Happy Birthday, Kolton

Happy Birthday, Kolton

Today you would be twenty-seven. I used to wonder where you’d gone, but not anymore. You are here, right where you’ve always been, in my heart. Now I wonder where I’ve gone. I can’t seem to find myself.

This day is always hard for me, and I’m sure for so many other people who loved you. You left a big hole in a lot of people’s hearts. It isn’t because you left, because something was pressing at your heart, something was urging you to look elsewhere, no, it isn’t your fault, you were just following your spirit. You left such a gaping hole in so many people’s hearts because your spirit brightened so much darkness. And after you were gone, the darkness returned.

I have come to realize that my life will always look different from now on. I am trying to grasp it, to embrace it, to ease into this new look. But it is still a little uncomfortable for me. I seem to be a stranger to myself, an unrecognizable image in a storefront window, hollow footsteps along an empty street, the whisper of a faraway wind.

I turn my head toward the leaves shuddering in the afternoon breeze, listening carefully to what they are trying to tell me. There must be meaning somewhere, I just need to listen more closely. You come to me in dreams, and then you’re gone. But you’re never really gone. You always leave something behind, your wry smile, the ironic twinkle in your eyes, your open heart. You were subtle but never slippery. You lived on a different plane than most of us.

Don’t get me wrong, Kolton, I am not complaining. You gave me twenty years of joy and laughter. And so much love. So much love. And your beautiful sisters, Rickie and Bailey, know how much love is possible in a human heart because of you and carry a special kind of love for their children and partners. You were such an important part of their lives, and they are thankful for the time they had with you.

Even though I am struggling with who I am now, I am adjusting. I am learning. This is important. I have always had a curious nature, an adventurous spirit, but also a restlessness. I think your adventurous spirit was lightyears ahead of mine. You always were a shooting star, a great flash of light across the night sky. I need to let my restlessness go and charge ahead just like you always did. You never crawled as a baby. Your mother and I wondered if something might be wrong with you. One day, when you were about ten months old, you pulled yourself up by the edge of the coffee table and walked across the living room. You learned to ride your bike in the same way. I tried to teach you how, but you resisted. I left you alone, but I kept glancing in your direction, a little worried that you’d fall. But you were persistent and after a couple of hours, you were up on your bike and riding down the road, away from the house, never looking back. I guess that’s how you lived, always moving along your own path, in your own way, never looking back. I love you, Kolton.


  1. My heart breaks with your enormous pain. Oh, I have tried to understand the loss of a child but imagine it … no I can’t. I don’t know if words are ever enough. But, now I understand your own search for yourself, more than anyone’s – as I have another friend who also lost a son and I don’t think she has ever stopped running…

    • Once again, thank you, Yvonne. Your words touch me deeply. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of and miss my son. He was a bright spirit, maybe too bright for this world. Even though I still feel his spirit, I miss him, I miss being able to sit with him and talk long into the night, I miss his hugs, I miss his smile, a smile that lit up the room. To lose a child is every parent’s most frightening nightmare. If it happens, the nightmare, night after night, tears at the parent with the ferocity of a wild animal. I still have nightmares in which I am chased by wild, frantic animals with unimaginable, savage fierceness. I wake up screaming. But I am getting better. The hardest part of this journey is allowing myself to be happy again. I haven’t conquered that yet, but I am working on it. Thank you again, Yvonne. You are so kind and thoughtful. You have made my day much brighter.

  2. So sorry about your loss. I can only imagine how hard and painful it must be and admire your courage to share and carry on.

    • Thank you so much, Holly, this means a lot to me. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and to leave your thoughtful and kind comment.

      My best,


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