I’m still struggling to find the words to express all that I feel about Clinton’s death. I have so many thoughts and emotions, and no words seem sufficient enough to explain them, not to mention even beginning to explain how much that kid meant to me. At first, one of the most painful thoughts was thinking of those last few moments of his life, knowing that he died in such a violent way, thinking of him having to fight in those last few seconds, being fought against, rather than being warmly, and lovingly embraced. This breaks my heart into a million tiny pieces.

The day after his mother phoned to inform me of his passing, I went down by a river to process, sob, throw rocks, and sob some more. I kept getting an image of what I imagine his face to have looked like in those last moments. It was haunting. It was terrible. It was heart wrenching. I wanted to run and bust down the door of that fabricated memory, grab Clinton just in time, and hug him tighter than ever before. That’s no way for someone to have to go out, especially not a seventeen-year-old boy, especially not Clinton!

The last few days of processing has been difficult and strange. I’ve cried more than I probably have in the last year, often totally out of the blue, and unexpected tears. It’s hard being so far away. It’s hard to know I will never, ever speak to him again. And though I still struggle to make peace with his death, I have begun to find comfort in his life. I’ve seen the outpouring of thoughts, wishes, condolences, and memories, from loving people who truly cared about Clinton, people who were also not there in those last moments, but loved him so well throughout his life; people who were involved in all different stages of his life, from the first time I met him as a high-pitched-speaking, tiny little seven-year-old, all the way to the very present, long, lanky seventeen-year-old he grew to be. I know that Clinton felt loved.

I’ve begun to find comfort in the funny memories of him, along with the touching, more difficult times I’ve walked through with him. And though I know Clinton longed for his biological family to love him more than they were ever capable of showing, I know that he found a family, outside of blood relatives; a family that supported him, loved him, embraced him, taught him, laughed with him, appreciated him, and allowed him to love them back. And because of this family, I can find peace in my heart knowing that he knew how precious he was, that he was wanted and appreciated, that he was treasured and loved by so many. And I know he knew that.

Still, no words seem adequate to express all I feel, but I felt it was important express to all of those who had anything to do with his life, at any given point or season, that I know your involvement made a difference in his quality of life. And I know, thanks to the many people he adopted as family, he felt and knew love. Thank you for loving him, and allowing him to love back. Thanks for being that family his family didn’t know how to be. Even though I may never make complete peace with the way he went out, and I will forever love and miss him dearly, I have peace in knowing that he was loved by so many, and was allowed by them to love back.


2 Responses to Clinton…

  1. Randy Dalton says:

    When he called me Grandad, he had my heart forever. I truly miss him and my heart aches, but not anything close to the pain Ryan is feeling now.

  2. […] “one of those days”? It took a few minutes, and some coffee, before I realized today is Clinton‘s birthday. He would have turned 18, had his life not been taken in May of this year. I miss […]

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