Tag Archives: loss of a child

40 Months

July 11
40 Months

Years gone too fast
Almost erase the past
And your face
Residing in that empty space.

Why after all these years
Are the tears
Still here?
Is it my fear
That I’ll forget
We ever met?

Years pass fast
As if obliterating the past
When all I want is to
Remember you
Without a tear,
Without fear.

The loss of a child,
Such a horrid wild
And I’ve cried and cried
Too often
And never did tears soften
The blow of your death,
The end of a breath.

Never did I fear
Losing someone so dear.

When you got sick
Never did I think God would pick
You for His Kingdom.
That would be dumb
Of me to think
That He’d sink
That low,
That He’d deal that blow.

It’s hard to look at that place
Where I’ve set your face,
The canvas pictures
Now fixtures.

I can’t look at them
And not haw and hem
And cry and weep,
So I let the tears seep
Down my cheeks
Every day, all the weeks.

Miss you forever, my sweet son.

Matt from C FB

Matt small for fb

Matt hunting


Matt and Abby black and white

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My Heart Is Broken

It’s thirty-nine months today since my son Matthew has been gone. I woke around 3:30 a.m. this morning, knowing something wasn’t quite right, and immediately knew it was the 11th. And I had no poem! The days are passing too fast–despite Covid.

I immediately started one, but it’s not ready to post. Another day, perhaps.

Instead, here is the book with all the poems I wrote commemorating him over the three years after his death. A purchaser just reached out and said how wonderful the book is; I hope she’s telling me the truth!

So…here it is. Available locally from me or on Amazon U.S. and Canada.


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Happy Fortieth, Matthew

deer candle

Dear Matt,

I think of you today

As I do every day,

Days like these

With special memories

Are harder to bear.


I like to think you’re high

Above, looking down

Upon us,

Living life through us,

Not completely dead.


I’d visit you if I could,

We all would,

We’d throw cares to the wind,

To hell with social-distancing,

And have a happy party.


We’d bring you a cake

Lit with 40 candles,

We’d help you snuff out

The flickering flames,

Make wondrous wishes.


We’d cut the cake,

Plate the biggest piece for you,

The corner with the most icing,

And watch you enjoy

Sweet decadence.


We wish we could

Erase the past,

Turn the clock to better times,

The world’s gone crazier…

And crazier…


But we’ll cherish memories

Water cannot douse

Nor wind could blast away,

We’ll keep you in our hearts,

Shed private tears.


Happy fortieth, Matthew,

Happy birthday!

I lit a candle for you today

And blew out the flame,

Omitting useless wishes.

Matt nine years old 001 (2)Matt from C FB

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“My Support” (even in death)

I spent agonizing hours yesterday trying to compose this month’s poem. To no avail. I left it and came back to it a few hours later, when this poem just flowed. Same topic; just couldn’t write it at that particular time, I guess.

(37 months)

“My Support”

You supported me

When I couldn’t stand,

You were there…


Unknown to me

When I fell

On the third anniversary

Of your death,

When I crawled like a baby—

Or an old woman

Without wits—

Over the icy snow

To reach your headstone,

Where I could haul myself up,

Leaning with my good arm

On your stone.


We laughed,

Elizabeth and I,

For it was funny—

Funnily sad—

She had fallen seconds before I had,

Bruising her bum,

And me: breaking my wrist,

My first broken bone—

An old woman

Even older a month later—

A mother

Who just wanted to visit

Remains of her son—

Remnants from a dreadful day

Three years ago—

But unable to accomplish a simple feat

Without mishap.


I swear I heard you laughing

And your words, “Oh, Mom!”

And then, “I gotta go.”

Matt hunting

If you enjoyed this poem and would like to read more, check out the book I published on the third anniversary of Matthew’s death.  MY HEART IS BROKEN

Matt book of poems full cover for wp




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My Heart Is Broken – It Needs Fixing

My book of poems (the first three years) memorializing my son Matthew, who died of a rare heart cancer on March 11, 2017, is now published.


Matt book of poems full cover for wp

The book is available on


or from me.

I am donating all profits from the sale of this book to the Kenzieville Cemetery, Kenzieville, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, where Matthew is buried. Matthew’s GGGG grandparents, who emigrated from Scotland in 1803, are buried there, as well as several branches of the MacKenzie line. The cemetery is run by volunteers and is always in need of funds.



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Before Time Stood Still

In Memory of Matthew

October 11, 2019
Before Time Stood Still

Thirty-one months
And time stands still
—As do I.

Your marker reaches toward Heaven,
Pointing the way to all that’s good—
One of the good ones,
Died too young,
Taken too soon,
In your prime—
Lame expressions
When no other words exist.

Sometimes silence
Is best,
And the dark
Where I can hide,
Or in the mornings
When I pull covers over my head,
Not wanting to face the day.

It’s dark when I can’t see:
When time stands still,
When winds don’t blow
And clouds don’t rain,
When the sun doesn’t shine
And grass doesn’t grow.
It’s dark then.

Life’s happier
When I can’t see—
Until the light shines
And I remember
And wish it were dark again.

I have no breath,
No feeling,
No jumping for joy
Or giggles or laughter,
No eating fine foods
Or drinking pricey wines—
Not like those enjoyed before time stood still.

Now there’s no yesterday,
No tomorrow,
Only today.

I wish time would wake up
And move
So I don’t have to stand still for all eternity
And bow my head
And wish for yesterdays
When life was happy
And everyone laughed.
When things couldn’t get worse.

I wish that time would move as it had,
Forever and ever,
Before it stood still,
Before I stood at your grave
Wishing I could turn back time.

Matt Headstone KenzievilleMatthew


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The Ghost

Time creeps

like ghosts at night,

blind, bleak, bloodless.


Twenty-five months gone,

dead months vanished

along with the living years

as if he’s never existed,

like those ghosts at night.


Not many parents

feel my pain

or my envy

for the pain is eternal,


one I’d not wish upon a foe.


If you have children,

pick one child from your flock

to be a ghost,

and if you have only one,

imagine that one a ghost.


Imagine a face alive only

in dreams and nightmares,

in a portrait upon a wall,

in a mirage in an elusive distance,

meagre memories,


perhaps words from those who dare

to cite your loss.


I’ll never see my son again,

never to touch,

never to converse,

never to see him walk through the door.

I live with massive voids

and words unsaid.


I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell

where we’ll see loved ones,

where we’ll gather for an endless party.

I could be wrong—

how I’d love to be wrong,

I wish to be wrong!

I’d give my life to see my son again

but it’s too much make-believe,

a fantasy, not reality.


Days pass while

I breathe and eat and sleep

and dream and weep and laugh,

I’m resigned to images on the wall

and ghosts at night

and a hollowness in my heart.

Matt alone

In memory of my son Matthew, April 28, 1980-March 11, 2017.

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.


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Two Years

Two years

of repeated tears.


I see your face

in another place.


A life ends:

every day blends

into another

to smother


the harsh intrusions

of reality and death

that suck our breath.


We grieve,

we peeve.


Nothing brings you back

from the crack

of elusiveness,

the conclusiveness

of death.


One’s last breath

is the ultimate

not the penultimate;

it’s the finality,

the banality.


I act strong

though I long

to race

and not face

another day

of grey;

I’d end the song

were I that strong.


Hearts don’t always heal.


We can’t always kneel

to pray,

to produce a ray

of sunshine

to aid a wilting vine.


Stems strive

to thrive,

but all good things die

no matter how well they fly.


And so it was with you,

my son, who grew

but only to thirty-six.


Your heart not to fix,

your death to come

while we were numb,

unaware and

unable to swear

because the end

did transcend

rosy illusions

and delusions

that you’d remain

to forever reign

in life

without strife.


Instead it’s us

in this life

of strife.


We cuss

and cry

and ask why

you had to go

instead of grow.




Rest in Peace, my Sweet Son.

I miss you with each breath

and still can’t believe you’re not here.

April 28, 1980-March 11, 2017

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Twenty-Three Months

Without you in our world,

Twenty-three seconds feels as long as twenty-three months,

Twenty-three months feels as short as twenty-three seconds.


How is time measured?

By the warmth of the breeze?

Whispers around a corner?

Creeping of ghosts at night?


Time has little meaning:

Not by breaths

Or tears,

But days counted until another milestone.


Too many milestones.

Too many elevenths of every month. 

But what is the alternative?


Passing time brings memories:

Your smirky smile,

Your asinine jokes and pranks,

Your innocence.


How I miss your sudden appearances:

Presenting me with armloads of irreparable mending

or taking over the garage to service your vehicle

or wearing a perplexed look, seeking advice.


I miss our talks.

I miss you in the driveway with your truck.

I even miss empty Bud cans scattered about the house!


Time brought the bad:

The scourge of cancer,

Your fight to live,

Your last breaths.


Twenty-three months.

Where has time gone?

Tears are as fresh twenty-three months ago

as they are today.




C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].


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Twenty Months Gone

Dear Matt,

I dream of a babe in my arms,
A toddler asleep beside me,
Confusing yet familiar
As if a recurring vision
And with a start
I realize it’s you.

I suffer sharp jolts
Of sheer insanity,
Scenes of shrieks
And sobs
Of my new reality,
Twenty months gone and
Disbelief still grabs me,
Shocks me to my very core
And I cry fresh tears 
Identical to previous one.

I can’t stop these monthly poems—
These non-rhyming words spouting grief—
I write many others too,
All bringing me an odd comfort,
A smidgen of joy between pain
Even though my words read the same.

No new words exist for grief, 
No epiphanies or revelations,
For every day I pray the same:
To have you returned to me
As if a treasured object on loan.

But sanity slams me to the floor—
You’re gone forever,
Never really mind to hold,
For children become adults
And cleave to another,
But you’ll always be my boy.

Whether I’ll see you again
Is one of the world’s mysteries,
But if there’s a chance we meet again
The line to greet you will be endless,
Too many wanting to hold, hug, kiss,
But to see you again in flesh
I’d happily wait at line’s end.

You’ll always be my cherished child.


C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.


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