In The Fraternity chapter and post on WMSB, I explore the complex journey that brought together the first three members of our Fraternity of dads who have lost children: Richard Page (Alex), Greg Post (Amanda) and Jimmy and me—and the discovery during the first gathering in 2013 that each of us proudly wears a tattoo in the actual handwriting of our kids.

Raphael joined our fraternity last year.   He lost his daughter, Cristina-‘Tina’- in 2015.   Sadly, she was killed in a car accident.  She was 21.    April 14 was her birthday, and Raphael shared this post on Facebook.

Love always, Cristina

Teenie always loved tattoos, so on her birthday I decided to surprise her and use a birthday card she gave me and copy her signature from the card. Of course, I used her tattoo artist who did all of hers. I am sure she is just beside herself right now. She knew I was not a tattoo guy and am still not but I did it for her. Love you baby…now I will always see your name every morning.

I promptly shared his post with Richard and Greg to let them know Raphael was now officially jumped into the Fraternity!

Raphael’s very fresh tattoo reminded me of something our good friend Kim had sent to me—Kim, wife of golfer Steve, who was featured in our last post-Rabbit Hole—More Back Story.  I received this a few days after I unveiled my tattoo in August 2013, five years to the day of Jimmy’s angel date.

Hi Casey, I’ve been thinking of you and Hilary so much over the last couple of weeks. I sent Hilary a book that I read each day for some mediation and inspiration called, The Book of Awakening, by Mark Nepo. I’m going through it for the second year, and the message for yesterday so made me think of your new tattoo.

Suffering makes an instrument of each of us
so that standing naked, holes and all,
the unseen vitalities can be heard
through our simplified lives.

None of us is exempt from the turmoil and pain that arises when what we want is lost. For once we pour ourselves into loving another person, it seems as if they take who we are with them when they go. In truth, they take a deep part of us, but what feeds the heart from within is endless, and everything that is living heals. Nowhere is this more evident than in the beauty of trees. Their endless turns of bark and nubs of trunk make each look like a sage. Yet, amazingly, the skin of an old tree is no more than a living map of its scars.

Can it be that the cuts [or burns!] turn into scars and the scars turn into beautiful quiet notches in which things can fly and nest?  In every space opened when what we want gets away, a deeper place is cleared in which the mysteries can sing. If we can only survive that pain of being emptied, we might yet know the joy of being sung through. Strangely and beautifully, each soul is a living flute being carved by the life on Earth to sound deeper and deeper song.

Hoping that your new scars create an opening for a healing and loving melody to sing through. Love, Kim

I cherish those words and that Kim thought of us when she read them.   Thank you Raphael and your fresh scar for reminding me to share them with others.

Happy Birthday Tina!

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Author Bios

Write Me Something Beautiful Authors - Casey and Jimmy Gauntt

Casey Gauntt

is an attorney and senior executive of a major San Diego real estate company. He lives in Solana Beach, California, with his wife, Hilary. Casey grew up in Itasca, Illinois, graduated Lake Park High School in 1968, and received B.S., JD and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California.

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Jimmy Gauntt

was born and raised in Solana Beach and graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 2002.   A prestigious Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California, he majored in English and Spanish. He authored six plays, five screenplays, and a multitude of poems and short stories. Beginning in 2010, the USC English Department annually bestows the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award—aka “The Jimmy”—to the top graduates in English.  Jimmy passed over to the other side in 2008 at age 24.

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