While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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On Jonah’s 4th Yahrzeit

I was reading an article about the first-responders in Newtown, CT, describing their experiences during the shooting and their lingering emotions six weeks later. As I worked my way through the interview, tears gushed down my face. At one point, I put my head down and just sobbed. I sympathized so deeply for all of them.

But there was something more. This is how things are for me now in a world without Jonah. Four years since his death, I continue to experience life differently than I did prior to March 2009. Back then, the tears came from that Kodak commercial of the father and his son watching a sunset, his child whispering, “Do it again, Daddy.” After all, I’ve been a father since Katie’s birth in 1988, and a sucker for kids and puppies ever since. Now there’s something else. I have this lingering sense of loss that, for the most part, resides quietly inside of me but, every now and then, insists on coming out and reminding me that Jonah’s no longer here, won’t ever be here, and I won’t ever stop missing him.

This isn’t to say that I’ve stopped living. That isn’t true at all. If you’ve spent any time with me, I hope you’ll agree. Life is still an amazing, purpose-filled and delight-producing experience. I certainly wish Jonah were here, but his absence doesn’t remove all of life’s goodnesses – only the ones connected to him.

And I think there’s a lesson here for us. While I certainly have a huge pain that I carry with me, I’m by no means the only one. So many of us are bruised, hurt, wounded by life. All of us face that profound, existential choice — whether or not to go on, whether or not to insist on living life fully and happily.

I’m actually kind of lucky. The source of my pain is also the source of my inspiration. Jonah lived his life with such exuberance. Each day was an opportunity to do something wonderful. My missing him may, on occasion, bring tears. But more often, it reminds me of how much beauty remains.

That helps me a lot.

And if you need it, I hope it can help you too.

Miss you, boy.


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