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.]

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  1. Robert says:

    From one parent to another, my thoughts are with your family today.

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  2. donna says:

    You have my sympathy… I lost my mother five years ago and have been feeling that loss lately. Namaste….

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  3. bookfraud says:

    my condolences on the anniversary of your tragedy. words cannot express the heartbreak.

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  4. Sunil says:

    My condolences on the loss you have had. And I am really sorry that this is the first comment that I am posting, but a person who brings sunshine into other peoples lives through his work, will be rewarded with loads of happiness.

    Thank you for everything sir. I am faceless, but for whatever it is worth, join in you in praying for your son.


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  5. Bill MCwilliams says:

    “Time has blurred our memory and words have stilled our feelings, but we remember the boy and the day, and feel a muted sorrow”

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  6. Steve says:

    As a father who has also lost a son, you have my condolences for your loss of Andrew. We lost Jake a little over seven years ago, when he was eight. I will have to read Mr. Latham’s book.

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  7. Donald True says:

    I share your feelings and keep you in my prayers. I lost my 17 year old grandson in August. I see him every day and the grief will not go away. God bless you. Donald

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  8. allaboutgeorge says:

    Thank you for this post. My condolences to you and your loved ones.

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