For Auggie

When I think of all the ways I’ve spent free time in my life, three pursuits top all the others. That cycling is on the list is no surprise, so we’ll just move along. Writing, which is sometimes work, sometimes just fun, continues to be a way to spend hours by myself without ever being alone. I’ve learned a great deal about the world by tapping on a keyboard. Those revelations keep coming and keep making the time well spent.

The other pursuit is no real surprise either. My family. I don’t get as much time with my son and wife as I’d like, but the hours I spend with them are beyond value.

Were I to be called to give up cycling, I don’t know how I’d manage, but I’m confident that I’d find my way. Life without writing? If it were do or die, I’d do; it’s just that simple. However, if something happened to my family, there really wouldn’t be any point to the other two. Cycling makes my life rich, but a life without my family would have no meaning and cycling alone couldn’t buck up an empty soul. Same for writing. There’s no making sense of the senseless.

It is with that prologue that I write you to say one of our own faces exactly this life. Jon Grant is a cyclist, graphic designer, artist and illustrator. If you’ve ever perused a Rivendell catalog, you’ve seen his work. He does exquisite line illustrations of retro bike parts. He’s a talented guy and has done everything from maps and graphs to icons and stylish art.

Jon had a son, Auggie, who was fighting leukemia until this morning. A friend of Jon’s approached me just Saturday to let me know that he has been helping to sell prints of Jon’s work on his web site. Hospitals can be more expensive than political campaigns. I don’t know what sorts of bills he’s going to see, and it really doesn’t matter. He just lost his son. It’s a scenario I can’t even contemplate, and I pride myself on my imagination.

I’d hoped Jon and Auggie’s story would have a happy ending, that they would do a Pablove ride together someday. This isn’t how it was supposed to go.

You can learn more about Jon’s work and order prints here.

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  1. Marc

    I’m also a cyclist and a father. The nightmare of losing a child is beyond comprehension. Life without riding would take adjustment. Life without my boys would not be life. My heart goes out to Jon and his family.

  2. ben

    Tears and sadness for Auggie & his family that loves him so much. Thank you Padraig for writing such a nice note & to @pablove for all the work they’re doing for childhood cancer.

  3. todd k

    That is sad news Padraig. News of this sort always leaves me speechless. I don’t know Jon, but I am sad to hear this. I am sad for him. This has been a year where I have heard more than a few instances of parents losing children. Having two young boys, I tend to want to throw up walls when hearing these things and avoid the conversation all together. I can’t think of anything more uncomfortable or tragic. And whatever I offer in words always feels trite, hollow and unsatisfactory. And quite frankly, meaningless. And I also feel a bit ashamed that I cannot offer anything of substance.

    My thoughts do go out to Jon and his family.

    1. Author

      Everyone: Thanks for sharing.

      A loss like Jon’s is just too monumental for words. It’s impossible to imagine the depth of grief he feels or to believe that our words can convey our sympathy, but in speaking up, we do some good. Speaking up and showing concern is always helpful, even though they don’t make words that suffice for these occasions.

  4. chad

    I don’t know Jon or Auggie but today I’m thinking about Jon and what he is going threw. How he feels numb and empty. Trying to be strong for his family. The anger. The fear of going forward. I lost my son in 2007 and I just want him to know time makes all things better. Auggie will be a part of you forever. A good part! My friends in the cycling community where a big part of what got me threw those early days. Rest in peace Auggie.

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  6. Jon Grant

    Padraig, thank you for this touching commentary. Our family continues to be supported by friends near and far. I must request a correction, please. While I have designed frame decals and headbadges for Rivendell, and I’ve drawn a few diagrams for the Rivendell Reader, but I’ve done no illustrations for catalogs. You may be confusing me with George Retseck, the incredibly talented illustrator who drew numerous pieces for the last Bridgestone catalogs. If you are, I’m flattered, because I wish I were that good. Thanks!

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  8. naisan

    No father can read this post without pain, some tears perhaps.

    Our thoughts and prayers go with Jon and Auggie.

    We’re all mortal, but some achieve immortality in surprising ways, and come to live in a thousand hearts, in a thousand minds.

    We’re all Jon and we all love and mourn Auggie. Our kids live for Auggie and when we see them we think of Auggie, and we’re alive because of Jon and Auggie, and their love, and Jon’s pain, and Auggie’s life, and his death.

  9. Nandan D

    Thanks for doing this — Auggie ‘Captain America’ went to the same school as my twin boys and daughter. He touched many lives before December 5th, but he’s inspiring many, MANY, more of us since. What an incredible, and outstanding young man.
    As a father of twins, I can’t imagine what the three of them have to go through. It’s not much consolation Jon, but please always remember that going forward you are not alone, and that you never will be.
    We will never be able to make up for the loss of our superhero, but he’s inspired many of us to try and make a difference.

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