Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hide and Seek

I remember when we were in the hospital with Henry, he so loved to hide. We'd leave momentarily for a bathroom break, for morning coffee or to get him a toy and he would insist before we left that we cover him up entirely with his blankets. When we'd return, we'd have to play the game. "Oh, my! Where did Henry go? I left him right here and now I just don't know where he could be!" And then he'd throw his blankets down and yell "Boo!" and we'd play scared like it was the most frightening thing, staggering and holding our hand on our heart, eyebrows up in surprise. He thought that was just about the funniest thing ever.

At home also there were several times that he would hide, and hide so well, that I really couldn't find him. He understood that when you're hiding you couldn't make any noise and we'd pretended not to know where he was for so long that it was like crying wolf when we really were looking for him.

It didn't take long to hit the minor panic mode. I knew he was probably fine, but where the heck was he? This was perhaps the first time he'd discovered the place under our guest room bed. It became his favorite hiding place and while he got that he had to be quiet when hiding, he didn't understand that finding new places to hide was also important, making later games a little less stressful for me. In fact, he liked this spot so well, that once I found little bits of a snack he'd left there, presumably from just hanging out some time before.

Laying on the couch the other day, I was drifting in and out of sleep. I found myself in that semi-conscious state before really waking up and I was reviewing key points in his life; his diagnosis, his relapse, treatment. I recognized this jumping around to various key points in his life as a searching. I could see my brain trying to figure out if there was some clue we missed, some turn we didn't take, some subtlety we didn't catch - seeking for these as if he would suddenly turn up like in a game of hide and seek. There must be someplace we haven't thought to look yet. My brain was still trying to keep track of all three of my children and trying in a sort of panicked way to locate him. Once I really woke up this was recognized for what it was, but how I wished it were true.

I wish I could just walk over and find him hiding under the bed.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps Henry and the angels are having a grand game of hide and seek up in heaven, with Henry finding the best hiding spot ever, and the angels calling "Ollie ollie in come free!!!!" :)

Granya said...

Nice blog Bryan - you have such a gift for writing, for sensitive and meaningful sharing and for making me cry.

Anonymous said...

I still think about your whole family everyday, knowing that each day for you must bring back old memories that are so precious. Thank you for taking the time to share them here. Henry's courage and being able to know even a little bit about him has changed my life forever.

T. Strait

Anonymous said...

Bryan-I love that you are still sharing with us your feelings regarding life after Henry.
I think about Henry and you all everyday. In fact, I mentioned you at lunch one day because my daughter has a new found love of Mandarin (or as Henry said, Mandarinin) oranges.
You, Tara, Sophie and Anna gave Henry a wonderful life full of unique and great adventures. He was so lucky to have you all as you were him.

Take Care-
Natalie West

krissyheflinjames said...

How can I visit with you Tara at the doctors office and not have tears in my eyes? How can I let you examine my healthy five year old daughter and 3 month old son and not feel guilt? Michael and I just shake our heads in absolute unfathomable belief when we think about your family's pain and sorrow. I still get tears in my eyes everytime I think of Henry. He will always stay in my heart, even though we have never met before.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bryan,
I wish you could find him hiding under the bed also. It is so irronic to be searching for clues to something that was missed in his treatment. I know one thing for sure that wasn't missed was the love between a Father and a son that is so easy to see with you and Henry. That will never change even though the hide and seek part has. Keep writing. We are here for you and your family anytime you need us.
Gina,Craig,Carinna and Corey H.

Rita - Supporting Safer Healthcare said...

I am so happy to read your reminiscences of life with Henry, and so pleased that grief has not locked those light-hearted memories away.

Illness makes us sad, but you've been able to remember that illness was just a part, not the whole, of Henry's life.

Rita S.

Anonymous said...

I, too, wish you could find Henry hiding under the bed. I think he is right by your side though, trying to comfort you and help you through your grief. I am praying for all of you every day.

Anonymous said...


Your words are so touching and so real. My hearts breaks for your entire family and I too still get tears in my eyes when I think and/or lookat Henry's picture hanging on my wall. Thanks for continuing to share those great and wonderful moments.

Anonymous said...


What the others have said. You really are sharing a proud, loving voice and journey.

{{fellow daddy hugs}}