Friday, April 24, 2009
I folded laundry today.
There was nothing of Michael's in the wash. Not a sock. No boxer briefs with clone troopers on them. No t-shirts. No pajamas.
It seems that life is moving forward. And I am not. I still expect Michael to come home. That this is not permanent. Mornings are difficult ... I wake up and my first thought is of Michael. Then I remember.
Today I am missing Michael's belly laugh. How he would throw his head back and laugh straight from the the top of his toes. Or when we would watch a suspenseful movie (like Star Wars, of course!), he would jump up and down and cheer the good guys on.
I miss our snuggle time. I miss our afternoon snack time. I miss the sound of his practicing his fluency paragraphs. I miss checking his spelling pre-test. I miss the sound of his playing with his army men. He was the best sound effect maker. I miss watching him sleep. I miss the way he said Mommy. I miss the action figures that he would stick in my purse just because he wanted them to go with me.
I love being Michael's mommy. I learned much from him in his short life. He taught me how to laugh. And how to love. He taught me about grace under pressure. He showed me what strength truly is. He showed me how to play. How to be creative. How to go with the flow. So many things.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I only remember bits and pieces of the visitation and memorial service from Monday and Tuesday. I hugged quite a few people. I heard many stories of how Michael touched lives. I thought I might record them here. so that I can remember.
- Tyler, a boy from Michael's school, and his mom approached me. She wanted Tyler to tell me what he had said about Michael. He looked at me and said that Michael was the only kid that never picked on him and was always nice to him. His mom told me that she told Tyler he didn't need to come that night. That it would be very sad. But he wanted to. Because "that's what friends do".
- Michael loved dancing. In PE class, for warm-ups, the kids got to perform a dance move that the rest of the class had to also do. Caroline, with her big brown eyes, wanted to show me his dance move from school that Thursday morning. She did it in the middle of the room. And it was Michael's typical booty shaking move. I hugged her and laughed with her and thanked her for showing me that.
- Getting to hug Michael's best friends Mallory and Greg and their parents. Those two were with him when he passed out at school and were the ones to alert the teacher. I was worried about them.
- Michael's very best friend from kindergarten and first grade, Tony, came over from Jacksonville. Michael would have loved seeing him. We still talked about him, especially at Christmas. We have an ornament with the two of them sitting on Santa's lap.
- The PE teachers wanted me to know that they would be dedicating the upcoming fourth and fifth grade Field Day to Michael. Because he loved to play and was such a good sport. (I'll add more about this in a separate post - we went to the Opening Ceremony on Friday morning, 4/17).
- Seeing Michael's favorite after school teacher, Mr. Alex. Michael decided that he was the "Real" Mr. Alex, and did everything that Mr. Alex did. We even made Michael his own business cards, just like Mr. Alex's. This was when Michael was in kindergarten and first grade. Mr. Alex shared some of his favorite memories of Michael. How much he enjoyed him. How whenever Michael might have gotten into trouble, Michael already had talked the teacher out of the trouble he might have gotten into. That's Michael ... always the negotiator.
I have so many other stories to tell. These were but a few from the visitation. I love that people were sharing their memories of my sweet boy. I want to hear them. All of them. I feel the need to collect as much information from others about him. I want to talk about him. And keep his memory alive.
It was just an ordinary day. A Thursday. In April.
Michael had put on some jeans and was putting on a blue t-shirt when I came to say goodbye. I reminded him to put on his Young Actor's outfit and he started to change clothes. I kissed him goodbye. Told him I loved him. Reminded him that he was walking home from school and that I would see him at 2:42. And left for work. A typical day.
I got the call that Michael had passed out at school and that I should come. I ran out of the office and to my car. Halfway to the school, I was told to go to the Emergency Room. I turned around and sped to the hospital. I made phone calls along the way.
Stu got there at the same time.
We waited. We didn't know any additional details. We had no idea. It was just an ordinary day.
The ambulance arrived. The driver got out of the ambulance. A water bottle fell out of the drivers seat onto the floor. He left it there. I asked him if this was Michael in the back. He didn't know his name. I asked if it was a 9 year old boy. He said yes. Are you his parents? Yes. Come with me, he said. I wanted to see Michael. I held back. They are still working on him. Let them do their jobs, he said. I followed.
It was just an ordinary day.
We were taken to the back hallway of the ER. Asked to sit. I couldn't. Stu couldn't. I had already pulled out the insurance cards, the card of Michael's cardiologist, the card identifying the device implanted into Michael's heart. I was ready. I wanted to find Michael. I was certain he was scared. I wanted to reassure him. Stu told me to go find him. I went. I was greeted by the Victim Advocate of the Sheriff's office. She escorted me back to the hallway.
The chaplain of the hospital was introduced to us. I asked him why he was there. In the movies, a chaplain's arrival was never a good thing.
We answered questions from doctors, and the sheriff's office. Stating the facts of Michael's medical history. Looking for hope in the doctor's faces. Trying to read between the lines of what was asked and what wasn't. Not knowing any details. Asking, pleading to be taken to Michael. I needed to be by his side. He needed his mommy. I needed him.
A doctor came out of the room where Michael was. He looked angry. That didn't occur to me until just now. and he told me the words that no mother should ever hear. We did everything we could ... but your son didn't make it.
I fell to my knees. I cried out loud. I asked to be taken to see my baby.
My whole world was taken away from me.
It was no ordinary day.