Oliver Zane Emerson


Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

— W. S. Merwin

  • Why Do Atheists Write Better Books on Grief?

    September 15, 2019 by

    This past week I read an incredible book on grief. [Don’t worry, I read a lot of books and only a few are on grief!] But I was attracted to this one because the writer, Elizabeth Alexander, is a poet I like. Plus, Michelle Obama picked it as her favorite book of the year when… Read more

  • Icon of Jesus

    “Sorry, but give it some rest”

    September 8, 2019 by

    “Sorry, but give it some rest. He was not Jesus Christ!”  This was the random comment left on my Facebook page last week when I said I had a new entry on my blog about grief. It ranks up there with the person who asked Mary Ann and I a few weeks after Oliver’s death,… Read more

  • This story ain’t got no moral

    September 1, 2019 by

    “I got a story ain’t got no moral, and the bad guy win every once in a while .”  So sang the great Billy Preston in the song “Will It Go Round in Circles” in 1972. Without warning, I sometimes find lyrics, lines in poems or novels, or random snippets of conversation bringing Oliver to mind.… Read more

  • We Don’t Have a First Day of School Picture to Show You

    August 25, 2019 by

    The start of the school year finds this fairly recent tradition of sharing pictures of children on their first day of school. I love seeing the happy faces as they head off to what they hope will be a year of excitement, learning, and growing. Those really organized parents who remember to do this every… Read more

  • Different Grief

    August 18, 2019 by

    for John Permesang Grief is a broad term we use when describing the impact of losing someone. But it is such a broad term that it really does little to help us understand one another in grief. There are books on stages of grief and ways to overcome grief, but such attempts obviously cannot  address… Read more

  • The Bond of Children Left Behind

    August 4, 2019 by

    Yesterday, my wife and I dropped Dov off at the Special Days Camp near Muskegon, MI. Dov has been at the camp several times, but this time he is volunteering as a camp counselor for a week. Special Days does great work in just two weeks: one week is for children who had cancer and… Read more

  • “Tears are No Measure of Grief”

    July 27, 2019 by

    I like to gather wisdom from many places — novels, poems, Scripture, prayers, and, of course, Gunsmoke. Or more specifically, Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke [for the uninitiated, Gunsmoke is a “Western” and the longest running prime time television show of all time — 20 years from 1955-75). I was watching an episode with my Western-loving… Read more

  • The Rippling Effect of Grief

    July 21, 2019 by

    Grief has a rippling effect. Throw a stone in the pond and you can see the impact of that stone ripple out in an ever-widening circle. When we lost Oliver at the age of six, the stone was thrown hard and the ripples went out a long way. Clearly, as his parents, we did not… Read more

  • The “Experienced Griever”

    July 14, 2019 by

    I was reading an excellent blog on grief called Dealing with My Grief where the writer described herself as an “experienced griever.”┬áIt is a phrase that resonates with me. It’s been six years since we lost Oliver, so I guess both Mary Ann and I can wear the “experienced griever” label. But it is not… Read more

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