Monday, June 29, 2009

Tightrope Walking

The weight of Henry's absence is difficult to bear right now. It comes and it goes in waves. Some days I can wake up and hit the ground running, think of him and smile and be OK. The last couple of days I go through the same motions, but I end up staring at the wall crying.

A physical wound stops hurting, even being wronged by someone seems to pass. Most of the time these things can be fixed. A band aid, an apology, but not this one. Sometimes when a quiet, pensive song is on the radio, I think of his beautiful face and holding his hand and talking with him, listening to his perspective on things and I just miss him so much it hurts like nothing else. I have flash memories of us in the hospital and of all he went through, of the phone call after his last MRI, of holding him near the end.

To push these things away because they're painful or to hold on to them because they were part of our shared experience with him is a tightrope that we have to walk each moment. Beautiful days of light, sun and being outside make me wish he were here to enjoy them. Seeing the lightning bugs this year, made me realize he'd never seen them and now he can't. The impulse to submerse myself in his memory is so powerful, but so painful.

I live by the pool,
of memories of you.
I dangle my feet in,
I touch the water with my fingers.

When I'm really missing you,
I wade into the pool,
of memories of you.
I've not yet learned to swim here,
so I stay close to the edge,
but it feels so good to be immersed,
just like when you were with me.

It's enveloping and I lose myself,
swimming in the pool,
of memories of you.
The cool water soothes my dry skin,
parched by time without you.
I turn and swirl the water,
my arms outstretched,
and I smile thinking of you.
But I've drifted too far.
I cannot yet swim here
and I cannot find bottom.

I panic and gasp.
I'm drowning in the pool,
of memories of you.
The water is deeper than I thought,
murky and dark.
I cannot breathe, my chest heaves.
The world is spinning and
I'm being drawn down.

Maybe I should close my eyes,
and lose myself in the pool,
of memories of you.
Relax and let it take me.

I find myself lying in the grass,
near the pool
of memories of you.
I'm drenched and exhausted.
But strangely relieved,
to have survived my swim.

I carry in my being,
the pool,
of memories of you.


Granya said...

I too thought of Henry when I saw the lightening bugs last night. I didn't realize he'd never had a chance to see them.

Raspberries are almost ripe - he loved picking them - an event that may never be as thrilling as last year.

My love to you Bryan, and to Henry -

Anonymous said...

that's beautiful Bryan. I miss Henry so much, too. Your words honor his existence and breathe so much life into his memory. You and your family have been so so true to him. Love, Josh.

Sareen Hebb said...

I think of Henry often...usually in the simple moments with our children. That was his gift to us, to soak up those times with our families. Thank you for all that you share with us, Bryan.

Henry does see the lightening bugs.

Anonymous said...

I have started to write you several times, but my words just sound meaningless. I can't even comprehend what you are feeling, but as I read your words I began to cry once again. My son; who is 4 reminds me soo much of your little Henry. He (my son) soo loves Cars and trucks and even Curious George....and he too recently just found lightening bugs :)
I guess what I am trying to say through all this is Thank You for reminding us that even the littlest; simplest things are some of the best memories we'll ever get. You, Henry and your whole family have given a lot of perspective to all of us and I hope that at least some of these things will help you remember Henry and smile.

ms.t said...

There are no words to justify your pain. The poem, your expression, your love....just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I wish that things could be different for you all. The constant reminders of what could have been and of all of the life events that Henry will miss out on must be so hard. You provided him and taught him so much and for that I hope that you can find some peace.

I will be thinking about Henry tomorrow on the 4th and will be remembering how much fun he had last year at your lemonade stand.

My thoughts and prayers are always with you. I miss you Henry!

Love, Julie

Michelle said...


Henry is with the One who created the lightning bugs. He has probably told Henry everything about them! Your poetry is beautiful and moving... a lovely tribute to your love for Henry.

Michelle in VT

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say except I am still here, crying with you after reading your beautiful words.

Anonymous said...

Your words are beautiful and ring true. That is exactly how we feel, too. We think of you often and wish that your family didn't have to endure the loss of of a child. I think it is great that you are able to eloquently state these feelings. Perhaps it is good for the healing process to be able to write about these things.

Sending your family lots of hugs and love. We hope that you are continuing to find lots of reasons to smile each day.

Shirley, Wayne, Fiona, and Angel Sophia

Ami Czorapinski said...

Just wanted to say "hi" and let you all know that we're thinking of you. Hope the girls are getting to enjoy some of the summer.

Granya and DeeDad said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HENRY - Memories of you are so tender and loving and serious and funny - and heartbreaking.

We miss you so much.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bryan, Tara, and girls:

Thinking of your family today-Happy Birthday Henry. I thought a good way to honor him would be to donate! So that is what I will do every year on his birthday.