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Sunday, April 4, 2004

The Post-Crescent

Reprinted with permission




A dark day: Sadly, not every story ends happily ever after

No matter how hard we try, some stories don’t have happy endings.

Writers — if I may be so bold as to include myself in that category — often try to end sad tales with evidence of light at the end of the tunnel, proof of the enduring human spirit.

I did just that two weeks ago, when I borrowed this space for a column on the impact my late son, Patrick, had on my family and me during his 23-minute life.

I ended on a happy note: News of our expected new arrival. Life after death.

And the column included an invitation for readers with similar stories to share them with me and, in turn, all of you.

My wife, Elise, and I were overwhelmed by the response. About 200 readers weighed in with in-person comments, phone calls, e-mails and letters.

Some who contacted me were parents or grandparents of babies who, like Patrick, died from Potter’s Syndrome. Others had lost children at birth or shortly thereafter from a variety of circumstances.

These stories were so powerful that The Post-Crescent has picked a date, April 18, to publish several in our Life & Style section. We’ll accept others for consideration until April 9.

As one person dryly remarked to me, perhaps this is journalistic group therapy. Many of these stories do not have happy endings. But all of them show strength, grace and the ability of the authors to accept the hand they were dealt.

They, in turn, have helped me deal with what I must now report: Elise and I learned Wednesday the baby she carried for more than 15 weeks has passed away.

This is quite a blow, given the news of our impending arrival was what first motivated me to put into words my feelings about Patrick’s death.

Now Elise and I have another loss to ponder and put into perspective.

The ending of our story, unfortunately, has changed.

But, thanks to many of you, our faith and optimism remains constant.

To read the original column from March 21, click here.


More information about Patrick’s brief life can also be found by clicking here.


Happily, on Sept. 6, 2005, we welcomed our daughter Rachel. You can read my column on her arrival by clicking here.


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