My Son Andrew Would Have Turned 10 Today

My son Andrew would have turned 10 today.

I usually try to say a little something about him on the blog around this time of year.

This year, I commemorate Andrew through the words of a new friend, John Latham. In his day job, Latham is a leading climate scientist. He also moonlights as a poet.

I generally don’t have much appreciation for poetry. I have to admit, when Latham pulled a book of verse he had written out of his briefcase and handed it to me, I would have told him to keep it if that hadn’t seemed incredibly rude.

But it turns out that, like me, John Latham had a son who died. The poems in the book, entitled Sailor Boy, are dedicated to his son.

These wonderful poems transported me back to the time of Andrew’s death in a way I never could have imagined. I would never want to stay in that state permanently, but nonetheless it is a gift to be able to go back and visit once in a while. As time passes, it gets harder and harder to reach that place.

Perhaps my favorite poem in the collection (although it is an odd one) is the one I’ve reproduced here:


She cuts in before I can explain.

Yes, I recollect your booking:

Three-tier cake. July.

Marinated prawns and quiche.

I say we have to bring it forward.

It wasn’t my reception, but my son’s.

Not his wedding, now.

His funeral.

At last she breaks the silence.

How about some nice pork pies?

Folk eat more when they’re sad.

I hear you laughing.

Andrew, we still miss you every day.

[Addendum: Thanks so much to all the kind folks who posted comments below; they were profoundly moving.]

Erin Micklo

This was beautiful, Steve. I always think of Andrew on his birthday, and throughout October. There are so many people who still feel his loss. I feel blessed to have known him, and I tell my daughter Maggie about him each year at this time, as their birthdays were only 3 days apart. We'll never forget him!

josh b

As a father of two small children, the title of this post stopped me cold in my tracks. I do not believe that I can imagine your pain.

I admire you for your strength.

God bless you and your family.

Josh B.


Sorry to hear about your loss. I have a son who turns 2 in two weeks and I can't imagine losing him.

Robert Barr

I say this with tears in my eyes that I don't know how you do it, but God bless. As the father of a 3 year old girl, life would in effect, be unlivable.


All of us are hanging in there for a reason.Today I know yours.The depth of your pain and suffering will probably grow each year even though the outer wounds may heal.Your life is shaped by it today and will be tomorrow.So just keep what you are doing because you are good at it.Just keep reminding us every year how people and relationships matter.Thanks and good luck.


I am deeply sorry for your loss. I wish I had some way of offering comfort, but I can think of nothing. You touch so many lives; I hope that connection can support you through the painful times. There are millions of us out here who care about you.

Michael O'Connor

We have been off-line for a few days, vacationing in the Rockies where our son died 17 years ago. He was a freshman in college. Your post was a shock. This information always is. You have our compassion.

Donald Henri

My deepest sympathies Steven... And thanks for sharing, as a parent reading something like this continues to provide a spark in our continuing love for our own children


As a father of 4 year old girl, I can't imagine the pain you have gone through. My thoughts are prayers are with you.



Being a parent myself it saddens me to hear when parents outlive their children and makes me think deeply about my faith and the kind of father I am. Thanks for your post and the poem, it is the one-hand-clapping in my day.

God be with you



My deepest sentiments go out to you and your family on this date.

Here in Brazil, we usually say 'meus sentimentos', too.

Ed Rourke

Thank you for sharing this. Every once in a while something unexpected (like this post) brings back not only the memory of my son Adam's death, but more importantly, his life. It is now only through these memories that he still lives.


Roland Martinez

Economists know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.

Not true I guess, condolences. I love my sons and all my economic activity and thinking is based around making a better world for them.


I don't know what to say, but I wish you all the happiness I can.


I am not a father but a son. I just wanted to say thanks to you for making me realize how much our parents care about us. I have taken some stupid risks that have put my life in danger and of course, have caused a lot of pain to my parents. Reading your post has inspired me to stop living my life on the edge.

Jenna Verne

Steven, am a former Oak Park-er who met your wife not long after Andrew died and she helped me through the death of my baby girl in 1999. Every once in a while I think about you all and especially of your little guy (whom I met at E. Hoffenkamp's house once). I, too, sometimes visit that 'place' I was at in the beginning. I do it on purpose- by looking at pictures, visiting her grave or reading her baby book. Perhaps I do it because I no longer grieve openly yet emotions still need to come out, or perhaps to remind myself of how far I've come. Know that you're not alone and thanks for sharing the poem.


God bless you.


I'm able to sympathise, but I will not pretend to pity you as I will not pretend to know you.

For your own sake, don't seek relief in your strangers.


I don't really know exactly how you feel but I want you to know that I have thought about Andrew and really do wish that your memories of him will always be there.


I did not know this about you. My condolences and God's peace to you.