Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: The longest last time

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  • Jacqui Craig,

    I just had to go and hug my little girl extra extra tight. My heart goes out to that family, I can't even begin to imagine losing a child under any circumstances.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

    Thank you David.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Excellent post and a sad, sad reminder that, while all of us, from newborn to ancient-of-days, die, it seems worse & harder when it's a growing kid-

    I note that people can also 'lose' live children - to mental illness, estrangement - and have no Guardian Angels to help.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Brislen,

    OK, I'm going to need a warning at the start of your posts from now on. I insist on it.

    I think I would shatter into a million pieces if it was one of my girls.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • samuel walker,

    dammit David I thought I was done crying for the day.

    very nice words and none truer said.

    Since Nov 2006 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Whoops,

    Great writing, thanks.

    here • Since Apr 2007 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    My beloved eldest daughter is nine. Just thinking about this mother's grief, and the young life gone, has me weeping over my keyboard.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Thanks David, I do think it helps to share the grief. My thoughts are with them today.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Makes me wonder about the attitude of some who demand the right to hit their kids. Don't they realize how fragile/robust a kid is? A fine piece of writing David. Thankyou.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yikes. I'm teary-eyed in a busy Wellington cafe. People will talk.

    What a great piece of writing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Pdogge,

    I feel so very sad for this family and it must be just so awful awful awful....I am just very grateful for my children and grandchildren┬┤s lives. May we all hold this family in the light of our love.

    Tauranga • Since Feb 2008 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    One thing I've noticed that's changed when we moved back home after 20 years of OE was that suddenly we're going to many more funerals than weddings ....

    The ones that are choreographed by undertakers seem often to be stilted and awkward and the few that families take and make their own have been memorable and wonderfull, tears and laughter - sending someone off by getting the assembled multitude to sing "You can't get into heaven with roller skates" (at their request) brought smiles and wonder

    Arranging a funeral is not something we do that often and I'm sure it's easier to lean on someone who knows how it's done, on the other hand I can imagine that doing it yourself can be cathartic and help you work through the process

    As the baby boomers start popping off they'll start replacing this one more formal institution

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    on the other hand I can imagine that doing it yourself can be cathartic and help you work through the process

    Well, it gives you something to keep busy with when all you want to do really is lie on the bed & cry for days.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I think I would shatter into a million pieces if it was one of my girls.

    Exactly how I feel.

    Like all others, my thoughts are with your friends.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Havoc,

    Very special piece .

    cheers David

    Since Nov 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    I want to post something...but my words are weirdly failing me. I think I'll just go and give my 9 year old girl a hug.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Bee,

    I have a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat, and I want my Timmy (7 and 3 quarters) to come home from school, RIGHT NOW.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • James Francis,

    I'm with Andrew. I don't know what to say. So if I may, I'm going to use somebody else's words.

    It's a poem I saw a few years ago and I remember the big lump in my throat when I first read it.

    We have an 11 year old daughter. She occasionally causes us grief - what 11 year old girl won't. The poem reminds us, if we ever need reminding, how extraordinarily lucky we are.


    Oh little one
    if I had known
    it was to be
    our last day together
    I would have
    done it all
    differently.
    I would have taken you
    to the beach
    to hear the waves
    and to the mountains
    to feel the snow.
    I would have shown you
    rainbows and
    Christmas trees
    and ferris wheels.
    Or maybe
    I would have done
    exactly what I did.
    Sing you to sleep
    and tuck you in with Teddy
    and whisper
    goodnight.


    Thank you, David.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    My god thats so sad. I cannot imagine.

    A friend tragically lost her one-year old in recent times (on his birthday). The funeral was the saddest event. When they asked everyone at the end to come up and personally say farewell, to Jeff Buckleys Last Goodbye, it was devastating.

    I hope your friends eventually find some solace David.

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Anyone who has a child must surely weep. I thought I had got it together again and then I read the poem from Francis and started all over again.

    So terribly, terribly sad.

    thanks for the reminder of what's really precious out there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've been thinking about what makes this post so affecting: apart, obviously, from the heart-rending subject.

    It's the syntax. The rhythm, the use of the colon before all speech, the parts of conversation. It captures the episodic, slightly-out-of-time experience of an occasion where no one can feel they measure up to what has happened. I read it and felt like I was there.

    Sometimes, David, those of us who pay the rent with words can use them to do the important jobs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Yes. It's beautiful writing, and it's so good that you have told us this story. As Mark Graham said, it helps is to remember what is important.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Thank you all for the appreciative words. If you would like something somewhat more comforting to take away, there is this, which Michelle told us last night. A significant development in the treatment of Ewings Sarcoma is thought to be just a few years away. That could mean all the difference to the life of another nine year old some day.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm so desperately sorry this happened, David. There is nothing one can say or do that make the death of a child better. I would imagine you wish there was. However, you have served Finlee and her family well with your beautiful words. Bearing witness is so important. I believe that's what the traditional scribes did, and you follow in that tradition in a very fine manner.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Martha Craig,

    Man, I can hardly breathe after reading that. My heart goes out to Finlee's family and friends. I can't imagine a greater loss.

    Petone • Since Nov 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

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