A difficult anniversary, again

This Friday, March 27, will mark the 12th anniversary of the death of my firstborn, Christopher Michael Holland.  He would be 31 years old now, would probably have settled down with the right woman and had some children of his own…if he were still here.  His death, shortly before his high school graduation, was random and sudden–like so many of his actions and choices.  We had a complicated relationship, and it is only now that I realize how similar we really were.  No wonder we found each other exasperating!

His death turned my world upside down and everything I thought I knew evaporated into the blackness.  To be sure, my life is full and satisfying, and one could argue that I would never have found my vocation as a priest had it not been for his death.  But, in this dark time of the year, when the temps are cold and the mornings still shadowed, his anniversary date comes once more, pulling me into the hole he left behind.  I would, even now, surrender every happiness I own to see him again, if only for awhile.  This is the wound that will never heal, and although I can function well throughout the year, this week is always, always a journey into regret and pain, sorrow and unrelenting heartache.  It is the price I pay for communion with one I loved so much and can never hold again. 

Please hold me in your prayers and thoughts this week, particularly on the eve of his death, Thursday night.  It is my personal Good Friday, and as with the family of Jesus on that first Good Friday, hope is in short supply.

–Fr. Michel


About frmichelrcc

I have a degree in religious studies from the University of Wisconsin, did graduate work in theology at St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin, and also at St. Paul's University in Ottawa. I have been a Benedictine since I first professed as an oblate in 1982, making final profession in 2009. I have worked as vocations director in a large diocese in the mid-west and am a spiritual director in the Benedictine tradition. I have 3 sons, one of whom is now in God's loving embrace in eternity, and 2 grandsons, Bradley and Jacob.
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One Response to A difficult anniversary, again

  1. Tony Dombrowski says:

    Dearest Michel,

    I uphold you in your sorrow. I weep for your loss. I also sometimes wonder why things are as they are, and even why “good things” come out of such hard experiences.

    There are no “magic words”, no instant and thorough healing. But it is all part of that one Paschal Mystery — dying and rising — which Christ knew of long before we arrived.

    Peace, my brother. You remain in my prayers.


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