laugh and play your nimble days,

tread lightly on the earth.

Rain is clapping; trees are sapping—

My love is full of mirth.

 

Unnamed

Loss is loss of pleasure—

the pleasure of a tantalizing smile.

But what is loss compared to love,

when love is all the good worthwhile?

 

Through faith, miracles work

to rouse the tender twinge to wing.

Through loss I probe that deeper well

to tap the silent mystic spring.

 

When Chris was 14, he discovered rock climbing. His brave journey as a rock climber and my climb from despair after he died come to life in the book Freedom to Fall. To order a copy, click on the appropriate link above.

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4 Responses to Reflections of a Son

  1. Janet says:

    Thank you for sharing, Carol. As you know I never knew Chris, but after reading your book I got a real good sense of him. I do think of him often when I am in that area of Yosemite and am glad that you posted the date of his passing. I hope I can be in Yosemite then and say a prayer for him. If not, I will say the prayer anyway.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Beautiful, Carol. I”ve been thinking of Chris and plan to celebrate his life on Saturday. I can feel his spirit this time of year.

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