Tag: time

The Time Phenomenon

Amparo Atencio

I’ve begun to notice a phenomenon that is happening as of late. I suppose this is the natural order of things, but it is unsettling.

I see adults who are now entering middle age. You know, those nearing 30 like Tony would be. And I don’t see anything about Tony in any of them although these are his peers. No, his peers are supposed to be entering adulthood, not middle age. They are supposed to have the look of one foot in childhood, the other in adulthood. It has happened twice now that I see that lack of realization up close and personal.

The first time, I was visiting a friend. As I got out of my car to go into her house, I noticed a father and his child on the quiet street. The little boy was gleefully pedaling his two-wheeler as his father walked behind him, encouraging his son on. I smiled at the scene. It’s nice to see fathers involved with their children. When I got inside, my friend asked me if I had seen “so and so.” I didn’t know who she meant and didn’t recognize the name until she reminded me that it was one of our boys’ old friends. If she hadn’t told me, I would have never thought the man was of that age group, that time frame. Nothing about him suggested a peer. Instead, he was just a mature man entering middle age and not an immature young guy making his way into adulthood.


The second time, I was in a lobby, waiting for my appointment. A woman standing behind me asked, “Are you Tony’s mom?” I turned to see a fit, athletic woman whom I didn’t recognize. I responded yes and asked her how she knew my son, and she told me they were good friends in high school. Stunned, I asked her “Oak Ridge High School, class of 2007”? Could this young woman entering middle age be a graduate of Tony’s class? Wouldn’t those young people look so much younger than her? I was so grateful to hear her memories, see photos of Tony I had never seen before, and share tears over a life cut too short, gone too soon. If she hadn’t told me, I would have never thought she was of that age group, that time frame. Nothing about her suggested a peer. Instead, she was just a mature woman entering middle age and not a silly kid making funny faces at a camera.


But that is the way of it, and I adjust to this reality. Tony’s peers are indeed entering middle age. They indeed are maturing adults with children and good paying jobs. Tony is forever young, and that gap will only grow wider as time marches on.

27 Things


Amparo Atencio

tony collage


  1. He was born with a cleft lip that was beautifully repaired at 3 months old.
  2. His first word was “cracker” as he pointed at the cupboard where the saltine crackers were stored.
  3. He lived in a single-parent home starting at age 3.
  4. He loved the water, but he hated swimming lessons and taught himself to swim.
  5. He loved to read and memorized books so he could pretend to read. His favorite was “Just For You” by Mercer Mayer.
  6. His pre-school teacher said he had lots of leadership traits, but he would have to learn to use them appropriately.
  7. He was diagnosed with ADHD at age 5.
  8. His 2nd grade teacher recommended advancing him a grade because he was so bright, but in the end we agreed he was not mature enough.
  9. He won several awards for his artwork, the most significant being 2nd place in a regional competition for his piece “In This Hand,” a drawing of a man who held the weight of the world in his head, propped up by this hand.
  10. Soccer, baseball, organized sports were not his cup of tea. Instead, he was a budding musician and artist.
  11. His supervised visits with his father weren’t supervised enough.
  12. He taught himself to play the drums.
  13. His dad died when he was 12 while I was on business travel, so he endured that pain alone.
  14. He learned to drive on the Hardin Valley campus of Pellissippi State Community College.
  15. His first paying job was mowing the lawn for our church.
  16. He loved to cook, and he felt the presentation was as important as the preparation, with a special garnish on the chicken breasts he arranged on the plate.
  17. He loved to play with kids and they loved him: wrestling with them, twirling them, giving them horseback rides.
  18. His favorite channel to watch while he ate in front of the TV was The Food Network.
  19. He gave all of his pocket change to “Please help, I’m homeless” people when he stopped at red lights.
  20. His funniest impression was of Will Ferrell in the Christopher Walken/Blue Oyster Cult “More Cowbells” skit on Saturday Night Live.
  21. He smelled so good. Axe.
  22. Horrible Bosses was the last movie we saw on our last dinner and a movie date.
  23. He lived 22 years, 10 months, and 5 days.
  24. He should be working at a decent job now.
  25. He should be in love now.
  26. He should be married now.
  27. He should be having his first child now.

In Memory of Thomas Wade Buchanan

Ruby Buchanan

April 21, 1983 – July 18, 2005
Son of Ruby and Mack Buchanan




Today is the second anniversary date of your death.


02-HHow the pain still feels sometimes causes us no rest.


03-OOne day life was so content,


04-MMemories flood our minds; we know that is how it was meant.


05-AAs we go on with our every day life,


06-SSome people ask, “How can you be so strong?”



07-WWade, if they only knew how they could be so wrong.


08-AAngels all around you up above


09-DDoing special things with all kinds of Love.


10-EEveryday we must go on, no other choice to make.



11-BBlessed we were to have you before God had to take.


12-UUntil we meet again, we must take one day at a time.


13-CCourage it takes, sometimes, not to lose our mind.


14-HHappy we will be to be reunited. Some days we can hardly wait.


15-AAs we wait for you to meet us at God’s Heavenly gate.


16-NNo one knows the things we learned from you at any rate.


17-AAnd your time on Earth was for a purpose.


18-NNo more tears in Heaven will come to surface.


(Always in our hearts!)
Sadly missed and cherished,
Mom and Dad


–This poem was originally written in 2007.

Crossroads in Grief: To Hide or Persevere

teenage boy at restaurant with mom

Debra Reagan

This article was originally published on Open to Hope, a website whose mission is to help those who have suffered a loss to cope with their pain and invest in the future.

To most folks, Aug. 6, 2005, was an ordinary day, but for me it became the worst day in my life.  I woke up that morning expecting to celebrate my birthday; instead, I learned of my youngest son’s death.  Despite the fact that I had many loving family members and friends, I found myself feeling isolated and numb.  It took so much of my energy just to make it through each day that I had nothing left for anything else. (more…)