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A Place to Share...

The Compassionate Friends strives to provide a safe place for others to express their grief, ask questions, and seek comfort. On this page, everyone is allowed to submit a poem, brief piece of literature, story, etc. in memory of their child, sibling, or grandchild.

Please e-mail what you would like to share to: Pending approval, your shared pieces will be added to this page. You can also include a picture and a little bit about your loved one.


Kevin Derus Hickey

August 30, 1968 - November 1, 1995

This web page was created In Loving Memory of Kevin Hickey. Roger and Paula Hickey were the founders of the Oneonta Chapter of The Compassionate Friends, and Kevin was their only son.


"He was a good, loving and caring person.   He was the best son 
Roger and I could ever imagine.  He had one sister, Sharon Ann, whom he adored. He touched many lives and had many friends.  The world is a better place because of him. I miss him every moment of my life and think of him with every breath I take.  I wrote the poems below to express my feelings and to honor Kevin." ~Paula Hickey

Sometimes, in the Middle of the Night©

Written by Paula Hickey

In Memory of: her son, Kevin Derus Hickey


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can sense you there with me.  At times the feeling is so real it is almost frightening.  It consumes me, and I find total happiness enjoying your presence again.


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, you are a tiny baby and I am holding you in my arms. You are the most beautiful baby God ever created.  You have huge, bright eyes, a full head of thick hair and a smile that melts my heart.


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, you are an adorable toddler standing behind an open cupboard door eating fistfuls of Cheerios.  You are so small that all I can see is the open cupboard with two tiny red sneakers at the bottom.  I can hear you crunching your Cheerios.


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, you are young boy riding your bike - off to meet a friend or scout out yet another garage sale. You are so anxious to find a bargain you can resell at a profit.


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, you are posing for prom pictures with a beautiful young girl on your arm. You are so happy, your smile and your after shave fill the room.  You are handsome beyond belief.  You want to share all your experiences with your family. The sharing is part of the pleasure for you.


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, you are in your college years.  Your clothes are certainly not what I would have picked, but they are the “you” of the moment.  You are enjoying every new experience that comes your way.  I miss having you live at home, but I am happy that you are growing into such a wonderful, independent young man.


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, you are all grown up and off on your own.  You are a tall, extremely attractive, confident, intelligent your man.  The world is there for you to conquer. I am so proud of you and all I know you will become.  I can feel your enthusiasm for life.


Sometimes, in the middle of the night reality creeps in, you are a very sick young man.  You do not complain you are cheerful and even joke with the doctors and nurses. Everyone hopes you will get well quickly, but, you do not get well - you die.


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I cannot understand why God has taken you before you had a chance to be all that you could be.  I question a God who could be that cruel. Then, I remember that it is God who gives me the gift of all the  “Sometimes, in the middle of the night” experiences that keep me going until I can be with you again.

Always and Forever©

Written by Paula Hickey

In Memory of: her son, Kevin Derus Hickey


Dear child of mine, tonight I light a special candle that will burn brightly just for you. It is my way of telling you and the whole world that your life was very precious and that you did make a difference. I will put aside my grief for a few moments and concentrate on all the joy and happiness you have brought into my life - always and forever.

This candle honors your memory and all the little things that made you so very special, your laughter, your smile, your kind and gentle nature.  All these things I remember and hold dear in my heart, mind and soul – always and forever.


It symbolizes my faith and belief that, although you are not here with me in body, your spirit lives on and your soul is in a much better place.  Our Lord God all mighty has called you home much too soon.  But, I know deep inside me that one day we will all be reunited to share an eternity of love and peace with him – always and forever. 

The candle’s flame reminds me that your spirit is strong and all around me. At times I can even feel your touch, hear your voice or just sense your presence.  I bask in the warm embrace of the unconditional love we shared as parent and child.  I know that special love we shared will endure – always and forever. 

A Special Place©

Written by Paula Hickey

In Memory of: her son, Kevin Derus Hickey


There’s a place where I go when I need comfort and peace.  It doesn’t have walls or a floor or a roof.  It has no boundaries at all.  Sometimes its small – sometimes its very large.


It wasn’t always a place I went willingly.  You see - it used to be a sad place filled with pain, bitterness and fear.  It was a huge fiery pit that trapped me in grief and hopeless despair.  I didn’t like being there, but it was where I lived for far too long.


I knew it was not good for me to go there, but I could not control my need to question – to accuse – to search for a reason and to try to fix what went wrong.  I felt cheated and angry - the sadness overwhelmed me.  It exasperated me that days, months and even years were going by as if nothing had happened.  How could this be?  I needed answers, but there were none.


Slowly, as time passed, I began to sort out my feelings and to let go of my anger.  It didn’t happen overnight.  It wasn’t a sudden enlightened moment – it just gradually happened.  My mind and heart seemed to fill with all the wonderful, happy memories that I thought were gone forever.  I felt an intense sense of joy in who you were and how you lived your life.


Your spirit became very strong and alive in my heart.  All I had to do was to allow you to comfort me.  I know this sounds strange, but it is what happened.  The floodgates opened and I was embraced by magnificent memories that were the essence of you.  I could, and still do, feel your presence and hear your voice.  I even had a vivid dream of you coming to me and telling me you were finally home and you were all right and not to worry.  


Ever the skeptic - I wonder - am I just imaging this sense of peace?  Is it real?  I don’t know, but it really doesn’t matter.  What is important is the comfort I find in this place where your spirit heals my heart and reminds me that one day we will all be together again forever in Heaven.  It is very real to me – it gives me hope.  I feel truly blessed that the God I was so angry at has indeed heard my prayers and answered them in the only way he could.


I wish that I could give grieving parents everywhere a magic potion that would give them peace.  I know this is not possible; we are all different and must find our own way of coping with our loss.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve – it is an intensely personal process that we must all go through.  I will continue to pray that God, in his divine wisdom, will grant grieving parents everywhere a way to deal with their loss.


Have I stopped grieving?  Of course not - that will never happen.  But I now have a special place to go where I can find comfort and peace.  Rest well my son – I love you.  

That Their Light May Always Shine©

Written by Paula Hickey

In Memory of: her son, Kevin Derus Hickey

As we gather this evening to remember and honor our children who are no longer with us. I feel compelled to take a long, deep breath and try to understand what this ceremony is really all about.  Is it for them?  Is it for us? Is it for both of us?  Or is it for the whole world to take time away from our busy and often tedious lives to stop and consider what really matters.


That their light may always shine – what exactly does the mean?  To me, it means many different things.  


May their light always shine…because they were born into our families and we loved them immediately and immensely.    They were and still are special in their own way and they touched our hearts as no one else ever has or ever can.  The bond that was created between you and your child can never end - it will endure through eternity.  That alone is reason enough to join together with others and tell them all what a wonderful gift you were given – even it was for a very short time.


May their light always shine…because each and every one of our children who are no longer with us in body are indeed with us in spirit.  I feel that when you are a parent you give of yourself, your time, your caring, your love and your life lessons.  You give of yourself to your child.  But, they also give of themselves to you in copious amounts.  Hugs, smiles, songs sung, good report cards, wise choices, homemade gifts and unconditional love are just a few of the many things they have given us.  We still have them and we cherish them and tuck them away in our hearts for safekeeping.  


We are here tonight  - that their light may always shine…because we love them with all our hearts and will never, ever forget the important part they played in our lives and the tremendous joy they have given us.  


Shine bright my son – I love you with all my heart! 

The Gift©

Written by Paula Hickey

In Memory of: her son, Kevin Derus Hickey


Time has passed quickly; I cannot slow it down nor can I change what happened.   I still don’t understand why.  At first it didn’t seem real – more like a bad dream.  I was numb as I tried to get on with my life.


Then reality set in and I was drowning in inconsolable grief.  Although I was surrounded by people who love me, I was alone.  All I could feel was pain and anger.  I had trouble remembering the happy times.  I felt I had lost the essence of you and all the joy you brought to my life.


As time went on, your spirit grew stronger and won control of my feelings.  Gradually I was able to see past my grief and remember all the things that made you so special.  Your love of life, your sense of humor, your intelligence, your kindness, your generosity and your unique way of dealing with people and problems – all the wonderful qualities that were so much a part of you came flooding over me. 


You have given me one last and very precious gift that will last forever – the peace that comes with remembering your life and all the happy times we shared as a family.  Your wisdom has shown me that the greatest gift I can give to you and to those who love you is to celebrate your life and keep you alive in my heart until we are all together again at the end of time.

Your Message©

Written by Paula Hickey

In Memory of: her son, Kevin Derus Hickey

I heard your message; it was very soft and low.  I could not hear it through my pain and tears.  Nothing could comfort me – nothing at all.  The days all blended together.  I was going about doing everyday things, but I don’t remember them at all.  Time passed.


I heard your message; it was soft and low.  I could hear it very faintly, far away and distant.  I wasn’t ready yet to really listen.  A deep sadness still nestled in my heart.  Time passed.


I heard your message, but it was still soft and low.  It was so persistent!  I strained to hear, I wanted to know what you were saying.  I felt like the fog was slowly lifting.  Time passed.  


I heard your message, now it was getting a little louder.  It was a little stronger and more insistent.  I was curious about what you were trying to tell me.  I spent time searching for answers and hoping to understand.  Time passed.


I heard your message, but now it was getting even louder.  It was harder and harder to ignore.  I had given up trying to find answers and to understand.  I realized my life had changed so drastically that the old me was gone forever.  The new me was a clean slate.  I could be bitter and angry and cut myself off from the people who loved me, or I could try to comprehend your message and do my best to carry out your mission.  Time passed.


I heard your message, now it was very, very loud and very, very clear.  I could no longer ignore your wishes; they were emblazoned on my heart.  Your message was really very simple – you said you were home and at peace and one day we will all rejoice together.  Time passes and I will wait.

E-mail For Charles©

Written by Paula Hickey

In Memory of: her son, Kevin Derus Hickey

A few nights ago when I was “talking” to my son, I told him about the Compassionate Friends Candle Lighting we were planning.  I said I was having a bad case of “writer’s block” and pleaded with him to inspire me.  He came through loud and clear.  He said send me e-mail, my address is:  He also reminded me that I always called him “Charles”.  He wanted an e-mail message - so here goes!


Dear Charles,


I can’t quite believe your message came to me so quickly and so strongly.  It made me happy that you wanted me to call you Charles again.  Dad wanted to name you Kevin and I agreed, thinking all along I’d call you Charles privately.  I remember how much you liked having a special name just between the two of us.  I really liked it when you told a girlfriend that she could not call you “Charles” because I was the only one who could call you that. 


Remember when you were in the hospital and the nurse came to get you for some tests and I said “good luck, Charles” and she freaked out and grabbed your arm to check your nametag? We all had a good laugh over that one. I was thrilled when you choose “Charles” for your confirmation name.  That made it real.


I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and tell how much we will all miss you.  My dream is that you are busy shopping for stocking stuffers and decorating a big beautiful tree – don’t worry your allergies are a thing of the past.  At this time of year, I think about how you wanted to make Christmas cookies your first night home from the hospital when you first got sick. You and your sister made the most delicious cookies I have ever eaten.  You were so weak, I don’t know how managed to bake and decorate cookies.  


We don’t do stockings anymore, that was your thing and we all want to remember how great you were at picking out just the right stuff.  Christmas cookies are also a thing of the past.  For me, doing these things without you is just too sad.


We had the cousins over for Thanksgiving this year.  We lit a big vanilla scented candle for you right in the middle of the table.  I almost baked a single potato just for you.  You are about the only person I know who doesn’t like mashed potatoes.


When I’m shopping, this time of year especially, I still see things I think you would like and I want to buy them for you.  You had such strong tastes it was easy to buy for you.  Besides, you were never shy about dropping hints!


In closing, I’ll just wish you a very Merry Christmas, peace, health, happiness, joy and, most of all, love.  Please continue to keep in touch.


Love always,


As Time Goes By

Written by Paula Hickey

In Memory of: her son, Kevin Derus Hickey

Time is abstract. It’s a measure of periods in our life. It can be a good thing, we have plenty of time. Or it can be a bad thing, our time has run out and there is no time left. When you lose a child, time becomes “before” or “after”.

Most of us think of “before” as the period when we had our child in our lives and there was plenty of time to do special things, take trips and plan for the future. The “after” is the time when it‘s too late. We have no options. It is what it is, not another day or hour or minute.


As times goes by, I wonder what things would be like if only you were still here in our physical world. Would you have grey hair? Would you be married with children? Where would you be living – in the city or out in the country? Sometimes I feel such a strong need to know the answers.


I think of all the things you are missing. You would have loved smart phones, wide screen TV’s with “Surround Sound”, e-readers and facebook. Your 1976 Fiat convertible would surely be completely restored and ready for a road trip. I can see you sitting in the passenger seat and tossing me the keys. I remember you thought it was hilarious that I forgot how to drive a stick shift, especially since I taught you how to smoothly shift gears. I remember you could tell if someone was driving a stick just by the way they started up at a traffic light.


When we are traveling, shopping or watching TV I can’t believe how often I say to Dad “Kev would have loved this”. It’s such a bittersweet feeling. I feel really sad for all the things you didn’t get to enjoy. I’m so sorry I was so upset when you bought TWO brand new cars in one day! I wish I could talk to you about so many things. I have a deep longing to communicate with you about simple everyday things. I miss that chatter so much.


As times goes by, it’s the ordinary things we all take for granted that I miss the most. If only I could hear you laugh, see you smile, watch you cook a good meal and listen to you tease me about my bland cooking. I miss all the things that were so much a part of our life and gave me such joy. I want that life again.


When I really miss you I find a quiet place, close my eyes and let my mind go blank. I call to you with all my emotional energy, forcing myself to open my mind and my heart to your spirit. First I have to gently peel away the layers of pain and sorrow that came with your illness and death. Unfortunately, these last memories of you are still very strong. I fear they always will be. It takes time, patience and prayer to believe I can feel your presence. The first few times the feelings were far too intense - I was actually frightened. After awhile I felt stronger and more confident. As times goes by, I find peace in the knowledge that I can sense your aura and take comfort knowing that you are still with me every day.

Where Are You Now

Written by Paula Hickey

In Memory of: her son, Kevin Derus Hickey

Where are you now? Why do I feel so lost and alone? Why now, after all this time?


In the beginning of my war against grief I was so raw and vulnerable. I was totally exhausted, mentally, spiritually and physically. I was searching for answers and desperate for any words of wisdom that would let my weary mind rest. I read all the cards and letters we received after you died. I cried, a lot. I prayed, even though I was still angry with God for not curing you. Nothing I did helped ease the very real physical pain I was feeling.


If I couldn’t find the answers I was looking for maybe you could help me. I started talking to you all the time. I told you what was in my heart and pleaded for some sign from you that would let me know you were at peace. It worked! I was literally bombarded with signs from you that were impossible to ignore.


I found pennies whenever I was sad or needed encouragement. When you were a little kid you found pennies everywhere, it became a family joke. Whenever we went out shopping or on vacation, we could always count on you to find a penny or two. I felt such a strong connection to you that I was convinced that you are responsible for each penny I find, it is your way of telling me to “hang in there”.


I started having very vivid dreams were I could strongly feel you presence and smell your unique essence. One time I even felt you touch me. I was in a place where I could actually get past you illness and open my heart to all the wonderful memories of you. The pure joy of loving you wrapped around me and embraced me like a warm hug. This I could handle.


I thought I had everything under control, but suddenly I was overwhelmed with sadness. I was sinking fast. Then I realized it was that time of year again – the anniversary of your death and grief was banging at my heart.


I had a sudden realization that I don’t need answers to my questions, because I do know where you are, why I feel so lost and alone and why now after all this time. Grief ebbs and flows like a river. Sometimes it subsides into acceptance and sometimes it surges like a raging flood. This is the nature of grief. I will accept it, but I will not let it consume.


I know exactly where you and were you will always be. You are in my heart, my mind and my soul – you are a part of me and we will be together into eternity. This I can handle.

Remembering Elizabeth Rose

by Felix Pitre, 2/20/2021


The speedy chickadees return to feed

Relentlessly guarding their lifeline

Seeds that will keep them and their brood

Alive, until the warmth of the summer comes

I could tell her this

The icy snow is hard enough to sled

And my screams of delight as I speed

Down the hill towards the side of the barn

Reveal the boy in an old man’s frame

I could show her this

And my groovy music from another time

That makes me shake and rock

As I work my weights to keep me young

While crooning along to words I knew

I could sing her this

But on this day I’ll remember her instead

And the joy I feel when I recall

The loveliness and delicate innocence

Of her beauty; a wonder of creation

She tells me this


Felix Pitre’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Rose, died at birth on February 20, 2020

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