postcard-from-l-a: Readers reach out with tips, poetry, kindness, compassion

Christopher with his two sisters, and their grandmother’s dog, long before the second boy was born.
(Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times)

I am grateful and a little overwhelmed by the outpouring of kind words from readers in the wake of my older son’s death on March 4. Time and space do not allow me to acknowledge them all. But on this Easter weekend, here are a few that capture the comfort and sense of hope you’ve offered my family.

— Chris Erskine

I went to see the King Tut exhibit at Exposition Park yesterday. One of their beliefs was that pharaoh would never die until his name was uttered for the very last time.

May it be so with your beloved Christopher.


Bette Ross, Newport Beach


Your columns about Christopher are so raw, so filled with anguish, so filled with love. I haven’t lost a child, but I did lose my husband almost five years ago after a very brief bout with cancer.

I hated the “new normal” and it took a long time to accept it. What I did, though, was to keep breathing, taking one step at a time, living in the present … no rushing grief.


And I talk to Mike a lot; it helps.

Cookie Miller, Westwood


These columns about your son are very beautiful. I’m so sorry you have to write them.

Ron Rapoport, Santa Monica


I like what others have said — that they want you to share him with us, so he lives on in this paper, in our kitchens, in the stars we see in the sky.

When people die I always tell their loved ones that I’m sure he or she is with my dad. Because my dad is up there too. And he’s a great guy. And I’m sure he’s looking for Christopher right now. My dad will look out for him, I believe it.


Katie Kirkmire Vining, Santa Barbara


I remember so well your writing about you and Christopher (“the boy”) in the yard when he was a teen and you two roughhousing — an excuse, you wrote, to hug him.

That stuck in my mind, always … a dad and son connecting awkwardly. A guy thing … so dear.

Loving thoughts and gentle hugs go from me to you and your dear family.

Lynne Herron, Thousand Oaks


I am sitting here crying and hurting for your loss but reminded of what is important. I just hugged my 14- and 16-year-old daughters, told them I love them, and will approach this day with a renewed spirit to share and not be concerned with inconsequential noise that seems to consume people these days.


I sincerely wish you and your family well in this difficult time.

Bill Veber, Oswego, Ill.


We can only hope that the (agonizing) passage of time will lessen your terrible pain. And we pray that in time your family will experience joyous moments once again — joyful marriages of your children and births of adored grandchildren.

When those days arrive, please know that your longtime readers, just as they cry with you now, will smile and silently congratulate you from afar.

Alison and Tim Bryant, Ventura


I remember a passage from “Romeo and Juliet” that a friend sent to me when my father died. I hope it will bring you some small modicum of comfort.

When he shall die,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,

And he will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night

And pay no worship to the garish sun.

Your son lit up your world; know that he will do the same in the heavens.

Mary Dwyer, Ventura


Recognize, as Washington Irving said, that, “There is a sacredness in tears …. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief … and of unspeakable love.”

Brenda Keller, Lima, Ohio


Two years ago, my oldest son passed away. It was the hardest time in my life. One of the things slowly pulling me back to “normal” was your column in The Times.

My deepest thanks for your invaluable help in my dark hours, and for the thousands of other readers who feel the same.

Marta Schill Kouzouyan, Sierra Madre


You may know of this Gaelic prayer, I offer it now for you.

Deep peace of the running waves to you.

Deep peace of the flowing air to you.

Deep peace of the shining stars to you.

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.

Ruth Mack, Woodridge, Ill.


I live in Orange County, but if I lived in L.A., I’d join you on one of your happy hour hikes and offer a hug.

Instead, I will do what I have been doing the last year, which is to toast those who have passed to ensure they are still part of this life even if they are no longer here.

I will toast Christopher tonight.

Joanne Capetan, Corona Del Mar

Twitter: @erskinetimes