My son graduated from 8th grade today,
a milestone for sure.
This was a wonderful year for him.
The best he's had, I think.
He has solid friends,
earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do,
enjoyed his Iron Chef class,
learned to play drums in School of Rock,
earned lots of A's,
and he wasn't bullied.
Sweet cheers erupted from his peers
when his name was called.
He is well liked.
I pinch myself.
I love when he hits a milestone,
but it's never without sorrow.
Each marker he crosses
stirs up the faces of children gone.
It feels heavy and inescapable.
The sadness always pushes through.
They should be celebrating milestones too.
They're ghost reminders
of life's unfairness,
the lack of rhyme or reason,
the total absence of control.
They should be here just as Josh is here,
but they are not.
And I don't know why.
Gage Alexander Dole
July 13, 2001 to February 14, 2011