Might want to take a pass on this one

It happened as gently as it could

He fell asleep, and just didn’t wake up again

No traumatic exit 

No pain, just release from this world he didn’t understand,

that didn’t understand him.

I found him in the morning,

long after those final breaths

Not in the dead of night

When the family and friends who gathered around us

Never could have done so.

We had a full night’s sleep,

and a full day to process what we could before

everyone left us, in this house far too quiet.


He was gone before life could spiral out of control again

When he left, everyone still loved him

He was our sweet, brilliant, lovable Christofer

Roostafee, gladiator, protector, goofball.

It was hard to love the person he became

when the demons gnawed their way out from that place he tethered them.

When the thoughts and thoughts and thoughts just wouldn’t shut the fuck up.

When turning off completely was the only way to get some relief.

(He blamed the leg, but it was so much more than that.)

He died at home, the place he loved the most

Not somewhere full of strangers who would run before they helped.

He didn’t slowly sink to the worst gates of hell

but skipped to the brighter oblivion

What I want to believe has little bearing on whatever truth exists.

Whether there is something more or no such thing at all,

He’s free.


He died the best version of himself.

He left behind love, and people shocked

to learn he fought so hard to be that best version of himself

to be the man they knew.

The scientist. The inventor. The gym bro.

The guy who bought groceries for the old lady

who couldn’t get out herself. The brilliant mind.

Such a gift. One that came with

sharp barbs and snagging hooks.


He didn’t mean to go, but he didn’t want to stay.

Carrying infinity around inside was just too big a job

for a single body, a single mind, the limitations of both.

The pain without was just a tiny echo of the one within that bounced

ear to ear,

all the time.


There is no what if,  this happened, and

it did so as gently as it could.

It left us best able to cope and I can’t help believing

He orchestrated it somehow.

Because something inside him always knew

We’d say goodbye to him before he had to say goodbye to us.

(It was the only pain he believed he couldn’t face.)

And if we’re some form of energy that thinks and knows and has been here before

He thought and he knew and he planned it the best way he could.


Filed under poetry

31 responses to “Might want to take a pass on this one

  1. Sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing it. 😀


  2. Oh, Terri-Lynne…how beautifully written, and your thoughts and words parallel my world. God Bless you


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I thought of you while writing this, Jackie, and before. And I thought of you when I clicked on “private” and then unclicked it. I drove right by your town the other day, on my way someplace else. That’s when this bit of poetry started bubbling. You’re in here as well as I am. Peace, love.


  3. Heartbreaking, Terri. Thank you for sharing this.


  4. This is so beautiful, Terri-Lynne. The way you loved and understood him, your understanding of his pain, his struggle with thoughts and the world is overwhelming to my heart. What a wonderful and true relationship you had with your son. And the echo I hear here of that love is tangible. It exists. I believe he exists. That shared love is too powerful to ever be destroyed.


  5. Elizabeth

    This is my favorite piece I have read by you about him to date. I hope this is the one that will continue to resonate in your heart and soul the most because I think (I know what I think doesn’t matter but…..) it is not only the most accurate, but the most peaceful.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      It was actually one of the first coherent thoughts I had, Bea. It’s been resonating through the months. Every time I think, “If only,” I remember that it could have been way worse. We might have saved him only to lose him more completely a couple months down the line after he’d spiraled down that terrible dark hole again. When you love someone so much, there are things worse than death. Maybe not for ME, but for him.

      Thank you, sweetheart. What you think always matters to me.


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  7. Simply beautiful! You knew him as no other could. You loved him beyond measure. Your understanding of him is the measure of one very terrific Mother!


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Thank you, love. I did understand him better than anyone. I know that. It brings me comfort and, alternately, makes me feel like I should have known something was up again. I knew something was, but I didn’t suspect that. I truly didn’t.


  8. Kelly Ramsdell

    Beautiful, Terri. And sad, of course, but affirming, too. All the hugs.


  9. So achingly beautiful. Love and hugs. ❤


  10. Maggie

    You are amazing. Chris was and is amazing. Hugs


  11. I wish there was a love button for this. ❤


  12. I would not want to pass on this, dear Terri, this wrenching pain that you are sharing with us and your great love for your amazing son. Thank you for opening your great heart, for sharing your son’s great heart, for allowing us to stand here with you and feel it all. much love ❤


  13. Carol Lovekin

    No passing… Just pausing & reading…
    Love in abundance xXx


  14. Janis Wohlschlaeger

    Thank-you for sharing this Terri. I love how you write. XOX


  15. Lynne Reive

    I read everything you post, Terri. It saddens my heart so, & I end up in tears. You are an amazing writer and, without a doubt, one of the strongest people I know.


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