I Thought I Knew, But Now I Know

book love

Just as the benefit of writing

Is not to be discovered, but to discover;

The key to life is not to live, but rather to be alive.

Today is my brother’s birthday.

He would have been fifty-seven years old today.

I was less than a year old when he died.

He had yet to turn three.

I don’t have many memories of my brother.

Virtually none.

The only thing I remember is crying myself to sleep with his Mass card in my hand when I was a teenager.

I hurt intensely, and I didn’t even know him.

Today, I realized for the first time that my parents lost a son.

I mean I always knew, but now I know.

It’s a common thing to do to not look at your parents as real people with real problems.

My parents had to have hurt immensely.

But somehow they made it through.

They kept living.

And stayed alive inside.

And for that I am grateful.


I’ve come to understand what Oriah, in the book “The Invitation,” meant when she wrote,

“It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. 

I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

 It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. 

I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

 It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. 

I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. 

 I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”


Statistics show only 21% of couples who lose a child stay together.

It is just too painful.

My parents did a wonderful job of keeping me and my brothers live’s intact. Growing up in my life, there was no indication that my parents lost a child.

I aspire to do as good of a job as they did.

My parents raised four other children while going through what no parent should ever have to experience.

Tomorrow is my brother Joe’s birthday.

He is alive.

I never realized for the last fifty some odd years my mother has had to re-experience the pain of losing a child the day before celebrating giving birth to another son.

That’s the internal tug of war of life I am currently experiencing.

There are a lot of things about life I didn’t know.

How many people have I seen and never knew?

So much hurt that I never realized existed has become visible to me.

It has changed me.


I can’t explain it but I always knew my souls calling was to be a writer.

It’s magical to me between the connection of how and why.

When my parents lost a child, my mother and her friend Joanne poured in an inordinate amount of time and attention into teaching me to read at a very early age.

It is amazing to me that the genesis for my love for words and books stemmed from the loss of my brother.

And now my passion for writing has been ignited by the temporary loss of my daughter.

I say temporary because I hold out hope that Jess will recover. 

I hold out hope past the point that it is healthy to hold on to any.

But I do.

And I always will. 

Often I look at my situation to see what the benefit is to keep living and loving when such a deep loss has been experienced.

And I always remind myself, that if my mother had stopped being alive, stopped loving after experiencing devastating loss then I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

I believe my minds model of the importance of continuing to live and being alive through loss is one of the greatest assets I possess. 

Just as the benefit of writing is not to be discovered, but to discover; the key to life is not to live, but to be alive.

I just have to look at myself to see the benefit of continuing to live and to be alive through loss.

I believe the greatest honor we can give to the ones we lose is to transfer our love for them into another person in this Universe.

I believe a loss is not lost when it is transferred.

As transference lives on forever.

If You Enjoy The Writing of JohnA Passaro

Consider supporting it

With a donation of your choice.


Support the writing of JohnA Passaro 


For All Works by JohnA Passaro




5 replies »

  1. John, what you may not remember is that I was Michael’s godmother. My heart was broken when he died. I took care of you and JoJo while your mom and dad were at the funeral home for the days and nights he was waked. There was nothing I could do for him then, but I could certainly help mom and dad by giving them the time they needed to grieve. During that time, you came down with was thought to be the disease that took Michael, the Croup.
    I didnot tell your mom …how could she have dealt with that? I took you to my dr., and took care of you until you had passed the crisis,
    then I told her what had happened. Thank God you recovered !!!
    And yes, I taught you to read when you were around 4 yrs old. You were anxious to learn, and you learned very quickly.!!! It was no surprise that this love for the written word would develope into your creating literary magic, putting on paper your very heart and soul for all to see and feel.
    Thank you for that, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John, hey do you know when the book I ordered will be coming? I thought it was supposed to be shipped end of March or first part of April. I just wanted to make sure it was not sent to the wrong address.

    Sent from my iPhone



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s