A year ago we lost our boy, Thomas Treat Clarkson. He is our fourth child, our third boy and a significant light in our life. We miss him deeper than we ever thought possible. His passing created a massive hole in our hearts and our lives.
Thomas was born on July 2, 2017, in Phoenix, in a bathtub. His father insisted on the middle name “Treat,” which spawned many nicknames, like Tom Treat and Treat Man. Baby Thomas loved his monkey binky.
Tom Tom slept almost every night with his sister, Clara. Even before opening his eyes for the day, he smiled. Early in his life, Tom never struggled to find trouble. He loved the feeling of hair product on his hands, face, hair and the wall. His brothers still sleep on a mattress that Thomas stabbed a few dozen times with a sharp knife.
Tom was curious. He liked to see the insides of things. He liked to take them apart and they rarely got put back together. He clogged more than one toilet, mostly with toys, and then would continue to use the clogged toilet for regular toilet business. It was hard to get mad at Tom’s messes, because they always seemed to be a happy, innocent experiment. Tom’s face was rarely clean, and often covered in Nutella. Tom loved to play Legos and Beyblades with his brothers, Steven and Robert. He always shared his food and toys with William, and they’d hug each other so tight that they’d end up in a heap on the floor. Thomas never got a chance to meet Phillip, Remembering Thomas Treat Clarkson A tribute 7/2/2017-3/21/2021 but he would often hug his mom’s belly and whisper to his littlest brother.
Thomas loved Spiderman. In fact, he loved him so much that we once found Tom trying to get a spider to bite him, so that he could get the same powers as Peter Parker. To some in the family, his name was Spider Tom. Thomas never went a day without wearing his Spiderman costume or pajamas, and he loved to shoot bad guys with his web fingers.
When his older siblings started school, Thomas was distraught that he could not attend with them. He wanted to be big and he never wanted to be left behind. When preschool finally started, Tom loved attending Miss April’s class. He sometimes wore his pajamas to school on purpose and, looking back, we’re glad we let him. We loved him and he loved us.
We feel like we have gone through hell, and some days it feels like we are still there. We cling to our faith that we will one day be with Thomas again.
When we moved to Kanab, in May of 2020, we sought a change for our family. We hoped to simplify our schedules and to spend more time with each other. We wanted to live more deliberately. For almost 11 months, we were succeeding in that pursuit. We enrolled our children in the wonderful Kanab Elementary. They participated in extracurriculars like sports, dance and 4H activities. We attended community events as a family and made many memories. We made good friends. Until the afternoon of March 21, 2021, we were living in the good ol’ days and we knew it. We felt gratitude for all of the good things in our lives and the blessings we were experiencing.
Since that day, we feel now more than ever that we made the correct choice moving to this beautiful place. We have witnessed an immeasurable outpouring of love and support that has kept us afloat during our family’s storm. The meals, the calls, the visits, the shared tears, the gifts, the hugs, and, most importantly, the prayers that came in droves and often precisely when they were needed. We received support in our darkest hours from our family, our friends, and our new community that rallied around us in ways we never expected.
Thank you to all of those who have shared in our grief and helped us as we learn how to cope with this loss. We will probably not know in this life everything done on our behalf, but that does not keep us from feeling an immense gratitude for all of those that have helped us. Thank you to Tom’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, teachers, classmates and church family. Thank you to the emergency responders who, like angels, arrived in our time of need. Thank you to all who have felt this loss, grieve with us and keep us in your prayers.