Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Over the Rainbow

Just because he isn't here, doesn't mean he's gone

The first time I openly shared something I wrote, was when I read my son's eulogy.

Kerry continues to guide and inspire me.

He is everywhere...

in the strong, steady warmth of the sun
in the gentle guidance of the moon
in the bend and ripple of the river
in the glistening sting of pure, white snow
in the breath of song birds and
in the fresh, sweet buds of spring

Kerry is everywhere.

 what an old soul looks like at birth

Dear Kerry,

February 16, 1979 - your Dad and I watched you take your first breath. One year later, we enrolled you in a aqua-baby's, tossed you in a pool of blue water and watched you swim.

At four - after reciting the alphabet, identifying all the colors in a rainbow and drawling a picture of yourself... smiling - you were awarded your preschool certificate.

That summer, with your fathers gentle push, you learned to ride your bike. From then on there was no stopping you. T-ball, tennis, karate - you even wiggled your way into first place at a break dance contest.

At Julian Curtis elementary school, you set the record by completing 22 pull ups.  The record stood for over 10 years.

From then on it was a steady stream of sports.  Swimming, basketball, football, wrestling - and then of course there was baseball, baseball, baseball.

On the sidelines was your biggest fan...your sister Lindsay.  She cheered you on every step of the way.  In return, you supported her with gentle love and kindness.  Through her you learned to nurture, protect, cherish and adore.

At Central Middle School you began studying the viola and we were thrilled to see your musical side.  Years later you confessed that your strings never touched the bow.  Your only motivation was to accompany the orchestra on their year end field trip to Great Adventure Amusement Park.  

Throughout the years we watched you learn and grow, and mostly...we watched you laugh.  And when you laughed it was deep and hardy... from the belly of your soul.   

When you found Mary, life was sweet. Jackson's arrival brought an endless flood of joy to you and all those lucky enough to be near.  And again, we watched you nurture, protect, cherish and adore.

What we didn't hear or see was your pain.  Your pain was never spoken, only written and never shared. You were intuitive and intelligent enough to hide your sorrow and deliver only what everyone wanted to hear. You gave people what they needed.  You gave everything, every ounce of your existence.  You gave too much. 

For those who say they don't understand, know that depression is a disease.  The conscious experience becomes an endless stream of distressing thoughts and emotions.  Sadly, creative people are vulnerable to depression.

From the childhood tales of the Velveteen Rabbit, to James Joyce's cryptic language in Finnegan's Wake, you loved to read. You were a deep thinker, a writer, a poet.  Through writing you were able to escape. 

May 27, 2002 your daily scheduled, e-mail Horoscope read:

Aquarius - be brave, be adventurous and boldly go where no man has gone before.  Your ideas for heightening the joy quotient in you life should be taken seriously.  You gave at the office.  You've been a terrific contributor to others existences, but now you should shift the focus to that which floats your cork.

Kerry, know that all we see in you is...now, forever, always... good. 

               All my love,

In the background is my father - a long distance runner - cheering on his grandson as he joyfully passes a boy 2+ years older, and wins his division.  His prize....a chocolate foot.  My prize...this picture.  Love that his feet are off the ground.  

...for if you always think of me,
I will have never gone

Terry and Kerry

Kerry and Jackson

...the dreams that you dare to dream...why, oh why, can't I

The first time I heard IZ sing "Over the Rainbow - Wonderful World" was a few days before Kerry died. 

It felt heavy and I cried.

"...someday I'll wish upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me. where trouble melts like lemon drops high above the chimney tops thats where - you'll find me..."

it played in my head - loud and heavy - the day that I found him, dead.

We played it at Kerry's wake.

Now, when it plays...it soothes me. 

because the bond between a mother and child is eternal

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy


  1. There is so much gritty honesty in your writing. Anyone who has lost anyone feels that loss as they read this. So real.

  2. Beautifully written. I'm so sorry for your loss. Depression is a terrible beast.

  3. We are not a body that has a soul, we are a soul that has a body...He is all around you, he is where we strive to be...where our existence is real, and eternal...

  4. the first time I heard IZ sing "Over the Rainbow - Wonderful World" was a few days before Kerry died. It felt heavy and I cried.

    "...someday I'll wish upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me. where trouble melts like lemon drops high above the chimney tops thats where - you'll find me..."

    it played in my head - loud and heavy - the day that I found him.

    We played it at Kerry's wake.

    Now, when I hear it...it soothes me.

    Thank you for reading about my beautiful son. For me, it's important that you know he lived.

  5. That was the most beautiful thing I have ever read.

    My daughter has depression and tried to take her life a couple of years ago. Luckily her husband found her and she was admitted into a treatment program. It's a long road. I keep trying to explain to her that her depression is her disease just like diabetes is mine.

    Thank you for your honesty.

  6. To Kerry. Thanks for writing about him and for the pictures. I'm sorry for your loss and happy for your memories. Treasure them and your son. I know you will.

  7. It can be mindboggling to think where did he go when he was just here with you yesterday. Surrendering to the will is the only thing one can do.

    The last picture of you and your baby touches and tears my heart. They say one can take comfort in good memories. I think they are right.

  8. THANKS Marty - yes, please do have one in Kerry's honor (my treat).

    Dazee - EXACTLY!!! depression IS a disease. we need to educate people. and for those suffering with it, the more we bring it forward the easier it is for them to except help.

  9. that his hand rests on me..... yes, this is my favorite picture of the two of us.

    Thank you for your comforting words Ocean Girl

  10. Such a lovely tribute.

    I agree with the comments above. Depression is such a terrible disease. I think it's good to talk about it. What's that they say in Harry Potter? Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself. Awareness can help prevent future victims.

  11. There are really no words only time, memories, faith and awarness that can ease such a loss. The pictures are all so beautiful and I feel like I know your son by your writing...what a legacy! Such a soothing song and awsum version from IZ....glad it brings you comfort!

  12. Beautiful tribute. I love the pictures. I'm just so sorry for your family.

  13. This pains my heart in so many ways. You paint a very wonderful picture of your son.
    The greatest pain anyone can know is the loss of a child. I'm sorry you know this pain.

  14. Thinking of you. Wonderful, wonderful post.

  15. :*( Beautiful words, beautiful photos, beautiful song, beautiful son...

    ***tears*** (((((hugs)))))
    RayO :)

  16. (((((Thank you everyone)))) please know that your words comforted me. It's a new day, the beginning of a long weekend. It was memorial day when Kerry passed so the anniversary lingers but I am working on moving my emotions forward and I assure you, I will be writing feverishly....

  17. What a nice tribute. Thinking of you and your family.

  18. What an incredible tribute, and so heart wrenching!

  19. Beautiful, amazing post for a beautiful, amazing boy (and soul). Beautiful song too--I cannot listen to it without crying. I'll be thinking of you this weekend as this painful anniversary comes and goes.

  20. Elle - thank you. I too cry. today, tomorrow, still

    and thank you Sam for being there (out there somewhere) it helps...a lot.

    Micki, I know you get it. thank you

  21. I love what Angie wrote that we are not a body with a soul but a soul with a body. He is all around you!

    The part where he played the viola only to get to accompany the band to Great Adventure always makes me laugh!! Hope the wonderful memories of Kerry's are making you smile today. xoxo Claudia

  22. and ....butterfly wings! oh Claudia, I'm so glad we witnessed that moment together :)

    Kerry loved and connected with children. he put those wings on that day for the little boy - and so that his mother could watch him fly...

  23. I am deeply touched by this wonderful post!
    A great tribute...
    I am literally speechless at this moment...

  24. Thank you for reading Arti - knowing someone in Mumbai knows that Kerry lived feels WONDERFUL

    also...I so enjoy your photo's. Best to YOU!

    I probably won't post until Monday but I am writing and I did want to say something to one of my critics

    when I wrote the part where I compare Kerry to the sun, moon, snow, river, etc... I was not trying to write poetry. I have never pretended to be a poet - I was writing whats in my heart. Kerry is all those things to me. this is how I get by, day by day - i focus on these things because they are pure and beautiful ....as my son is.

  25. Very touching. I am so sorry for you and your family. I am stopping by from SITS and will read more of your posts. Your grandson is really cute btw. Have a safe weekend

  26. PS. One of my 21 year old son's good friends died in a hiking accident 2 years ago on memorial weekend. I have been thinking about his mother this weekend.

  27. there's nothing i can really say. beautifully written. and we share the same birthday, six years apart.

    very touching in more ways than one.

  28. This is an amazing tribute. Stopping from SITS!

  29. These are beautiful words you used, both in this post and the one where you wrote about meeting your husband. You write like you're composing music.

    I'll be back for more of your songs.

  30. Thank you Lori - yes, having Jackson - my grandson - is extra sweet. we often say "oh..he's so Kerry today"

    and then there are other days when he's so Mary (his mom)

    he's 9 now - just turned 9. Kerry wrote a beautiful letter to him 10 days after he was born. my son, my son.... my heart aches. tears ...so many tears

  31. A touching tribute. I am so sorry for your loss. Thankyou for sharing these wonderful pictures, what a beautiful family. You have really touched a nerve, and this posts moves us to appreciate those small moments, a son playing with his father, throwing his first hoops and snuggling up with mum. Beautiful beyond words. Thanks again for sharing

    Warm regards

  32. I'm not ready to move beyond this post and I have nowhere else to go...

    and so,

    I just want to say, that today has been hard.

    I stopped to fix my phone and ended up buying a new one. in my shopping high, I walked past a sign that read "psychic, walk in's welcome"

    so, I walked in.

    i'm happy to report that after "interviewing" ms. psychic, I walked out.



    I don't need a psychic to connect with my son

    but still...the tears flow

  33. Depression hurts. I'm so sorry for Kerry's pain and the pain that lingers on for those who loved him.

    Thanks for sharing with such honesty and bravery. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you continue to heal.

  34. What a beautifully written tribute. Wonderful memories, beautiful photos. Kerry lives on in you and Jackson. Thank you for sharing.

  35. What a lovely tribute to your son and your special bond with him. I can only imagine how difficult this anniversary is for you. Now that I know that Kerry lived, I will never forget his story. You are in my thoughts.


  36. This is a beautiful tribute. Words, pictures, and music all add to the beauty and power of what you have created. Don't try to move on...when the time comes, you'll know.

  37. Beautiful pictures Shannon. Beautiful Souls.

  38. This is truly a wonderful write, a mother to her son, I know the heartache of a mother watching a son suffer, I applaud you, good luck to you all.


  39. Such beautiful, heartfelt writing. Truly moving.

  40. beautiful weather today, slowly I was able to shift the pain thanks to mr. cooked who agreed to follow me down to the river to fish out debris. it was mercy and nasty stuff, but we did it. these are things that bother me that I can do something about.

    again, but deeply noted...your comments moved me - inch by inch...

    i'm looking forward to tomorrow... yesterday I waited for darkness to come.

    ... its progress

    Sincere gratitude to all of you who sent your love.

  41. I smiled when I read you bought a new phone! I did so much, what I call "grief shopping", during the First Year after my son died by suicide! Almost anything with butterflies, music CDs, red cardinals...Year Two, I rarely do that.

    Re: Kerry is Everywhere "poem"...
    I totally got the message of what you wrote. There's no snow in Hawaii and the ocean is everything when you live on an island. So for me...
    My son is
    ...in the life-giving ebb and flow of the constant ocean
    ...in the hope-sustaining beauty of ethereal rainbow mists
    as well as all of the other testimonies of beauty you described so well.

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  43. This is a moving and beautiful post. I lost my partner to an accident four years ago and yes, there is joy in finding him everywhere.

    Thanks for sharing this piece. I am so sorry for your loss.

  44. love hearing that others share the joy of visual reminders...

    Kerry brings me penny's - tail side up. and 27's
    Stevie, who passed in 2004 in a car accident is dragonflies.
    Adam, who passed 3 weeks before Kerry, is white butterflies
    Michael is the ebb and flow of the ocean and rainbow mist (how beautiful is that!)

    what tells you your loved one has not gone...?

  45. May is my month as well. Hugs to you and congrats on its passing!

    In my first year it was frangipani flowers... they seemed to fall at my feet everywhere and I felt that he sent them. Now it is more subtle - it is a street scene that he would have photographed. It's a reflection in someone's eyes, and for a moment he is there. It is the calm, all-encompassing serenity of the ocean that he loved, the ocean that he died in.

  46. really beautiful words La Gitane - glad to know we can welcome June together :)

  47. oh my goodness. I am so glad I came been during some quiet time. this is the most touching post I have read in a very long time. You really put it all out there and wow. You got me. My heart hurts for family as the healing continues.

  48. I know it's strange, but I've been thinking about you and Kerry constantly since the 27th, even though I haven't written anything or even been able to stop by your blog until now. I hope you're okay. Not that it helps really, but I wanted you to know that there are people all over the world thinking about you and mourning your loss. I'm just so sorry.

  49. Thank you Terre and Emily ...

    Last night was Jacksons school concert. He plays the cello. I made certain his bow touched the stings :)

    Today, I'm trying to write about my first kiss. I need to move beyond the pain but its not easy.

    Emily...to know that you have a feeling for who Kerry was and that we've been on your mind is comforting beyond words.


  50. Shannon--

    I have to play "catch up" with u. So I take ur life in months. I don't read them in chronological order. I read them by months. So, of course, I started with the month of May. The most traumatic month of ur life. May 27th.

    In one of the comments, I read where Jackson plays "cello". U know how I feel about the cello. Cello is the "old soul's" instrument. I see too where u described Kerry as born an "old soul" in one of his baby pics. I understand being born an old soul.

    I sang the "Baby's Lullaby" to my pups last night. Buttons likes to lay his head on mine always. He goes to great links to make sure his head is laying side-by-side with mine. I have been in many a distorted position to accomodate his need to be close to me. Fur up my nose and in my eyes. I can hear his heartbeat and breathing when he is that close to me. Maybe he hears mine too. Patches, as well, needed to be close last night as well. As it stormed outside, we were all snuggled in bed. Me reading my mystery novel regarding cemeteries. Cemeteries can be quite beautiful and tranquil. Buttons with his head against mine. Patches laying close to my feet at the end of the bed.

    This particular blog touched me.


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison