Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So Long, My Boy

Nicholas Andrew Butcher died tonight. He was my son and I loved him, he was a good kid who lost his way. He lost his way enough that tonight in the county jail he took his life. At 3:00 AM the police knocked on our door and brought us the news. Two distressed cops and a chaplin came to my door to tell me that our son had committed suicide. It wasn't a long conversation, there was no need for them to have to watch my wife fall apart and there was nothing anyone could do to comfort her and my grief was bone deep enough that an outsider was no more than an annoyance.

Nick started his life as one of those people who charm you with no particular effort on his part. Things stopped working out for him by the time he went to school, school was a struggle and outside his interest. He couldn't stick with things long, even things he was good at. By age seven he could burn me out of a ball glove and throw accurately, a pitching standout in the making. A couple years of baseball and he no longer cared about it, he kept at it a bit longer, I think to please us, and quit. By the time he quit he was no longer a desirable team mate because he just didn't care. Much of Nick's childhood was like that, things he liked and was good at stopped mattering. Drag racing entranced him for a season and then he wanted nothing to do with it. It became the ordinary course of events that short term interest was followed by disinterest of a fundamental nature.

By high school he had started to get into trouble, pissant stuff, but sufficient until he finally stole my wife's car and cracked it up. That launched a couple years of trouble and involvement with the courts and juvenile department. He pulled himself together enough to get a GED and he enlisted in the Oregon National Guard. We went to his graduation in Columbus GA and I spoke to his Drill Instructor who allowed that Nick had been a stand out after a rough start. Allowed is the proper word, DIs aren't nannies and their job isn't reassuring parents. He moved over to the Portland area and got a decent job and quickly moved up and true to pattern lost interest in it and his girl friend and walked back into troubles. When they got deep enough he moved back home.

This is a small enough town that you become known and if you become known for troubles, you will be watched. Nick couldn't seem to keep away from things that would cause him troubles. He's been in the county jail for the last two months awaiting trial, and it seemed that there wasn't anything against him and he insisted that this he hadn't done. Despite practice Nick wasn't a good liar, it seemed as though the part that lied was always in conflict with the part that knew better, whatever; he was no good at it. Nick's pattern was to do well and get tired of it and make bad decisions mostly involving the easy way out.

Tonight he made another one of those decisions. It's no one's fault, not the jail or anyone else, he just made another one of those Nick decisions. I'm sure that he didn't consider that despite our disappointment and anger with him that this would break our hearts. It does. Now an hour later as I type this tears have finally started to run down my cheeks. My boy is gone and it hurts. I kept hoping he would find his way back, that my pal would win out in the end. There are inumerable good memories of the kid I loved and now that's what I have. I choose to let the bad stuff fade and to keep alive pictures like the 4 year old lugging his toy gun throught the woods trying to sneak and still keep up with Dad on an elk hunt and his pride in learning woods craft and ability to spot animals no human should be have been able to. Squatting in the back yard catching for him in fear of being broken if a pitch got away and his absolute laughing pleasure when I had to pull the glove off and rub a badly stung hand.

In a couple hours I have to start calling my parents and sister in Michigan and tell them. My mother is not going to take this well. She's too old to have this kind of news, that her grandson has preceded her. It certainly is something no parent ever wants, to outlive their child. I have now done that and it is wrong on so many levels of experience that an explanation would only have meaning to some one who already sadly knows.

I share this with you because it is the only monument he will have beyond a small family. His friends are not the sort to carry anything forward from this, from his life and death. There will be no funeral or services, they are for the living and the only ones who would find it meaningful don't need it or the pressure to travel long distances to commemorate something this sadly pointless. He knew that my own life had been a mess and that I'd started over again right before he was born and that there is such a thing as a come back. He decided to do what he did, and that's how that is going to have to be. He'll have no more failures to deal with, but there is so much that he will have lost out on. We'll deal with this, because we have to deal with it but it will never be right. He almost made it twenty one years, almost.

So long my boy.

(Because this keeps getting accessed I'm adding a 1/25/11 postscript - you should read this, also:

Giving a damn whatever you might think as a response to the folks who've spent time on this post.

268 comments:

1 – 200 of 268   Newer›   Newest»
joycemocha said...

So sorry, Chuck. Nick was just a couple of years younger than my boy, and this is the kind of thing I feared for about a year and a half--but he's made his way out. I think. God, when the kids lose their way, they lose it big.

So, so sorry.

Peter Buckley said...

Chuck--

I can barely even imagine your heartbreak. I'm very, very sorry to read about your son.

BubbaDave said...

My deepest sympathies-- I can't imagine what you're going through right now.

ferg said...

Chuck - there are no words - call me if you want/need to talk or if you wife want/need to talk - there aren't many that can 'understand' this new journey that you and your wife are no taking - but Robin and I do, and I'll leave it at that - my cell is 615 642 0816 - call me and I'll give you my home phone if you need/wish -

Love you brother !

ferg....

incertus said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through right now.

Anonymous said...

My deepest condolences. I've never lost a child, but both my parents passed early. I wish I could offer some kind of emotional help. But I pray for you and your family for your loss. Take care as best you can for now.

James W. Pharo said...

You are part of a community. Your memorial ensures your son's memory will not be lost.

I hope in the coming days and months you are able to share more memories of him.

Your loss is a loss for all of us...

Svensker said...

I can't even begin to imagine. Deepest sympathies and holding you and your family in the light.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, I have a brother who nearly went down that road. He finally straightened himself out, but it was a long struggle. The worst thing was watching and knowing that our ability to help him help himself was limited at best. It was his decision, and his alone.

Agsrue said...

Chuck,

My condolences to you and your family. I definitely have you all in my thoughts. I wish a light for you during this dark time.

Genine

Trinity said...

With deep condolences to you and your family Chuck. I hold you in my thoughts.

Tattoosydney said...

Chuck,

My sincere sympathies to you and you family.

Michael

Dennis-SGMM said...

Praying for you, Chuck.

chopper said...

jesus, chuck, i'm so sorry. i have an 11-week-old and the thought of something happening to her is mind-blowingly painful.

my deepest, deepest sympathies to you and your family.

Bulworth said...

Chuck, so sorry to hear of your terrible loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Aren Cambre said...

Chuck, I am so sorry to hear this.

BillD said...

I am sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

posted from bj:
Deepest condolences to you, Chuck. We are thinking of you, this little community here, and grieving with you, in the loss of your precious boy. I felt privileged to read about him, his life and struggles, in your blog. I’m so deeply sorry. Please accept my concern and shared sadness.

hp

Anonymous said...

Chuck, I read and cried and cried some more. Please try to understand that your son was given to this world for a reason and also taken for a reason we will never understand in this lifetime. As you said you will remember the wonderful things about him forever, and he will remain in your heart eternally. This tradegy
may take you in a different direction. God Bless you and your family.

Original Lee said...

Chuck - My deepest condolences to you and your wife. One of my cousins was a lot like your Nick. Broken heart doesn't even begin to describe it. We're thinking of your family this week.

Shygetz said...

I can't imagine, Chuck. I am terribly sorry for you and your family. Yours is a tragedy that no parent should ever have to bear.

Hugh said...

Every parent who reads this cannot help but be shaken. Your comments are honest and loving, the best a parent can hope to be.

RoonieRoo said...

Chuck,

I'm so sorry. My first husband committed suicide and I can feel a part of your grief. I say only a part because as deep and horrible as my husband's decision affected me and as much as I loved him in my very heart and soul, it still is just not the same as losing a child this way. You have my deepest sympathies.

Anonymous said...

posted from bj:
Deepest condolences to you, Chuck. We are thinking of you, this little community here, and grieving with you, in the loss of your precious boy. I felt privileged to read about him, his life and struggles, in your blog. I’m so deeply sorry.

hp

Emma Anne said...

So, so sorry.

Anonymous said...

Dear Chuck -

So very, very sorry to hear this news.

I don't think there's a parent out there who doesn't have a catch in his or her heartbeat reading this. I hope you feel strengthened by the supportive thoughts and prayers of your many friends...and folks like me you've never met.

All the best to you and your wife.

Zuzu's Petals
(from B-Juice)

Buck said...

The most horrible and helpless feeling in the world is to be a parent who is unable to reach a struggling child.

My heart breaks for you and your wife.

I too wish a light for you in this dark time.

realbtl said...

Just said a HP prayer for Nick, you and your family. Please accept my deepest condolences.

montysano said...

Chuck, I have a son almost the same age (just shy of 21), so I can't imagine your pain. You'll be in my thoughts these next days.

montysano

Jackie said...

My condolences on your loss. No one can say anything to mitigate the tragedy except that we keep you in our thoughts.

Depression is a terrible disease. I'm sorry your son lost his battle.

Jackie

Richard said...

I hope to never know your grief!
My condolences!

A Mom Anon said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Chuck,I wish I knew what else to say.

KDP said...

Coming from BJ. My sincerest condolences, words cannot do more than to let you know that you are in our thoughts. I am so sorry for you loss.

Valdivia said...

so sorry Chuck on the loss of your son. I lost my only brother to depression/addiction and then suicide just a few years ago. my thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry and know how you feel. I lost my son two years ago to suicide. I almost took me too. Stay strong brother and remember he is at peace.

coredump said...

My heartfelt condolences and I pray that with time you are able to put this behind you and carry the good memories with you forever. God bless!

Joshua James said...

I'm truly sorry for your loss ...

biscuits said...

Thank you for sharing Nick's story. Clearly, he was much loved. My deepest condolences to you and your family. I bought some perennials yesterday. Today I will plant them for Nicholas.

WereBear said...

I'm so sorry. Please do not torment yourself with what you or he might have done differently. You both did the best you could at the time. And that is all we can do.

Martin said...

So terribly sorry for your loss, Chuck. We'll have you and your son in our hearts today. Stay strong.

-Martin

Anonymous said...

How terrible. There are no words. You and your family will be in my prayers. May you all take comfort in each other.

Ash Can from BJ

Fulcanelli (balloon-juice.com) said...

Please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of your Son. We aren't supposed to outlive our children... Try to remember the good times and be strong. Peace to you and your wife, Chuck.

Krista said...

Hi Chuck, I already sent you an email on this, but just wanted to say again how incredibly sorry I am for your heartbreaking loss. I know you did your best for him -- your clear-eyed and unconditional love for him shines through in what you write about him. You're definitely in our thoughts.
Krista

Stacy6 said...

My deepest sympathy for your loss, Chuck. I'm more sorry than I know how to say that you have that story to tell, but thank you for sharing it so we can wish peace and healing for you and your family.

Ivan Ivanovich Renko said...

My very deepest condolences, Chuck; you and your wife are in our prayers.

Renko from BJ

Matthew said...

Oh my god, I'm so...if anything like this ever happened to me, I'm sure I'd go entirely crazy. Please stay strong, and know that there are many people in the world who wish they could do something to help you through this time.

(also from Bjuice)

DecidedFenceSitter said...

...

Wish I had some good words, healing words for you. Best wishes to you and your family.

AhabTRuler said...

You have my condolences. As someone who has struggled with depression throughout my life, I can say I understand a little of what your son was going through, and as someone who has lost friends to suicide I understand what you are going through now.
I don't know what to say beyond that, or even if their is anything to be said. However, both you and your son will be in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, I am so sorry for you and your family's loss.
Judy

Comrade Stuck said...

So very sorry for your loss. Sympathies.

Comrade Stuck

Anonymous said...

I really fear that my son (10 years old) is on this road. But reading the other comments, I see that there are many turnoffs still available to him.

I'm very sorry for your loss.

Rick

Ted said...

My heartfelt condolences, Chuck. I'm so sorry.

South of I-10 said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your son. No parent should have to face the death of a child, I think it is every parent's worst fear. Your tribute to your son is beautiful.

Tom Levenson said...

Chuck,
My deepest sympathy. My family has been hit by suicide in the last three generations, and there are no good words. The only thing that has helped over the decades is to remember that illness takes many forms, including ones where you don't see the damage spreading. If your son had died of cancer or something, it would be just as great a loss, but you'd have the knowledge that he didn't choose to leave you. That's just as true here, just harder to get to.

My condolences to you and your wife.

Tom

Ned said...

I can add little but my deepest condolences -- your words make whatever I could add seem small in comparison. My best for all of you.

Wile E. Quixote said...

Chuck, I'm so sorry for the loss of your son.

Brian Farmer said...

Chuck,
I am so sorry for you. Betsy and I are praying for you guys and know this hurt is greater than any of us can imagine. Your blog will be used, I am sure, to help others dealing with the issues you all and Nick dealt with and you guys are now dealing with. Thanks for sharing through such great hurt.

Micah Seymour said...

So sad.

Warren Terra said...

My condolences for your tragic loss.

Tsulagi (from BJuice) said...

If I had words that could give comfort, I would write them. I have a son and daughter, and can’t imagine the level of grief if one preceded me.

Thinking as a parent, I imagine you might be looking back and wondering what you could have done differently. Luckier than most on the planet, I grew up with two caring parents who provided a roof, food on the table, clothes, and love. All anyone could hope for in a start on life. If I come up short, it’s on me, not my parents.

Best wishes.

Nicole said...

Another person sent from the BJ site. I'm so sorry.

capelza said...

Chuck, my heart goes out to you and your family and to Nick.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, No words. A heartfelt hug for you, your wife and family.

Therese

Anonymous said...

Came here from a link at B-Juice. As a father of a 20 YO son, I can only imagine how this would have hit me. 2 years ago I got the call that my son had wrecked the car...thankfully, he emerged from that without a scratch. I'm not religious, but I thanked God for that intervention. I wish you and your family the grace and strength that this void will have on your lives. Deepest condolences.

cbear said...

Chuck,
So very sorry for your loss. I lost my brother to suicide last year and know how empty and desolate you must feel. I can only hope that the words and prayers of your many, many friends in the online community will offer you some small measure of solace.
Stay strong, brother.

cbear

Anonymous said...

my stepfather lost his son to suicide last November. His son as well had lost his way though his father never stopped trying to help him.

Condolences and best wishes from r€nato @ b-juice.

The Moar You Know said...

"I'm sorry" is so pathetically inadequate to the task, but it will have to do.

Anonymous said...

Therese = passerby

empty said...

My sincere condolences Chuck. Your son loved you and knew you loved him or he would not have come back to town. Hold the gift of his life in your heart. I hope your heartbreak and your wife's becomes somewhat bearable. I cannot begin to imagine the sorrow you are feeling right now but my heart is with you.

Todd Olsen said...

I'm so sorry for you and your family.

Oliver said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, and for your family's loss. My thoughts are with you.

Jason Eckelman said...

Chuck - I'm really, really sorry for your loss. What a horrible thing to have happen. All my best to you and your wife. Hang in there.

Greg Means said...

Chuck, if there is anything i can do, let me know. I'm very sorry you have to endure this. He is in a better place, but that doesn't take the pain away for you here.

Nikita said...

So sorry for your loss Chuck. There really are no words when things like this happen. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

ImJohnGalt said...

Chuck, I can't even begin to imagine the loss you feel right now. Know that as much as your mourn the loss of your son, so are we all holding those left behind in our hearts. My deepest, most sincere condolences on your loss.

ShortWoman said...

((((virtual hug))))

Sometimes no words are the right words.

KRK said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss, Chuck. Your post here is a beautiful monument to your son, both his gifts and his struggle. My condolences to you and all your family.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Butcher (Chuck),

Please accept my condolences on the loss of your son. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Sincerely,

Rick

Anonymous said...

An earlier poster, Karen, said it perfectly: 'Your post here is a beautiful monument to your son."
With prayers for all your family,
Diane

Anonymous said...

My condolences on your loss. I hope both you and your wife find peace and comfort during this hard time.

Barn.Door said...

I'm sorry for the death of your son.

Zach

Screamin' Demon said...

So sorry for your loss. I had a brother whose troubled journey through life was even briefer than Nick's. He died in 1979 at 18 in a single-car rollover while driving a stolen car drunk and stoned, taking a friend with him. All he cared about in life was getting high. He had no respect for human life, not even his own. My mother was diagnosed with cancer five months after the funeral, but she didn't even try to fight it. She just wanted to die. Some young people just don't consider how their actions will affect others. Losing a brother is bad enough; losing a child has to be a thousand times worse. I cannot imagine your pain right now. I am truly sorry.

John S. said...

What a heartbreaking loss...more encouraging words fail me. My son is barely two, and I can't even comprehend such a thing.

My thoughts are with you and your family today, Chuck.

DrDave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
drunken hausfrau said...

So very sorry for you and your wife... no parent should have to bury a child... it is an unfair sorrow. May Nick find the peace that eluded him in life. May you and your wife find solace in your happy memories.

DrDave said...

Chuck:

I am so sorry for your loss. It is not fair and not right when a child predeceases his parent. And it is excruciating to lose someone you care about when they take their own life. I've sadly been down this road twice in the past few years. Try to take solace in the fact that there are people who care about you and who you can lean on as you go on with your life.

DrDave

David said...

I can't imagine.
I'm sorry.
My thoughts are with your family.

mark k said...

so sorry. i lost my 29 yr. old son Ryan almost 2 years ago and his memory is what makes me want to be a better man to my loved ones. his 2 brothers have done well despite taking it harder than anyone.

so sorry for your tragedy and may you find some strength and much love to help all of your family

Abu Mtn Dew said...

Chuck,

Having recently lost my kid sister to suicide I can understand the pain and my thoughts and prayers go with you.

former capitalist said...

So sorry, Chuck. My sincere regards. Hold your wife and kids.

"Ecks" said...

This may be just pixels from a stranger, but.... but I know someone who's still going through some of the same fights as your son did, so I perhaps have a wisp of an inkling what you and your son must have gone through, and an even more dotted outline of what you must have to live through now. I'm deeply sorry for your loss, and wish peace upon you. May you find, in good time, sense to be made of this senselessness.

Wonk said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Chuck. My own family went through this 2 years ago when my brother took his life.

Losing a loved one is always difficult, but suicide makes it that much more difficult because you always wonder if there was something you could have done to prevent it.

I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Delia said...

Came here from BJ.

I'm so sorry for your loss and your pain. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Delia

JenJen said...

Chuck, I'm so very sorry for your loss. This is heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

I'm so terribly sorry for your tragic loss. I wish I knew something more encouraging to say, but sometimes there are no words.

I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

JosieJ (from Bjuice)

Kevin said...

Oh my, I'm sad to hear this, Chuck, my condolances to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

My condolences from Toronto, Canada. Stay strong, hold your wife, you'll make it through.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Hug your wife tight and stay close.
~ Theresa (a Balloon Juice reader)

Jim Dos said...

Chuck,
My sincerest deepest condolences on your loss. I also lost my 15 yo son to his own choice. It's a time to hug and remember. Your friends are here for you, when you or your wife want. Call me on my cell if you want to share. 319 230 8993. A time to remember and reflect. Love and prayers go out to you , your wife and extended family.

Jim

Donna said...

I am so very sorry,Chuck. condolences to you and your family.

May your son rest in peace.

lilysmom

Throwin Stones said...

Our sincere condolences Chuck.
Will keep you in our thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Chuck,

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Warmest regards,

"liberal" (from Balloon Juice)

Anonymous said...

My deepest sympathies, Chuck, to you and your family.
I can't imagine anything more painful than losing one of my children.

Indylib from BJ

Anonymous said...

Chuck,

I am very sorry to hear this news. My condolences to you. This is tragic, a terrible loss, it is so very sad.

Binzinerator

Lettuce said...

Chuck-

I don't have much to say, my boy is 15 and I hope in ways only a father or mother can hope that he finds his way...

Your story just tells me how difficult this is.

All of our love.

merrinc said...

I grieve with you and your wife, Chuck, and I pray that Nick has finally found the peace which eluded him in life.

Anonymous said...

I am terribly sorry for you and your family and I just wanted to let you know that. Not that its any of my business but please don't write off the idea of a memorial for your son as unnecessary. Wait a year and then plan one. Its not for your son, but for you and those he left behind. They are going to grieve his lost chances and they need a place to express their anger and their frustration and their remembered love.

aimai

William said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, Chuck. As somebody who screwed up quite a bit before I finally got my act together, I wanted to tell you that this was beyond any control a parent could have. If my experience was any guide, in the end it was beyond your son's control as well.

I appreciate you sharing this with the world, and next I face the death of a loved one, I'll remember your brave and mature example. Thank you.

bootsinowski said...

Sorry to hear about your loss Chuck. You don't know me but I've quietly read your blog and also Balloon Juice for a couple of years now and it just really really is a terrible thing, so much so that words I mean to say just end up as stupid sounds on the end of my tongue. I lost both my best friend and my grandfather just a very short time ago, and it hurt like hell, still don't really think I've gotten over that hump yet even though it's been a few months. Anyway, none of this is particularly useful advice for you but what's fortunate for me is that there is none, so I guess I can stop feeling inadequate now.

Know something of what you are going through; take care and god bless.

ilsita said...

I will be holding you and your family close to my heart... and hope that all of us can help you carry this enormous burden of grief.

kathy in Blue Bell said...

Chuck, you don't know me, I have never commented, but please know that my heart is breaking for you. I am so very sorry for what must be a gut wrenching loss. My deepest condolences to both you and your family.

AnneW said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

iluvsummr said...

Dear Chuck, so sorry about your loss (just saw this through Balloon Juice). My condolences to you and your wife; I wish I could do something more than just write on a blog.

srv from BJ said...

There are those free spirits, and they burn brighter and faster than the rest of us. As a friend and relative, I've tried to change them, slow them down, keep them between the lines, but it just doesn't work. They are what they are, sometimes they change, but they have to find that path on their own. We just have to love them as they are or let go.

You sound like a father who figured that out early, and gave all you could.

Condolences for you loss.

Anonymous said...

Chuck,

I just can't imagine what you and your wife are going through. You have my deepest sympathy.

--Steve (Polish the Guillotines)

Anonymous said...

Chuck,
Having lost my brother the same way, I cried like a baby when I read your tribute to your son. Nothing that I can say can lessen your pain, but know that I'm keeping you and your wife in my heartfelt thoughts.

Terri from BJ

Zak Johnson said...

The way you've always spoken about Nick it was always clear you loved him. Rest assured he knew that, too. You have my deepest sympathy.

gypsy howell said...

I hope you can feel my big hug come through the internet. I know you must need one.

I'm so very sorry.

Rome Again said...

I can't find the words. Please just know that I'm thinking of you and your family at this time.

Bad Horse's Filly from BJ said...

Chuck - my deepest sympathies. I really have no better words than what many have already written here, but I wanted add a comment to let you know there's a big group of us thinking of you.

BER said...

No words can express my feelings, Chuck, so I hope the mere fact I'm writing here says all that's needed. :-(

Laura W said...

Oh Chuck,
What a heartbreaking post this is to read. I am so sorry for you and your family. You will all be in my thoughts over the coming days.
Laura W

Trent Lutz said...

Your words are striking, poignant, and a testament to your son. Thank you for sharing this with such honesty and reflection. As many have said before me here, there are no words to describe what you and your family must be going through. Know that many of us are wishing we could do something. You are in our thoughts.

NM said...

Here from BJ.

My deep condolences to you, your wife and family.

Anonymous said...

Dear Chuck,

I am so very sorry for your loss. All of my good wishes are with you and your family.

Kate R said...

I can't imagine your pain. I'm sorry.

gnomedad said...

So very sorry, Chuck. I can't begin to imagine your grief. But as my brother-in-law walked a similar path, I know something of the helpless and frustration of watching someone throw his life away. On some level, it wasn't his choice and it's not fair.

creature said...

My deepest sympathies, Chuck. Be well.

BethanyAnne said...

Chuck, my deepest sympathies. I wish I had more to offer.

Lupita said...

Chuck,
My love and prayers are with you.
Lupita

AnneLaurie said...

Chuck, I am so sorry... my condolences. Those of us with similar family histories can attest: Nick was born with a crippling illness, which he and his family fought bravely for many years before succumbing. The fact that Nick's "non-neurotypical" brain chemistry didn't show up on a blood test or a lab smear didn't make his illness, or the courage it took to fight, any less real or worth commemorating.

Anonymous said...

Chuck...I don't know you, but I hurt for you. I'm so, so sorry. Take care.

filkertom said...

I am so very sorry, Chuck. Hugs and gentle songs for you, your family and friends.

(I got here by way of Balloon Juice. I don't know you, except you being a fellow human, which in the final analysis is all that really matters.)

Halfmad said...

My deepest sympathies to you.

Phil said...

There are no words that adequately express the sorrow I feel for your loss. Courage, Chuck.

Anonymous said...

I think of taking the same road. After reading your post I think of those that will be left behind and I just don't think I can do it to them.

Nothstine said...

My condolences and deepest sympathy to you and your family, Chuck. Brave heart.

bn

KSinMA said...

I'm so sorry. Deepest sympathy to you and your family.

Keeneye said...

I can only say that I don't know what to say.

Nick was a charismatic young man who made me smile upon first meeting him.

I'm so, so sorry for you and Scottie.

Darkrose said...

I'm so sorry. My condolences and thoughts are with you and your family.

Kevin said...

I'm truly sorry, my friend. My sincere condolences to you and your's.

LanceThruster said...

My heart goes out to you, your family, your friends, and loved ones. I know the struggles of dealing with emotional pain and the helplessness one feels watching someone else try to deal with it.

I've always thought of you as a wonderful voice of reason and compassion. I'm moved by your remembrances of your son.

My sincere condolences.

jspringer said...

Chuck,
I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing it with your friends. I wish we could take some of the grief from you, but that is not possible.

ErinSiobhan said...

I am so very sorry that you and your wife have suffered such a devastating loss. I wish you peace and hope that your memories of your son will bring you comfort in the future.

Nicole said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know those words can't convey my thoughts adequately, but I don't know what else to say besides that. I'm 22, almost 23 myself, and I can only imagine what you and your wife are going through.

I hope that with time, the grief and the pain will ease some, and you will find a way to cope with your tremendous loss. You have my deepest sympathies.

jeffxinTX said...

Agh. I hate that you have to go through this, had to go through that. Very sorry. Do what you have to do to get by for now, and eventually (too long from now, but you will get there), you will be back to seeing the world all right and walking on two feet (though your balance will be, probably, different from before).
There is much love out here for you, from the saints and the sinners.

Alex said...

So sorry for your lose it is a hard thing to go through

Micgar said...

Chuck-I am so sorry that this happened. Just know that you and your family are in our thoughts. Like others have said, no words can convey our thoughts but all I can say is sorry.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, I am so sorry.

Janet Strange (via Balloon Juice)

Anonymous said...

So very, very sorry for your loss.

Kathy Cole said...

I'm so very sorry Chuck. Have stopped here occasionally from the comments at Balloon Juice, and came again after the very sad note there. My best to you and your wife.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss, and if thoughts and prayers can help at all, know that you and your family are in mine.

-Angie (BJ mostly-lurker)

Bill said...

Condolences from the heart Chuck.

Objective Scrutator said...

Chuck, I feel really bad for you. Remember that you know many wonderful things about your son that no one else knows, or perhaps just one other person knows. Keep in mind that these very human, very touching moments are moments that couldn't be produced in any other way with any other child, or without the man supporting the child. These are moments that you should be proud of, that perhaps even trillions of families throughout history would not even approach the pure joy that you must have had with him. The most famous people and the most prolific thinkers surely envy the moments you must have had.

I am certain that your son would not have had his life lived with any other dad.

ajollypyruvate said...

My condolences to you, your wife, and all your family.

Steeplejack said...

You have my deepest sympathy and condolences. I will say a prayer for the living and the dead.

Bpaul said...

Oh my god Chuck, I'm so sorry for you and yours. I'm not two weeks, maybe even days, from becoming a father for the first time, and I just can't imagine the heart break.

Don't know what it could be, but if you need anything from Portland way, or in the blogosphere, or whatnot just let me know.

Bp

Robert Nelsen said...

I'm sorry to hear about Nick. No parent should ever be allowed to out live any of their kids. I hope the sadness in your memories passes quickly.

RN

M. Joseph Miller II. said...

Sir,

You dont know me, but i graduated from Ft Benning 1 1/2 week after Nick. We only met a few times...but something in my heart had me searching the web for news from that month at FT. Benning when i found your blog. My heart goes out to you and your family. I only new of him as another brother in uniform preparing for the fight. As a fallen soldier, he wont be forgotten, I salute him.

M. Joseph Miller II.
3/2 Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck Germany

edison said...

My sincere condolences.

Batocchio said...

Condolences. That's very rough.

Mark Schwebke said...

Ahh Chuck, I'm so sorry,
My son was murdered in Eugene in 1995 and I won't pull any punches, it will always hurt.
Nick will be with you always and there's comfort in that. Just cherish your memories and God grant you some space to grieve in for the moment.
I'm truly sorry. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Alex said...

Very sorry to hear this Chuck. Thoughts are with you and your family.

Alex.

Jim Smith II said...

Chuck - I'm sorry for your lose. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

danps said...

Chuck, my heart goes out to you and your family. We lost a son as well - Andrew. No good comes of it, there's nothing to learn from it and condolences are useless. In my case, my brain kept circling back to it multiple times every day for months afterward - checking back to see if it actually happened; it hardly seemed real.

You'll be in our prayers.

The Chinuk said...

Your bravery shows through yet again in your courage in sharing your loss with the rest of us.

I will keep you in my prayers, thoughts, and meditations, and wish all the sincere condolences that I can.

I wish you every good and healing thought I can muster, and that everyone who can do for an help you out in this time may find you and do so.

g.stalder said...

Chuck & Scottie,
So, so sorry and grieved to hear of your tragic loss. My first thoughts, other than deep heartbreak for you, were the fun, good memories of helping coach Nich in baseball along with my son; he could burn that ball in! I can still see his wind-up, his arm full circle over his shoulder and the release of the ball; so intent, so determined. He was a good kid! Nothing will ever replace the emptiness in your heart, though the good memories and caring people do crowd out the hurts - somewhat. Know that I care, am thinking of you and praying for both of you.
- Gary Stalder

Bob O said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I could never imagine such a thing. My condolences and heartfelt prayers go out to you and your wife.

lraemiller said...

Dear Chuck--Your tribute to your son is so touching, and I want to send you my deepest condolences. I think your words and all of these comments are the best tribute you could make to your son--just look at all of the lives you and your son have touched! The life and love you gave your son reflects in your touching account. Even though I don't know you, I'm a mostly-lurker at B-Juice, I will be thinking of you today. Please, be well.

Chip Shields said...

Chuck - With a tear in my eye, my heart goes out to you and your family.

William K Wolfrum said...

My deepest sympathies to you and your family, Chuck.

Gine said...

What a heartbreak. You and your family are in my prayers.

repsac3 said...

Just another internet stranger offering prayers and condolences to you and your whole family. Take care of each other, and know that all these people listed here are with you, in spirit.

wellah said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Chuck. My condolences

Noelle in PDX

Anonymous said...

Chuck, I'm profoundly saddened to learn of your heartbreaking loss. I pray that you and your wife may take some comfort in the thought that love knows no boundaries, not even death, which is merely a temporary journey. My thoughts and prayers remain with you and your family.

Utah Savage said...

Chuck, I'm terribly sorry for your loss.

baquist said...

Chuck, I'm an internet passerby deeply saddened and touched by your story. My deepest sympathy to you and your wife and family.

Oregonian37 said...

There isn't anything I can say that others haven't said and said better. I add my thoughts to the others...

Anonymous said...

Dear Chuck,
I'm so, so sorry. Thank you for writing about your son and his struggles; that can be very therapeutic. Being the parent of such a child is extremely difficult and I know you did the best you could for him. Remember the good times, his strengths and accomplishments, and that will help get you through.

Sending you prayers and hugs,
Hannah in Bend

Sebmojo said...

Shakespeare said it:

We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little lives are rounded with a sleep.

The rest is silence.

SCT said...

I'm quite moved by this tribute to your son. I'm sorry for your loss.
-SCT

Jeff said...

I remember.....
Chuck & Scotty getting married, (he worked 36 hours straight to get there), Chuck
adopting a beautiful baby boy, our children growing up together, all the birthday parties ,
Chuck being a very protective dad while driving up on a church front lawn with choice
words for the offenders, the numerous huge dogs that they all enjoyed (and still do with
Gus), Little League and Nick being the catcher. Chuck & Scotty raising their 2 boys and
the joy,pride and love. These are the things and memories, I will cherish and remember.

Chuck, Scotty & Matt,
With all have my thoughts, deepest sympathy and prayers -
Jeff

The Family Wall said...

My heart breaks for you and your family. I am so very, very sorry to hear that you lost your son. As a Mom, I know the love we feel for our sons and daughters, that love is always so special, and it is never ending.

Peace, and warm wishes for you.

panicbean

Bob Rowe said...

Chuck, It seems as if I know you personally. After these several years on the Nova list/serv, you seem lika a close neighbor. Needless to say but my condolences seem small compared to the grief that I feel after hearing of your loss. Try to find some relief in the fact that your son no longer has to contend with his personal demons any longer. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family for quite a while. I am so very for your loss!

Bob Rowe in Ky.

Clark said...

Condolences Chuck. It sounds from your post that you are bearing this well. Don't even for a moment think that it was something that you did or omitted that was the cause. ( I know that is advice that is impossible to follow but it is true nonetheless.

Becky said...

I am so sad for you and your wife. This is a blow almost beyond bearing.

My brother has had a very similar life experience and similar personality. A beautiful, brilliant, lost and troubled soul. I know my mom and I both have expected a similar knock on the door at any time for the past 25 years. I am thankful that it has never happened, but because of the fear that has constantly hung over us through the years, I am very struck by your pain and send you my deepest condolences.

You are right to remember the good times. We only find happiness and peace when we choose it.

Marianne Stone said...

Chuck.

Please know that both Scottie and yourself are in my prayers. My grandmother Frances Leep loved your son very much, it gave her great joy in her life to watch him grow up. I hope that he has found peace, and that in time you will as well.

Glen J said...

Chuck,

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. We lost our son five years ago. My wife is now involved with The Compassionate Friends, and TCF has helped us both. I grew tired of those who asked me when I would "get over it" and have come to understand that I will never get over losing my son, but I will learn to live with it and find peace.

May you and your family find peace,

Glen J

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Hey, man, I am so sorry for your loss. Here via Jon Swift.

Rob said...

So, so tragic and I'm just so so sorry ...

Having dealt with grief, I know, you never get over with it, but somehow you manage to go on.

Tom Carter said...

Chuck, my most sincere condolences on your family's loss. I can't begin to imagine how deeply this must hurt. I just hope that you can draw strength from each other, and from all of us who care about you, to see you through this tragedy.

DA English said...

Chuck,

Reading about this was just heartbreaking, I can't imagine what you and your family are going through. It sounds like your son had a tough time finding his path in life.

You and your family should know there are many people (including my wife and I) who are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

kathyjacksonpdx said...

Chuck,
I am so sorry for your loss. My own family has suffered the recent loss of a shining young life. My heart is still full with unshed tears because my cousin's 13-year old daughter was snatched and murdered by a convicted sex offender -- found strangled a short distance from a jogging trail near her home on a sunny Saturday afternoon. After her memorial service her pediatrician father said he had cried until he could cry no more. But I don't think there will be no more tears for Esme. Tears will come again -- cleansing deep tears that are the heart's way of dealing with a grief that is beyond words.

Children should not precede their parents in death -- it is wrong on so many levels to have to mourn for one's children.

Brian said...

Chuck,

You're definitely going about this the right way. Hold on to the joys, try to forget the sorrows. One of my sons died when he was 6 weeks old.

We didn't know that there was anything seriously wrong until his 1 month well-baby check-up. For the longest time, and it still causes me grief occasionally, all I had was anger at myself. He would stay up all night, crying inconsolably. He would feed for a few minutes, then spit up, then fall asleep for 10 or 15 minutes, then wake up crying again. I was so angry at him, and at myself, because I knew he couldn't help it. I was exhausted, emotionally and physically.

And then he died on the operating table.

The wound never heals. It only becomes easier to deal with.

torridjoe said...

Oh Chuck. How tragic and unfortunate. But I think you gave Nick a beautiful, honest eulogy, a lasting record of the whole man and the circle of people who did love him for who he was.

And it's obvious from the long string of comments that you have a deep reservoir of people who can be leaned on in this time. Count me among them. I wish you strength and some kind of ultimate peace in the coming days. You've done right by Nick. My sincere sympathies to your family.

Brad J. said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts.

Chuck Butcher said...

Anon post deleted on the basis of untruthful statements, there has never been any talk of divorce and other stuff.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences, dude. You can't know how they might help someone else ... in a completely different situation. My thoughts are with you.

Marsha said...

I am so very sorry to read this.

LarryE said...

I lost my father-in-law this week - but I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a child.

My deepest condolences to you and your family.

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