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  • today I am missing you.

    as I left the office last night, out of the corner of my eye it seemed like the flowers on your little altar were dying - even though they are artificial. first thing this morning I went to them and re-arranged them so they show vitality. I mostly did this for your mother. I grieve for your mother as much as I do for you, even though I've never met her.

    on the day that you died, I was facing the fear of my own child's mortality. we didn't know what was wrong with him. but we knew it was getting worse. we spent the morning in the emergency room, him screaming through 4 attempts to get a blood draw from his fat baby arm and collapsing veins. we were there when you were killed.

    over the next few weeks things got so much worse, and then, with care, eventually better. I watched my baby subjected to so much pain. countless blood draws, IV insertions, surgery, intubation, sedation, more blood draws over and over. he was so weak and sick that he didn't even complain after that first day, the day you were killed.

    knowing the wretchedness I felt watching him in this kind of pain, and the trauma that persists even so many months later from this experience ... this is why I grieve for your mother. my baby got better.

    the day of his surgery was the day that the Mayan Calendar ended. I'd often thought that this day would be significant in my life. as we waited for D to emerge from the surgery, not knowing the prognosis, not knowing the long-term diagnosis, I was paralyzed with fear. was it MY world that was about to end? everyone told me how much I would love my child, but no one told me how vulnerable this would make me.

    the fear was so dense that when T called to tell me you'd been killed, I could hardly take it in. survival mode is a powerful broom - sweeping away all but the most essential tasks, which, in motherhood, for me, amounted to: keep baby alive. the fear was so dense that when your memorial came around a few weeks later, I couldn't go. there was no space in my psyche to begin processing the enormity of your loss.

    many months later, I am finally sitting down to write to you. grief doesn't follow a specific timeline. it ebbs and flows.

    all I can think is: why? why did your mother lose her baby and I got to keep mine? why do the lives of evil men linger while your perfect, earnest, and ever-giving light was brutally extinguished so young?

    and now it is almost a full year.

    I remember your blushing cheeks. so eager to help, to be kind. I remember your laugh. a generous laugh. you cast out a kindly net towards every stranger, every friend, every co-worker, every situation, every phone call (even the ones that annoyed the hell out of me), everyone, everywhere, always. I never once, not once, caught you in an act of unkindness, or apathy.

    remember the hankies you made that Valentines Day a few years ago? white hankies with little cloth hearts hand sewn on them. you made one for each of us. it was such an appropriate gift. you offered yourself and your love even to our sickness. you loved the least of our selves.

    I keep it in my studio now. I keep it with my pens and journals and instruments. with my angel and Tibetan bells. I've never used it. it is like a piece of you and I want to keep it as pristine as you were.
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