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Archive for September, 2011

rainy days

Dear Jakey,

It is a rainy morning and there is no school today. Ethan and I are being a little lazy – watching TV and snuggling on the couch. It is moments like these where your presence is so missed. I remember the hardest part for me about having you both in school was that there weren’t quite as many moments like this. And these moments are and have always been my favorite part of being a stay at home mom. That freedom to take the time to snuggle and enjoy a rainy day with my boys. So today, we miss you extra.

I have struggled with writing lately. So much to say but really all the same stuff. I continue to be a little jealous of Ethan and his ability to say what we are thinking, or at least what I am thinking, with no hesitation. At your grave the other night he asked if you had been dead a year yet. And we told him no, that it was just about 10 months. And we knew what he meant – it seems like you have been gone forever sometimes – because life does just go on. Days blend into weeks which blend into months and here we are, almost a year later. I look at how big Ethan has gotten and it makes me wonder what you would look like now – would you have put on weight? would you have kept getting longer and longer? I have been organizing lately and I have found so many albums and pictures of you and seeing all your different looks – when you were such a chubby baby, and then when you got so skinny and then all the ups and downs with the diet. I keep touching pictures lately almost as if I wish that by touching them I could for just a second feel you again.

We are getting a hamster Saturday. Ethan is beyond excited but told me yesterday that he wished you waited at least until Sunday to die so that you could have met the hamster. Not a thing goes by in this family of ours without us thinking about how it would have been with you. There is no other way to say it then to say it just feels wrong without you. I try to remember that you are in Heaven and more comfortable but I would rather have you here still fighting the fight with us. I miss your smirk and your braveness. I miss your arm when it would get flailing when I overfed you. I miss your big boy burps. I miss it all.

Lot of love,

Mommy

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the connection

Dear Jakey,

Tonight Ethan got his green belt. He did a really great job in his first class as a green belt, taking his new form very seriously. After class, we went to the connection for our celebratory dinner. It has been a while since we have been there, given how often we used to go. And I feel like when the three of us go now, there is an unspoken sense of missing you. Unspoken until tonight that is. We were sitting there, eating our sampler and having our drinks. The 1921 margs for me and Daddy and a Shirley Temple for Ethan. And Ethan said “remember when we used to bring Jake here and they always gave us a big table?”  And then it was out in the open. And I know we all were thinking about it and have thought about it every time we have been there since December 8, 2010. We went there as often as we did because hands down we were accepted there. They easily sat our family of four at a table for 8 on a busy Friday or Saturday so that we had room for you. It was awesome. And we went there when we came home from the hospital from your hip surgery. There was no other place we would go with you in your spica. And then I got thinking about our history there and I remembered when we went there for the very first time. Daddy wasn’t with us. He was visiting Sarena but Auntie Spunky was here. You, me, Ethan and Auntie Spunky went. You were on my lap and Ethan, who wasn’t even 3 yet had to go potty. Auntie Spunky took him and he did his thing – he took the biggest poop ever and poor Auntie Spunky was left speechless. With no kids of her own, she had no idea what little boys could do. It is funny to think about our small town and all the memories we have in it. And so many of those memories are in one form or another connected to you.

Tomorrow we head to the city to go see the Yankees/Red Sox game. Last Red Sox game we went to was with you. And the picture that we use as the logo for Jake’s Help From Heaven was taken at that game. Without a doubt, you will be missed. I always thought you would see the new Yankee stadium when I did. I’ll let you know how it is. Ethan and I have our Yankees gear all good to go. Daddy is left alone now in his Red Sox stuff – he liked having you as a partner in Red Sox Nation. We all love you and miss you every minute of every day.

Love,

Mommy

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Cosmic Logic

Dear Jakey,

Last night I finished “Loving Frank”. What a crazy ending. 90% of the book plugs along and is entertaining and thought-provoking and then the last 10% explodes. It was intense and to a degree, hard for me to read. I can’t read or think about death without making it about you and then about me. It all comes back to you. In the book, the character of Frank Lloyd Wright says the following:

“He wonders if there is some cosmic logic to it all, that those who stand tallest are the ones that lightning finds. But he tosses aside the notion. To believe that would be as wrongheaded as to believe it was God’s retribution. No, it was the kind of bad luck that life deals out at random. ”

I had to read it over and over because it is the thought process that I spend hours each day trying to work through. And each day comes the same conclusion – there was no reason, no justification, nothing that makes your death something that makes sense. And while we plug along, I think we all think of it and try to make sense of it each day. Ethan has been talking a lot about you and he constantly repeats that you “died too soon”. You did.

We are planning a fundraiser/celebration for December 7th which is a Wednesday. It will be exactly one year to the day (not the date) that you have left us. Heath and Jeff offered us a night at Cantina where they would donate a portion of proceeds to JHFH. It could have been any Wednesday in November or the first two weeks of December. Daddy and I talked it over and we thought that the night, the 8th and all those days around are going to suck. A lot. And then we thought that being surrounded by friends, people who loved you and love us and doing something good might be a good distraction. We’ll see if it was a good choice or not. I guess it just comes down to the fact that I hate that you are gone. I miss you every minute of every day and still find myself crippled sometimes because I just never saw it coming. I love you.

Love,

Mommy

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Parting Glass

Dear Jakey,

It’s been a busy week. Ethan had lots of TKD to get ready for tonight which was his belt test. He did good. I think he went into it feeling pretty calm which is important. And if you had anything to do with that, I appreciate it :-). The test was long this time  – over an hour and a half – but he remained focused and broke a thicker board than he ever did.  After we told him he could pick what he wanted for dinner and he picked the Parting Glass. I bet that doesn’t surprise you at all, though. And when we were there I had another one of those moments where I just missed you so much and tried to wrap my head around the fact that you were gone. These flashes come quick and sudden and they just crush me. But as I sit here and write to you I wonder if maybe those moments aren’t times and places when you come to visit. I would like that if that is the case.

Tomorrow Daddy, Ethan and I are going to visit Rob, Christy, Cole and Chase in Alpharetta. Our plan was to take you there after school ended this past June. We were going to drive down to Disney and plan a trip to see them on the way back. Life threw us a loop and it didn’t work out that way. I miss you buddy. A lot.

Love,

Mommy

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TKD

Dear Jakey,

Ethan got his third stripe tonight so he will be able to test for green belt on Thursday. It was looking a little shaky there for a couple of weeks but he got it together. As I was watching him tonight, I was on the edge of my seat, so nervous for him. I am not usually like that but there is something about Tae Kwon Do that is different. And I think it has something to do with the fact that it is really the only thing that was started before you left us, but that you never got to experience. It makes me sort of sad that you never got to see your brother do his thing. He has been doing it for just over 10 months. For the most part, he takes it very seriously. And for the most part, he is quite good. It just seems weird that you were never there in your stroller or on my lap. It just didn’t lend itself to that. It is crowded and chaotic  – both in the old space and in the new space. And Daddy was usually the one to take Ethan and I usually stayed home with you. We cooked dinner and I fed you and we just did whatever we did. Once you left us and we started trying to figure out how to deal with life again, both Daddy and I ended up taking Ethan now. Or at least for the most part. Now it is almost a year later, and his fourth belt test is Thursday. He won’t be in the beginner classes anymore if he passes.  I will be sitting there all nervous on Thursday, biting my nails and looking away when I just can’t take it. And I guess what this really comes down to is that I am asking you to pay close attention to your brother that night – it is Thursday at 5:30-6:45 – and watch what he can do now. Help keep him confident  and help keep me calm. I miss you more than you know. And love you even more than that.

Love,

Mommy

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stroll

Dear Jakey,

Another day behind us. And another one that I am glad is behind us. Today was the 3rd Annual Saratoga Stroll for Epilepsy on top of it being September 11th. A myriad of emotions and overall exhausting. I am just glad it’s all over. A day like 9.11 can’t help but make you think about the past. And for me, it is so strange to go back to that time before you, before Ethan and before Daddy. It brought me back to the time when I taught and brought me back to the kids that I taught. And how hard it was to go through 9.11 as a 27-year-old and try to keep it together for my class full of 9 year olds. And on top of it to be all wrapped up in all that is the Saratoga Stroll for Epilepsy. Not being involved with the planning made it easy to not really have to think about it but since we attended, as I know you would have wanted us to, I couldn’t help but think about all the work we did the past two years. And how very sick you were that 1st year. You ended up with pneumonia after that first stroll – which was always the irony of us. Daddy and I worked so hard in your honor and you ended up suffering. And then the 2nd stroll last year which you did so well at and which produced one of my favorite pictures of the 4 of us. The one of Daddy, Ethan and me around your red stroller and Ethan is looking at you instead of the camera with something that can only be described as the look of love. And today was just different. No stroller to push, no jobs to do, no talking in front of people but lots of talking about you. The kind of talking about you that is exhausting. So I say good night, my little peanut and I say it with a heavier heart than usual – and I hope that Heaven is a happy place today with everyone up there is feeling the love, gratitude and pride from down below.

Love,

Mommy

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Thank You

Dear Jakey,

The last letter I wrote you was a happy one and I made a mental promise to myself to try and keep my letters to you more positive and really share with you everything that is going on. And that didn’t work so well because I haven’t written in over a  week. Not for lack of things to say just because I am not sure I can keep it upbeat. It is funny Jake, because when you were here we were together so often that you  got the brunt of everything – happy and sad times, the times I was so scared and worried about you, my obsessive watching and recording of every potential difference that might mean something to someone about you, the fun, the lazy, everything. And without you here it really is just me, because so much of what we shared can’t be shared with anyone else. But anyways, I want to do better at sharing it all with you and not just the mopey sad me that misses you tremendously but all of it. So to catch you up, in no particular order, is a list of ten things that I think you should know for certain about this last week:

1. Ethan started 1st grade on Wednesday. It was so rainy! We went to see you before school and I wanted to get a picture of Ethan talking to you in his first day gear, especially his new sneakers which he is so proud of. But the rain threw me off and I didn’t get one. He came home though and loved first grade. He said his day was great and Mrs. Barrows was nice.

2. Lots of people thought of me and us on Wednesday. People knew that would have been your first day of kindergarten if you were still here. Oddly enough that part wasn’t hard on me. It was part of our story that was just so different and that I just got used to. While it always made me sad, I accepted that you and Ethan would never be in the same school. And that all of the milestones were different. There was no way to compare and we didn’t. You going to kindergarten would really mean being going across the street at Prospect. What did make me sad though was two big things. One was that there was no family pictures, and by family I mean the four of us. Those pictures from last year (Ethan’s 1st day of kindergarten on Wednesday and your first day on Thursday) were priceless. And the second thing was when I think about Prospect and I think about when Daddy and I went to visit there, I can’t stop remembering their music sensory room  – it was so cool and they would have been able to wheel you in there and you would have loved it. I know you would have and I am sad that you aren’t experiencing that.

3. The day after the Lip Dub, me and Daddy where on lots of newspapers and pictures. You would have gotten a kick out of it. I wish you were there. It was such a fun day and the only thing missing was you.

4. Ethan has on numerous times told me the only thing he doesn’t like about you.  Every time he says it, it catches me off guard until he finishes his thought. Each time it finishes with the exact same thing. The thing he doesn’t like about you is that you died too early. It’s true. You did.

5. Tomorrow is 9/11. A day that happened before your time. A day that changed a lot for all of us and tragically altered many lives. It marks ten years tomorrow. Last year you were with me when I was trying to talk with Ethan about it and this year I have been doing it again. We watched a piece about a girl who lost her mother and every year she sends balloons to Heaven. When she said that I thought it was kind of great since we send balloons to you. I though Ethan might like the idea of Heaven having a lot of balloons for everyone up there from all of us still down here. He got kind of mad at me though and told me to stop talking. He said it just made him sad to think of so many people down here having to miss people up there. I get it.

6. Today was the first day of fall soccer. We missed you. It wasn’t the same without pushing you down the middle of the fields, stopping and talking along the way. I felt a little lost without you. Ethan kicked butt – your brother is a good player. He understands the game and he understands being nice which is what I like best. With the reminders from Daddy, he knows not to show off how good he is which he doesn’t really need to do – it is pretty clear to everyone that he is pretty damn good. And he is passing to his team mates and giving everyone a shot. No one wants their kid to be that kid that is a show off athlete – at least we don’t. And you would have been proud of him.

7. This will give you a chuckle. Kate was with Ethan today. They went on a long bike ride and my bike sort of scared her. And Daddy’s was too big. So she rode Sarena’s. Pretty silly huh?  I keep picturing it in my head and it makes me laugh!

8. It has been over 9 months without you. It sucks.

9. At church last week there was a guest priest from Brooklyn. I liked him. He was pretty eccentric. This has happened to me before but I really can’t stop thinking about the way he spoke. It was close to Communion time and he spoke about Jesus and he talked about Heaven in such a real way and talked about all the departed celebrating around the table. He made it seem so great that I got tears in my eyes. Just because I need to believe so much that you really are in a better place. And that you really came here with such a strong and amazing purpose. And that as your brother stated tonight, you were so brave here. And anyone who was so strong and brave on Earth has to be in the best place ever. I just can’t wait to see you again.

10. I leave you with the quote I just read in another piece written by a brother for a brother that was lost in 9/11, He quotes Thorton Wilder who once wrote, “the greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.” And that leaves me with just a Thank You Jakey. Thank you for spending 4 years, 7 months and 4 days with me. Thank you for teaching me about what is important. Thank you for reminding me of what is important when I start to forget. And thank you for being my son. I love you so much and miss you more than words can say.

With so much love,

Mommy

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