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A Son Lost: A Father's Words

A column by Mark Kawesoton Light about the death of his son, who struggled with addiction, in a motorcycle accident.

I haven't written anything in a long time. This time of year is always hard on our family. I want to take some time to remember my son, Sky Light. September 8 was six years since the Creator decided it was his time to go.

It seems like it was just yesterday I heard his motorcycle flying down the road at four in the morning and then a loud pop. I ran outside to find Sky and Devon both lifeless. Devon was a young man who was crossing the street at the wrong time and was struck by my son and his motorcycle.

That was the worst day of my life. To make matters worse, it was Sky’s daughter Tristyen's second birthday. The same daughter whose life he saved that spring when she fell in a pool in Florida. When he rescued her, she wasn't breathing and he brought her back to life.

My son had a drug and alcohol problem. He told me that he made a promise to the Creator that he was going to change his ways so his daughter can live without that influence in her life. He didn't change.

He left behind three children, each one a year apart from the other—3, 2, and 1. He always asked that if anything ever happened to him to make sure his kids didn't forget him.

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I tell them all the good things he carried. His sense of humor, his special gift of song. He was an amazing singer.

I remember a letter he wrote us when he was just 15. He was getting in trouble and was sent to a native rehab out in Wyoming. He said he was in a sweat with mostly grown men. He said they didn't seem to know many songs. He asked if it was all right to sing. He blew them away with his knowledge of sundance songs and ceremonial songs. They asked him why he was even there. They told him they were all looking for something that he already had. I miss his voice. If only he didn't go out partying that night his three beautiful children would still have a father.

We have a wicked problem here in Akwesasne: young people and pills. I'm hoping that people can find help for their addictions. We have to think of all the innocent children who suffer from the actions of the people they look up to so much: the parents who are supposed to care and show love to the children. Instead of going out on a weekend night, do something good with your kids. Our children watch every move we make. They feel pain too. We are losing a lot of our young people across Turtle Island to alcohol, drugs, suicide—things that can be prevented.

I have a deep love for my people and our traditional ways. I pray for all our families who continue fighting these addictions for the benefit of our future generations. As a people we have fought for centuries all the horrific things that have been done to us, and because of it, we are still here.

Don't ever take anything or anyone for granted. Appreciate the time we have together because we never know how long it will last. Hug your children and let them know how much they mean to you. Protect them from abuse and neglect. Let them grow up and be proud of who they are and where they come from. We miss our son and I give my condolences to all the parents who have lost a child.

Mark Kawesoto Light is an Akwesasne Mohawk artist, culture bearer and singer.