Hurdle Fourteen: A Silent Birthday Wish List

I have always prided myself on not using other people’s words to express my thoughts.  While I enjoy reading, and I am often inspired by quotations, I try not to rely upon them.  I often think, while scrolling down my Facebook page, that if people would just read quotes, rather than cut and paste, and then put them into their own words,  relevant to themselves, what would come out would be just as profound.

However, this morning I am a bit off kilter.  I woke up at about 4 am as usual and hoped I’d wake up inspired to write something eloquent and meaningful as today is Zachary’s 22nd birthday (Is he 22 today? Or is he always going to be 21?  I just struggle with that question for some reason, and have struggled with it for months now) but nothing seems to be coming out that fits the day.

One reason that I couldn’t write was because I had a song playing in my head, on a loop, and it wouldn’t stop.  .  .

The song is the late George Harrison’s “Give Me Love (Give me Peace on Earth)” I had not heard this song in years so I did not understand why it was playing so loudly.  It got to the point where I went onto the  internet and found some simple sheet music, to play poorly on the keyboard, just to sort of drown it out, or put it to rest.

I tried playing for a couple of hours and kinda got the melody down then decided to look it up on YouTube, and there it was, of course.

Understand, I am just one of those guys who puts no stock in birthdays.  I tend to mark the passage of time by counting the hairs in my comb, as opposed to the candles on a birthday cake.  And, I am also the kind of person who, when I want something, I go out and buy it rather than waiting for a gift, leading to the dreaded conversation:

“So, what do you want for your birthday this year?”

“Ummmm, well, nothing.”

“You’re impossible”

“Sorry, buy me some sox.”

Zack was the same way.  As he got older, he looked less and less forward to his birthday, treating it more as an annoyance than anything else.  He pretty much received default gifts of shorts, shirts and video games because he never asked for anything in particular.

But, as I was playing, poorly, the song above I read the words on the song sheet and it hit me.

This song, a song I had not heard in many, many years, was not just a song, it was a birthday wish list, from a son, now gone:

Give me love, —- give me love, give me peace on earth, give me light, give me life, keep me, free from birth.  Give me hope, help me cope with this, heavy load. Trying to touch and reach you with heart and soul.  Oh My Lord.  Please take hold of my hand that I might understand you.  Won’t you please, Oh won’t you

Maybe birthdays can have significance.

Happy birthday Zack!  I read your wish list.

Zack, as much as I want to, I can’t give you life.

I can give you love.  And I can help you cope (won’t you help me?) but peace on earth?  Maybe you can give that to me for my birthday, although, alas, given the nature of human beings, maybe our peace lies elsewhere.

Take care son and thanks for 21, or is it 22, wonderful years.

And thanks for the song, to you both.


About daniel marco

For 23 years I practiced criminal defense. Then, on October 17, 2010, two men murdered my son. They were arrested a month later. It is a death penalty case. So I am coping not only with my son's death, but doubt about the purpose of my entire professional career.
This entry was posted in bereavement, birthday of murdered child, grief, grief murdered child, grief recovery, grieving parent, inspiration, life after death of child, loss of child, parent of murdered child, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hurdle Fourteen: A Silent Birthday Wish List

  1. The title of your blog really speaks to all bereaved parents…we are on the path to finding a “new ordinary,” a new identity, a new life without the presence of our precious child. Thank you so much for speaking from your heart and for sharing your life. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  2. doesithurt says:


    This has been one of my favorite posts you’ve done to date in my opinion. Maybe it’s because I know you but I felt more of your love for Zachary in this post than any of the others. I think that Zachary is now ageless. He now has the wisdom of the ages without having to count hairs. He will never grow old and he will never forget those close to him. I think that when the time comes you will meet him again and see him as you always have while he sees you as he always had. In heaven things such as age are trivial. You will appear to him as he last remembered and you will see him as you last remembered. This time though, you both can share in eternal happiness when the laws, and negativity of this world no longer have control over either of you. I’m proud of you Dan. You have grown much in grasping for the truth and sense of this life. I believe Zachary would be proud of you as well. You have become a better man since that day and it’s because if him that you’ve done so. You can be happy in knowing that Zachary is looking down on you and seeing how you’ve redefined your life and strive to grow better because of his memory. I think you’ve given Zachary exactly what he might have wanted for his birthday: you love and remembrance.

  3. Dave says:

    thank you for your sharing what you have been going though. you are in my prayers. I to will have to deal with my sons upcoming brithday oct 18. he to was murdered at the age of 16 its been two years now still looking for normal.

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