My son, Ron Finch Jr. or Little Ron, passed away on August 22, 2000. He was 11 days old. Little Ron was our only son and the youngest of our four children.
In the days, months and first few years after we lost our son, Ron Jr., I found it very difficult to function. People said I was normal, but I didn’t feel it! On most days, it was automatic, but I found myself in uncharted water as a grieving father. My saving grace was my three other children. I remember feeling that I needed to be strong for them and my wife. Once I returned to work, I dove in feet first; keeping busy kept my mind off what had happened … or so I thought. My inspiration to get out of bed each morning was my children.
As a teenager, I enjoyed painting, mostly landscapes, so in the months after Little Ron’s passing, I went out and bought material to paint canvasses. I took it up as a way to stay calm and at peace. It didn’t matter whatsoever what the painting looked like; it was more about being at peace. Coupled with a cold adult beverage and some light jazz music, it was the perfect scenario for those troublesome times.
Much of my survival comes from my circle of support here at Delta Air Lines and Wrenched Hearts (Delta Airlines’ peer support group for bereaved parents). It took a number of years. I’m in a really good spot now, but it didn’t happen without working at it and a lot of tears. I tell people that have had a recent loss who come to me for advice that they need to work on themselves first. They did nothing wrong. No matter how much they want to fix what’s happened, it can’t be fixed, but how they act and react can make a difference.
Find something, anything, to honor your child. Be more caring and compassionate. Keep a visual memory. Your child deserves it. And never lose your passion to love.