I have been no stranger to grief. My father died without warning when I was 21. My mother’s death 12 years later was equally a shock. Even as I write this, my brother is dying of cancer. He is 57. While my faith in a god had been shaky most of my life, I put it completely to bed in 2015. I now call myself an atheist. Then on Oct. 12, 2020, I experienced the worst loss possible. My 24-year-old son and only child was murdered. I would have a million times preferred to die myself than to lose Jesse. Below is a picture I took of him during the our 2018 Christmas trip to Miami. In many ways, this picture demonstrates the man that he was. He was an angel, but not an innocent, rose-cheeked cherub. No, my son was a powerful, avenging archangel, who was killed trying to defend a victim of domestic abuse. The multi-colored wings represent his reverence for life in all of its beautiful, weird, and amazing varieties. Jesse’s death nearly destroyed me, and there are still many days when I contemplate taking my own life and joining him in oblivion. But I can’t do this on the off-chance that I’m wrong about there being no afterlife. If Jesse were there to greet me at death, he would be furious with me for giving up on life and on hope, so I must live on.
In order to figure out how to truly live in his absence, I’ve started this blog category, talking about dealing with grief without the comforting belief in a deity. I wanted to make a different design for this blog topic, but I lack the technical skills to accomplish this. Join me on my journal through my son’s death. I’d love to hear your comments below on either my post or your own experiences dealing with the death of a loved one.