Aaron's Birthday - 2008
"And despite all the truth that's been thrown in my face
I just can't get you out of my mind
And I've got to begin again
Though I don't know how to start
Yes, I've got to begin again
And it's hard"
- Billy Joel
January 22. Aaron's birthday here again. At the very minute this post is dated, 8:23 pm, 21 years ago tonight, my oldest son came into the world. It's now been almost three years since he left that world again, three years since the last birthday he was allowed to celebrate. That year, that night, Aaron turned eighteen. We marvelled at how adult, how mature he had become. How many doors had now opened for him with that "coming of age"! Soon afterwards he received his first credit card, his selective service application, uncounted job offers and college applications. My little boy, all grown up, ready to start his new life. God help me, I really believed it.
Two years ago today, and again last year, I was able to pull myself together enough to share some tender and treasured memories of the Aaron that was. Please, dear ones, click those links, read those bittersweet posts again, relive those wonderful and painful recollections.
But tonight, my fingers tremble on the keyboard as I try to write. I feel such a desperate need to say something, anything, that would be profound, meaningful, or even just fitting. Some external words that express the inexpressible within. Yet my mind feels blank, and my emotions feel - numb.
Lately it's been harder and harder to see Aaron's face in my mind, to recall his voice, his manner of speech and inflection. The sharpness of my memories of Aaron is dulling with time. And yet, more and not less often lately, I experience the sudden feeling, the near-certainty that this horror never really happened, that I'll wake up tomorrow morning and Aaron will be back in his old room again. I'll hear him showering at 6:05 am like clockwork, getting ready for school. The reliable kid will be back, the boy who didn't miss a single day of high school for illness in four years. Nearly four years I mean, Heaven help me.
Nobody who hasn't experienced this, God forbid to infinity, can possibly understand what we go through every single day. Not our dearest friends, not our most intimate family, God bless them all. And please, please may this continue, may they never, ever "get it". For that, we go to the Chai Lifeline events, as we are doing again this weekend, to get a chance to be together with the other freaks - pardon me, bereaved parents.
Lately this blog has become a place for game playing. Mondays are musical and Thursdays trivial, and we all have a little fun together. In between, when I have time and presence of mind to work a little harder at it, I post divrei Torah, bon mots, my pointless points of view on sports, world events, politics, or life in general. I have no plans to stop these necessary and cherished diversions. Just a day or two from now, they will likely return.
But just for tonight, I'm dispensing with the games, letting the mask of normalcy, the one that all of us who have lost a child wear, slip just a little bit. Hope you can all deal. If not, the next blog is just a click away
God dammit, I miss that kid.