Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dear Aidan (Can you hear me?)

Dear Aidan,

Can you hear me?


On your birthday tomorrow we will be grieving the loss of yet another milestone that we don’t get to experience with you. You would be seventeen. You would have begged us to let you get your driving permit soon after you turned sixteen, and would probably be ready to take the test to get your license if you didn’t have it already. You’d been looking forward to driving since you were twelve or thirteen and trouncing everyone in Mario Kart.


Your friends are juniors in high school. They’re starting to write college essays, go on college visits, and narrow down their post-high school plans. It’s wrong that you don’t get to have those experiences, too—although your dad and I always said that you’d probably end up living in our basement until you were 30. What I wouldn't give.


I recently opened the birthday present that Grandmom and Granddad sent for you for your 15th birthday. You never got to open it. We stashed it behind the chair in our bedroom, ready to pull it out on your birthday. It was a sweater. You would have politely thanked them for the sweater--and you would have probably enjoyed wearing it, too. You were often cold, and you liked wearing layers to keep your skinny self warm.

They had also sent a Beatles souvenir book from the Beatles store in London, which they had recently visited. You would have pored over it, reciting facts about the Fab Four to anyone within earshot, and jotting down catalog numbers for your Christmas wish list: an All You Need is Love watch, a 
collection of plush band members, or maybe 
the complete book of sheet music for guitar including all 203 Beatles songs.

Ah, darling. I miss you. I hate that I can't know what you would be becoming, and see what new interests you would be developing, and how you would be changing as you grew closer to becoming a man. I want to make new memories with you, finish watching K-Pax with you, plan your new session of home school classes.

I miss talking to you, seeing you, touching you. You would hug me, hug all of us, SO OFTEN, like you could not get enough physical contact from the people you loved. 

Often I stand next to the table that holds your pictures, your poem, cards, and mementos. I re-read your poem, I look at the photographs of you and C. Peevie and M. Peevie, and I shake my head because it's not right that you are not here. It’s not right that we’re celebrating our own birthdays and watching each holiday come and go and taking family vacations without you.

M. Peevie just turned fourteen. You were fourteen when you left us--not quite fifteen, really. It's weird and impossible to get my mind around the fact that she has reached the same age as you, and in a short year will surpass your chronological age. This aspect of losing you, 
like many others, is confusing and surreal.

I did not know the work of mourning
Is like carrying a bag of cement
Up a mountain at night

The mountaintop is not in sight
Because there is no mountaintop
Poor Sisyphus grief

I did not know I would struggle
Through a ragged underbrush
Without an upward path

...

Look closely and you will see
Almost everyone carrying bags
Of cement on their shoulders

That’s why it takes courage
To get out of bed in the morning
And climb into the day.
― Edward Hirsch, Gabriel: A Poem

You used to talk about death and dying fairly often. "I'm afraid to go to sleep in case I don't wake up," you'd tell me in the middle of the night, and my heart would hurt. "Would you still talk about me if I died?"

The answer is yes. Some days, still, you're all I can think about, talk about, care about. Until we meet in eternity, darling boy, I hold you in my heart.

Happy birthday.

Love,
Mom

4 comments:

jeanie said...

Thank you for these words. I read them with tears and a an ache in my gut. As I look at A Peevie's picture I wonder what he would look like now? How much would he have changed in these two years? I still can't believe he is gone, but I now have another reason to be anxious for heaven. Do you think he and Kay have found each other. It makes me happy to think about. I love you E. Peevie.

RevKel said...

💜

studioGypsy said...

i miss you aidan.. i love you and your beautiful family... xoxo

Karyn Collymore said...

I too think of him almost weekly. I thank him for the love he had in his smile. He was always my favorite, so much like my Alexz. I always thought he would have been just like my next child. I share your pain in missing him. Know you are never alone. He is here with us always.