The Loss of Finn Terry

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Finn Terry. Tragically, Finn, an 11 year old Portland boy, died this weekend when a canoe he was riding in flipped over in the Clackamas River. Finn attended da Vinci Arts Middle School in Portland and he received a standing ovation at the school’s talent show on Friday when he read his poem about love.

My neighbors’ and friends’ children played baseball and attended school with Finn. How do you explain such a loss to a child? How do families deal with the loss? My cousin died in a car accident during my first year of law school and a classmate died when I was in 7th grade — loss is hard to understand at any age but especially hard for children to understand. I encourage anyone who is seeking answers or interested in help in this area to seek the help of the Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon.

The Dougy Center provides support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults, and their families grieving a death can share their experiences. It is a wonderful resource in Portland for families dealing with loss. The Dougy Center is supported through generous private donations from individuals, companies and foundations and it does not receive federal or state funds. Because of the generous donations, the Dougy Center is able to provide its services free of charge.

Here are two of Finn’s poems:

At first he loved it he loved the great sensation it brought but as he grew he realized what it did and hated everything about it but was still addicted he could barely talk by age 29 but the drug still called out and he still answered and it was always calling louder and faster until it was silent its purpose had been fulfilled and he slept silently, stilly, the path was finally clear when it used to be covered with the vile black cloud of smoke, and all he saw was a bright light walking to it he thought that he was free from the pain that felt so good, free to explore all he missed in another world, free to finally rest without the eternal cries from the box of evil, his curse had been lifted. Now joyful for the first time since childhood he looked at the world he parted from and saw many people following the same path and felt a new type of pain, a worse type of pain he now knew as sorrow and he could bear it no longer, he visited dreams and entered minds and pleaded them to stop but they didn’t listen to him or anything else, except the great sensation it brought and it always ended in silence.


As he stood in the batter’s box again realizing it’s a full count and two outs and last inning, he needs a miracle to win this game, he looks confidently at the pitcher even though he’s has an extremely nervous look and by the time the pitcher started his pitch his knees were wobbling and when he threw the last ball of the game you could hear the ball screaming it was going so fast we all knew it was game over but what’s this he’s swinging without hesitation! The last three seconds seemed to be in slow motion the crowd leaned in the players pushed themselves against the fence the umpire yells STRIKE THREE BATTER OUT his team disappointed left grumbling the other left cheering, he was all alone, if you want to see him he’s still there helmet on bat in hand waiting for the next game.

Both by

Finn Terry