For Michael – Thirty Years Ago


Thirty years ago today my son died in my arms.

He was just nine years old and would have been ten that April in 1985. I can’t picture myself with a son who would be forty in a month and a half.

He was profoundly disabled and wasn’t expected to live to his second birthday. But he did, thanks mostly to his mother’s care. She will be gone eleven years this April.

He never spoke a word. Never walked.  Or crawled. He never looked at us. Every meal he ever ate, we fed him. He never moved on his own from wherever he was placed. He was carried everywhere.  For all we knew he was deaf and blind.

His mother would sit with him in his wheel chair on glorious New England summer days.  He was included in all of our family adventures and his sisters, aunts and uncles loved him, accepted him as he was and forgot about the prognosis although there was nothing but worry as to what was going to happen to him when we were gone.

And one beautiful morning in February 1985 when we least expected it, he simply woke up and died in my arms.

It was the first time he ever smiled .  I like to think he is with his mother and they are patiently waiting for me.


She sits beneath a massive oak

in the Garden of Noble Women.

Garden of the Promise

 for those who have borne the burden

yet never  heard the Word. 


He never walked. He never fed himself.

He could not see the light or hear the sound.

He never said the Word.

And when he died she buried him amidst her tears

in the lands of the Lord Calvert on the road to Padonia.

Now she sits in the quiet of a Summer’s day

waiting for the promise to be fulfilled.


On the horizon a kite and a  little boy

running o’er the meadow.

Sun lit mop top hair

  dancing in the breeze

Part running part falling toward her

Little fingers of his left hand leading the way

reaching for her

running like a little boy flying a  kite.


He is perfection

and as she rises joyfully on young legs

she moves toward him

and sees the face of God.

The same face now perfect in His image.


And from his laughing face she hears the Word 

The Word God  promised

to those who bore the burden

yet never heard the word.


“Mommy!  Mommy!”  



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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4 Responses to For Michael – Thirty Years Ago

  1. I’m at a loss for words after reading. This made me cry. Thank you for sharing so honestly.
    Kind regards,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sojourner says:

    I’ll let the loving and thoughtful words of this first person who commented speak for me, too.

    Thank you for sharing this deep portion of yourself with the rest of us!


  3. weggieboy says:

    sojourner is right. T Ibara Photo’s comment says everything. A very moving tribute to two departed loved ones….


  4. Jeff Nguyen says:

    My condolences to you, toritto. I can’t imagine your pain.


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