Every year on our son’s Heavenly Birthday I write a poem in his honor.  My birthday present to him.  It’s my way of honoring his legacy of love and the multitude of lessons he left behind: in the hopes that, ‘because we knew him,’ we can strive to live an even fuller, more joyous life than the year before.

I do this – not for sympathy, not even for empathy.  But for love and love alone.  Grief is a part of life because it’s a measure of how we love.  And love is the very essence of life.  It is our deepest most healing breath we give unto ourselves and to others.  Therefore, on his Heavenly Birthday, I pause and take a deep, deep breath to celebrate a precious life.

At Preston’s funeral we released a sea of green balloons into a brilliant blue December sky – our way of metaphorically sending him off.  Bagpipes played Amazing Grace as everyone tried, through emotionally overcome utterances, to say our final goodbyes.  Echoes of “I Love You” served as a backdrop to the bagpipes as the green balloons disappeared into the heavens.  And we attempted to begin again.

All this, and more, so much more…is a smidgen of what I’m trying to capture in my memoir.  With a little help from my angel up above.


I love you…always and forever.


Go with the wind,

be carried on the gentlest breeze


Atop a sea of green balloons

that blind us with their bitter light


Toward down-filled clouds floating

on a canvas painted heavenly blue


Carefree as a bird,

lifted by the span of your wings

heightened by the scope of your love


Beyond all valleys where preconceived notions lie

up, to the highest peaks where humanity abounds


Take your precious soul to

where rainbows begin and end


Past stormy seas and endless nights

to the dawning of an everlasting light


To your heart’s content

my beloved one


You are, at last, eternally free

38 thoughts on “GREEN BALLOONS

  1. Your post, on such a serious topic of loss, was uplifting! Your love and tribute to Preston’s memory, were shown by the green balloons sent to the Heavens above, on the day he died. I was feeling the gift of your lovely, carefully chosen, and emotionally-charged words. This is a beautiful message, Karen. Happy Birthday, Preston and enjoy your eternal freedom! I am giving you hugs, from afar, Preston and family. Robin

    1. Thanks, Robin – that means so much because that’s exactly what I intended for it to be, uplifting! He was an inspiration to us all. Thank you for your very kind words, my friend. xo ~Karen~

    2. While looking for green balloons to post on my Fb page, I came across your beautiful poem. Tomorrow May 15th is my mother’s birthday (in heaven.) We too said goodbye with green balloons, green was her favorite color and emerald her birthstone. I noticed you had bagpipes, well we didn’t have earthly bagpipes but for a week or two I kept hearing bagpipes being beautifully played however no one else could hear them. I guess her angels were playing them for me:) I found your writing to be inspirational and uplifting on the eve of my mother’s birthday. Thank you and blessings!

      1. Thank you for your lovely words. I hope that you are having a peaceful Remembrance Day, today. I’m sure your mother is watching over you, after all, she is the one that was playing the bagpipes.

        Be well,


  2. Put as only a devoted mother could. Such tender words, Karen.

    1. Thank you so much, Richard. That means a lot coming from someone of your caliber. I only hope, that as I “live forward,” I can do him justice by honoring his legacy of unconditional love and lessons. All the best. ~Karen~

      1. I’ve absolutely no doubt that you will 🙂

  3. I just completed my award nomination post, with your name and http included. I did not exactly follow the rules but I did help to spread the love around, giving people who I have never nominated before an award. I enjoy the variety in my list, so hope that the main intention will be appreciated as I appreciate the nomination, so very much, Karen! Take care and hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

    1. YAY! Can’t wait to read your post! As for following the rules…I’ve never met a rule I didn’t bend or break ‘a little.’ So good for you. This weekend is reflective, but good… All the best. ~Karen~

  4. I did nothing like that for my beloved husband: it was all too private and solitary. But he is with me as if corporeally.

    1. I truly believe in the saying, “to each his own,” M-R. I’m sure however you sent him off was beautiful, sad and impossible (as goodbyes are). I’ve had mystical, magical, spiritual moments since our son passed. Hopefully, you will one day read about them in my memoir! Sorry for your loss. Be well. ~Karen~

  5. I’m sorry for your loss. I so appreciate your love and poetry and your sending him off with so much emotion you tripped over it. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and offering your condolences, Colleen. It is most appreciated. And thanks for your kind words and big heart. All the best. ~Karen~

  6. I sit with the rays of our winter sun warming me through the window. I cherish your heartfelt words and the love that Preston left you, your husband & family. Your poem is stunning K & I too wish Preston your beloved son a beautiful heavenly birthday. Love & hugs xxx

    1. Jen, I love how you tell me where you are when you read my posts…it makes your words even more meaningful as I picture you sitting by the window. It soothes my soul. Thank you so very much for your kind words, my sweet friend. We had a beautifully reflective day by the James River in Richmond, Va. We laughed, cried tears of remembrance and we continue on with life, joyously. Sending you love and light. ❤ ~Karen~

      1. I am glad and I am happy that you spent a lovely day in remembrance of Preston. Thank you for sharing K. Love & hugs my friend xx

  7. What you said about grief was so enlightening, inspiring and encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing this post.

    1. Thank YOU, Lisa, for your uplifting words! If I can reach one other person who may be going through a difficult time – it’s worth it! All the best. ~Karen~

  8. Grief like you feel is truly difficult, but as you intimated, necessary. My best to you.

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words. They are most appreciated. Be well. 🙂 ~Karen~

  9. I totally believe that you’ve had ‘mystical, magical, spiritual moments’ with Preston, and that they will continue for the rest of your life. Blessings.

  10. I love this tribute, and the ritual behind it, and how you use words to make the world more beautiful. Also, as a first time visitor here, I admire not only the nest in your lovely header, but is that the edition of To the Lighthouse I had in college? I’m so glad to read you’re writing a memoir.

    1. Thank you kindly, Jeannine. Glad you like my header – I just redid it. I had a fun little photo shoot with a few of my favorite things! Yes, that is To the Lighthouse, indeed. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to getting to know you and your blog! All the best. ~Karen~

  11. I believe they will too, Pam. Thanks! All the best. 🙂 ~Karen~

  12. What a wonderful sentiment. I hope writing this helps you. It will certainly help other parents struggling with a lost child.

    1. Thank you so much, Jacqui. Writing a poem every year ‘helps’ in the sense that I’m honoring his memory (this was his 8th heavenly birthday) and that, as you said, it will help just one more heart to heal. It’s a ritual that gives me peace. All the best. ~Karen~

  13. Karen, what an uplifting way to remember your wonderful Son.. Grief often grabs hold that hold tight to sorrow and tears.. And while I know there will have been many shed.. You also know your Son is now flying high within the realm of transformation.. He I am sure is delighted with his poem and it was a wonderful tribute to remember a special day..

    Much love your way. xox Sue

    1. Thank you, Sue. This delights me more than you know that people understood my message of joy and everlasting peace for him. He was ready to go…I have fascinating stories to tell regarding this in my memoir that I’m writing. And yes, we shed some tears each year as our hearts remind us how great our love is…but then we continue on with joy and reverence for life. I hope he liked the balloons! Love and light ❤ ~Karen~

  14. Breathtaking, Karen. Truly, Preston was a ‘forever’ gift to you. And, thank God, you were chosen to be his mother. There is no closer bond here on earth or up above. Always, you are together. No doubt in my mind….

  15. Thanks so very much, Kim. Your kind words touched my heart. He was indeed a ‘forever’ gift – his silent lessons live on in our hearts and minds as we go about the mundaneness of our day: realizing that every moment is a gift to behold. love & hugs ~Karen~

  16. Hi Karen, This is a beautiful post and tribute to your son Preston. And a wise reminder to keep stretching into more love with our challenges. Thanks, Brad

    1. Thank you kindly, Brad. Without love in our hearts (no matter what) there is no chance to evolve. Thanks for stopping by. ~Karen~

  17. Hi Karen. I’m finding it hard to express what I feel. As a Mom, I don’t know if I could put myself in the beautiful place that you have…I would hope so. So you are my hero because you have been able to fully place yourself in loving kindness…no fear…no denial…just beautiful unconditional love. Your tribute speaks to the beauty of your soul and your dear Preston ‘ s soul. Much love to you…Thank you for this blessing ❤ ❤

    1. Thank you ever so much, Lori. It took me awhile to get to where I am now. I had to begin again…from scratch. I fervently believe in the healing power of unconditional love. Your words have touched my soul. I thank you abundantly for that. all the best ~Karen~

      1. Hi Karen…I am sure that you had to find your way through a maze that had no directions. But you are an amazing woman…and I couldn’t be happier to have connected with you. Words touching souls is a good thing and I expect we will be doing lots of that!! Much love to you ❤ ❤

  18. Dear Karen, the raw pain and sheer beauty of your words take my breath way, I am left speechless, so moved to tears at the beauty of your expression, of your soul, of your love for your beautiful boy. I know we’ve only known each other a very short time here, but I feel such a strong connection with you, I can’t explain it. No sympathy, I so understand that. For we have Faith, Hope and Love. And the greatest of these is LOVE. I send you mine, dear friend ❤ xx

    1. Aww…tears. I am so touched by your very kind and inspirational words, Sherri. I feel the same way about you, as well. And I knew you would get the no sympathy thing – something I strived for throughout Preston’s life. Sending you love and light, sweet friend. ❤ ~Karen~

      1. Bless you dear Karen with the very same love and light you send me ❤

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