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Today in My History

2000: Dear Paul
2001:  Happy's Adventure
2002:  Tiptoe Thru the Tulips Again
2003:  Random Acts of Collaboration
2004:  Fey-lines
The Russians Have Landed
2006:  It's Good to Remember--Even the Bad Stuff
2007: 8 and 11
2008:  Some Internet-Related Stuff
2009:  Cantankerous Coochie Snorcher
2010:  What?  Me Worry?
2011:  Take a Walk

Bitter Hack
Updated: 4/17
"Million Dollar Quartet"

Books Read in 2012
 Updated: 4/18
"Driving Mr. Albert"

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Santa Barbara, April 2012

Video of the Week

Sedona, Arizona

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Airy Persiflage

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20 April 2012

Ironically, we are going to see a show called 13 this week.   I know almost nothing about it, except it sounds like a good companion for High School Musical, which is a good musical for younger people, but which I didn't like much.  Maybe 13 will be better.

But the number 13 has a deeper significance for me this year.   Today we are marking the 13th anniversary of Paul's death, the start of "memorial season," which ends next month on the 18th of May, the 16th anniversary of David's death.

I can't even relate to those numbers.  Sixteen years since we had that horrible telephone call in New York?  Thirteen years since that fateful night when the phone rang here at home at midnight and I answered it cheerily, thinking it was Paul--only to hear the voice of a police officer calling from his house to let me know that Paul was dead.

Each year the dates come along and I think I should say something or write something.  Some years I do, some years I don't.   Soon there will come a year when the guys will have been dead longer than they were alive and doesn't that boggle my mind.

I wrote this back in 2007, when I titled the day's entry "8 and 11".

"I guess you never really get over it, do you?" someone asked me recently.

It always seems such a strange comment to make.  Do you ever "get over" the death of a child ... or the loss of anybody you love?   But maybe if you have never experienced a painful death you don't understand that.   Or if you have you're hoping that maybe someone will tell you that you do, eventually, in time, "get over it."

The way I try to explain it is that you never "get over it," nor would you want to.  You loved a person.  To "get over it" seems to be minimizing the feelings you had for that person in life.

But the good news is that it does stop hurting most of the time.  Whatever the "it" is that you never get over gets absorbed into your system and it just becomes a part of the person that you become following the death.   The person(s) you loved are always there with you.  You never forget, but you don't cry forever.  You laugh again.  You have fun again.  You find meaning in life again.  But you never "forget."

That's something else that people tell you when they are trying to be helpful.  "You'll never forget him."  I accept that statement for how it was intended — as a comfort. But part of me has to snicker mentally ... like I could forget two pregnancies and two births and the life of two children who made it to adulthood.

Could I forget sticky kisses and story time and pictures made with colored pasta products?

Could I forget first steps, first days at school, first bikes, first performances, first cars, first jobs?

Could I forget diving and dancing and singing and acting and judo?

Could I forget Egg Nog Galas and "Deck the Halls"?

Could I forget delivering newspapers and making kites?

Could I forget silly haircuts and emotional breakdowns, and talks about love, life and everything else that stretched into long the night?

Could I forget watching babies become toddlers, then children, then young adults, and then adults.

Could I forget getting on the phone with a stranger, 3,000 miles away and telling her she could take the heart of our son and give it to someone else?

Could I forget running my hands through the hair of my son, laid out on a gurney, not breathing...or watching his wife holding his hand in disbelief.

No, I'll "never forget them." 

And on today I remember the day Paul died.  I remember the day all those kids died at Columbine and I think about the parents who are making burial plans for their children who lost their lives in another senseless tragedy in Virginia.

Those parents will never "get over it" and they will "never forget" the children they are about to bury.

But in time, if they are lucky, and if they have people around them who love them and support them, they may be able to smile again, to laugh again, to have fun again, and to be grateful, as I am, that they were able to watch their children grow into the adults that they were at the time of their deaths.

But, oh how I'd love another all-night discussion session with David or with Paul.

The video of the week is an excerpt from Paul's Sedona, Arizona.  The whole show is broken into many parts on YouTube.  This is one of the more fun sections.


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