Sentimental Sunday: Remembering my son, Nicholas Ryan Webb 16 Sep 1979 - 26 Aug 2006

Nick died of unknown causes in the early morning hours of the 26th of August 2006 in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa, in his Sherman Hill apartment where I went to rouse him to get to work on Monday the 28th of August 2006 since his employer had called me wondering where he was.  Not having a key, I had to call the police.  I was always a worrier, and truthfully, that day I didn't know what to think....but furthest from my mind was that he was dead. 

Did you know that even though a date of death can be established, the date that goes on the death certificate is the day the body is found?  That is why Nick's death certificate shows 28 Aug 2006 as his death date. 

At his funeral I read this poem by Alastair Reid:

may have killed the cat; more likely
the cat was just unlucky, or else curious
to see what death was like, having no cause
to go on licking paws, or fathering
litter on litter of kittens, predictably.

Nevertheless, to be curious
is dangerous enough. To distrust
what is always said, what seems
to ask odd questions, interfere in dreams,
leave home, smell rats, have hunches
do not endear cats to those doggy circles
where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives, good lunches
are the order of things, and where prevails
much wagging of incurious heads and tails.

Face it. Curiosity
will not cause us to die--
only lack of it will.
Never to want to see
the other side of the hill
or that improbable country
where living is an idyll
(although a probable hell)
would kill us all.
Only the curious
have, if they live, a tale
worth telling at all.

Dogs say cats love too much, are irresponsible,
are changeable, marry too many wives,
desert their children, chill all dinner tables
with tales of their nine lives.
Well, they are lucky. Let them be
nine-lived and contradictory,
curious enough to change, prepared to pay
the cat price, which is to die
and die again and again,
each time with no less pain.
A cat minority of one
is all that can be counted on
to tell the truth. And what cats have to tell
on each return from hell
is this: that dying is what the living do,
that dying is what the loving do,
and that dead dogs are those who do not know
that dying is what, to live, each has to do.


  1. I am very sorry for your loss. This must have been a difficult week for you. You're in my thoughts.


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