An Amateur Sleuth Talks to Children of the Storm

Written by Mark Wm Smith

An overeducated, blue-collar cowboy, Mark Wm Smith grew up on along the banks of the Yellowstone River in Eastern Montana. Raised by a long haul trucker and a bartending waitress, Mark learned the hard ways of the modern frontier, scraping life from the unforgiving high chaparral.

May 19, 2018

A conversation with a friend made me think of my children. Rather, children, in general. Or maybe I mean the parents of children.

“Do I really want to know the damage I’ve caused them?”

My children love me. I know that, because they tell me on a regular basis. And it gives me a reason to wonder at their beauty. Their strength. Their resilience. They are amazing. Maybe the most amazing people I know.

I can say that without hesitation, based on a single fact. I know their parents.

Personally, I held onto my anger at my parents’ misdeeds well into my thirties. It took an act of God to change my mind. My sister, Lana Mae Smith, gave up her life so I could learn.

“I’ve learned to set my bitterness and disappointment at my parents aside by watching them suffer the loss of a child.”

Knowing myself, my tendency to hold a grudge without having the whole story, makes me wonder at my children. I applaud them, almost daily, for their forgiving, loving, and compassionate nature.

And I hope I only ever have to know as much about the pain I’ve caused them as it takes for me to love them more.


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