Photo Courtesy of Scott Kirk Photography

Sunday, September 12, 2010


       Remember this Peanuts character?  His name is Pig Pen and he was very easy to pick out from the Peanuts crowd, because he always had his cloud of dust that followed him.  I'm feeling very much like Pig Pen this weekend; however, the cloud that is following me is not a cloud of dust; my cloud is a cloud of sadness. 
       Sadness is a funny thing (not ha! ha! funny--strange funny).  It comes upon a person like an autumn fog creeping over the foothills of the Blue Mountains.  At first one may think one's eyes are playing tricks on them.  What is that thing coming over the hill?  Is it smoke? No, it is fog, creeping slowly into the valley, bringing with it a chill that is hard to escape.  My sadness is much like that.  It starts as something small--something someone says about Andrew.  Next thing I know, that is all I can think about.  Then I start remembering our life as a family and I realize a cloud of sadness has joined my new life. 
       We had another first yesterday--a Cougar football Saturday.  It was a good game to watch and yes, even a win for the Cougs.  However, I felt my companion with me--my cloud of sadness.  Even among all that Crimson and Gray, my companion of sadness ruined my day.  Usually, being around that many people in my favorite colors always brings me joy.  Not now.  Not as long as my cloud of sadness was with me.
       Back to Pig Pen.  He never complained about his life.  Who knows why that cloud of dust followed his every move? What was his life like away from the Peanuts kids?  Whatever it was like, he didn't complain about it.   I am not complaining about my life--okay, so I am-- but just this once.  However, I guess I just want people to understand what life is like for me at present.  My cousin told me that in her job, when a major event passes they call their new status the "new normal."  So what is my "new normal"?
       During this weekend I have discovered what my "new normal" is.  It is a life without my son.  When I go to school events, Andrew won't be there.  When we make plans, we don't have to check Andrew's calendar.   So my real discovery about what my new normal is includes my cloud.  One minute I am ready to go to a social event and then next minute my cloud stops me. How can I be around people who are so happy when I am so sad?  
       So, I want everyone to treat me just like the Peanuts kids treated Pig Pen.  He was their friend, dust cloud and all, and even though his dust took the curl out of one girl's hair, he was still their friend.  Still be my friend.  I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable about talking to me about Andrew.  I want to talk to you about him.  Let's remember the goofy things he did.  Let's remember the sweet things he did.  Let's remember the irritating things he did. Let's laugh about him.  Let's cry about him.  Let's remember him.

~Andrew's Mom


  1. I think this is a fabulous analogy. And while you may feel the need, to explain your cloud, no explination is necessary. The reality is, that cloud will never go away, but it will lessen and you will find purpose with it.

  2. Oh my... yes, that's the best I can muster right now. This is powerful. And to think it started with Pig Pen, an oft forgotten member of the Peanuts gang. Roseann, this is such a poignant message to people on how to treat grieving people. Part of my job at our church is working for our Pastoral Care Pastor. I think this blog entry is a very tangible thing to share with him, with your permission, I would love to do that. Thanks for letting us all in on your journey.


  3. I have had similar clouds... almost thunder cloud types when my son passed. The thunder clouds came with such rain storms as I cried when I needed and it would pass. The clouds do become brighter and blue sky begins to peak out again. Eventually the sun shines and yes, a new normal beings as our worlds constantly change. There is still momentary pain when I see a picture or things he was involved in. It is a pain that seems to sneak up as a reminder but I thank my Lord Jesus Christ for being my rock and comforter. Keep looking ahead and don't get stuck in the past. It can cripple. I'd be happy to talk if you'd like. My son died this January.

  4. You have a gift for writing! My Aunt Sharon (Eaton) sent me here. I am a Football coach at Mt. Spokane High School and a huddle leader for our Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Your stories are so uplifting even if they don't feel as such when you write them. I had an amazing player of mine take his life two years ago, and reading your stories re-open wounds which allows me to ask God to be the surgeon, as only he can. I will be speaking at our first huddle this year, and I plan on reading over your blog many times in preparation for that.

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey. Although I have not met you, my prayers are engulfed with you and your family.


  5. This is lovely Roseanne. I am so in awe of your response in all of this.

    I lost my sister when I was 18. She was 15. I couldn't deal with it. I didn't attend the funeral. I wrote her letters. I just pretended she was still here even though I knew better. And I watched my parents fall apart.

    She was buried in a small town in Montana.

    This summer, I finally went there, found her marker and said good-bye. Nearly 20 years later.

    I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, other than the fact that I know "the cloud". In a much smaller way than you, but it is familiar.

    You have always been someone I've admired. A woman of strength, honesty, kindness and integrity. I would be honored to call you friend.

    Here is an article I wrote a few years ago that touches on a bit of my struggle and what I've learned (and continue to learn) since.

  6. This is so true there is never a day that you will not think of your beautiful son.When i read these storys i just want to hug you.Thank you for sharing.