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?