Thursday, February 25, 2010

One Year

What day is this
Besides the day you left me?
What day is this
Besides the day you went?

So what to do
With the rest of today's afternoon, hey
Isn't it strange how we change
Everything we did
Did I do all that i should?
-Stay or Leave, Dave Matthews Band

About a month ago, I stood at the door to Henry's room as I'm occasionally inclined to do. It was a bright day, but the windows were dirty, so very dirty. Washing second floor windows hasn't been on our to-do list for a long time.

I got a bucket and soap, took the screens out and for the first time since Henry died, went into his room to 'do' something. I washed his windows and began talking to him. It felt good. I cried. It took me about 15 minutes, but they were now crystal clear and light poured into his room. It was so relieving.

It felt good to be close to him and I didn't want the feeling to go away. Looking back on what I did next makes me think of a time before cancer in which I would have thought the subject didn't have a good grip on reality.

I got into the car and drove to the craft store to find a wooden model, the kind we assemble together and then paint. I walked through the store looking, they'd moved them since last I'd been - or maybe I'd forgotten where they were kept. I found one and paid.

What would I have done next if Henry were here with me? I went to Chick-fil-a for lunch, ordered for me - and for him. Just the same way he always liked it.

I came home with the meal and set it up, cut up the chicken, and put ketchup on it. I dug out one of his old DVD's, Max and Ruby and put it on. I sat and ate. Afterwards I cleaned up and went to his room, laid on the floor next to his bed like I so often did at his naps and slept.

Tara asked me if it helped. It did. It really did.

I woke up today, knowing that in a few hours it would be exactly 1 year since Henry died. I remember all the details, how we slept on either side of him through the night, occasionally waking and looking at each other knowingly over him, the white Christmas lights illuminating glow from the mantle.

I remember waking early that day, unable to sleep any longer and sitting, waiting, breathing deeply. I remember Anna and Sophie hovering around him that morning. I remember taking photos of his hands, his feet, his hair, ears. I remember sitting watching the blood drain from his face and his gasps at the end.

I remember washing him, dressing him and carrying him to the door. I remember saying good bye and thanking him for letting me be his daddy. I remember them covering his face. I remember the last glimpse of the car taking him away down our street. I remember feeling empty.

We miss you Henry and we love you.

How does one commemorate the loss of a child?


Anonymous said...

Thinking of you today.. wish we were there to give all of you great big hugs..

Lori, Fred & Jack..

Anonymous said...

Bryan, Tara, Anna and Sophie:
Thinking of you on this day.

Fred, Lori and Jack

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you, your family, and most of all Henry today. Wish I had words of wisdom for you.

Cindy said...

Bryan & family,
I can't imagine what a difficult day today must be. I pray for your family often and will especially be thinking of you today. I hope the light will continue to pour in as you mentioned in your post. It made me think of something a friend used to say of those people we meet in life who are one of a kind. Henry is a bright light. His glow will always be felt by many…such an incredible little boy.


Katie said...

I am thinking of your family today. Thank you for sharing Henry with us.

Katie Smith

Anonymous said...

I think of your family all of the time. The pain you have endured and so eloquently put into words helps me to keep our struggles with Jack, and life, in perspective. Even after all of this time it is unimaginable to me what all of your are going through. You have been on my mind even more lately as Henry's anniversary was coming closer. Please know there are still so many people praying for peace, whatever that means in this situation, for all of you.


Michelle said...

I don't know, but you commemorated him just beautifully. I have thought of you all and prayed for you in these few days leading up to what I knew would be difficult. I have wondered what I would read here today. Your thoughts and actions are beautiful, and I thank you for sharing once again what is, I'm sure, so difficult to put in words. Henry is still in the hearts and thoughts of so many who never even knew him. What an impact one life can have!! God bless you and your family today.

Michelle in VT

Anonymous said...

Its been a while since I read your blog. But I remembered today. I am so thankful that you and Tara allowed me into little Henrys life. He really touched me. I loved him as if he were one of my family members. I am very thankful that I had the chance to see him the day before...even though it was very hard to do so. I hope that today isn't as painful. I hope today that you all find some wonderful, happy memories. Rest in peace little H.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you, Tara, Anna, and Sophie.

Love, Nancy in NC

Anonymous said...

Keeping you all in my thoughts & prayers, especially today.

Sue B in Pittsburgh

rlbates said...

I think of him and all of you often.

Anonymous said...

Love to all of your family.
Henry, we miss you
the krause house

Mendie said...

Our thoughts are with you, especially today! May you find comfort in your memories.

Mendie said...

Thinking of you!

Ms. Julie (The Little Gym)

Robyn Coccia said...

We are thinking of you and your family on this very sad day. You are always in our hearts and in our prayers!
Lots of Love and Hugs!
Robyn & Dean

Kathy said...

My 4-year old niece died from her brain tumor on Feb. 15 1996, a little after 11 am.

We do different things to commemorate her. We visit the tree we planted, sit on her memorial bench, go on long walks, do stuff that she liked to do, cry and remember. The activities vary from year but the remembering is the thing.

The funny thing is that my son, diagnosed with his brain tumor 7 1/2 years later, has a followup MRI schedule that requires him to have an MRI near her birthday.

Last year we flew to Memphis on the anniversary date of her death.

Another year his MRI was scheduled on the day, I tried to convince myself that it was OK, but at the last minute I called St. Jude and braved the unhappy woman at the travel office (they don't like very-last-minute stuff like this) and rescheduled everything, the trip, the lodging, and the MRI slot.

My husband thought I should have gone ahead but that was just too much bad juju for me.

My sister-in-law, her mother, had started a new job 2 years ago and no one there knew about her daughter.

She brought in photos and put them on her desk without saying anything, but people asked and she told them.

Sending healing thoughts and good energy your way (interspersed with prayer, but that's just my way).

A Doc 2 Be said...

Thinking of you and your family.

Many virtual hugs.

Steph said...

I was thinking of you and Henry today.

Cathy said...

I think of you so many times. Henry is never far from my mind. I hope there is peace for your family in the coming year.