There’s so much to say recently. I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been a wreck since Andrew died almost 4 years ago, then Covid bright so much sorrow and loss, and now the war in Ukraine is opening up so many raw wounds in my broken heart. This is a multi-part post, so I’ll start from where I’m sitting tonight and go from there. Watching Dear Lin Manuel Miranda on Apple TV. The letter that brought me to my knees was written by a young girl in California who was inspired by Lin, and there came a part where she shared how proud her mom and dad were to see her perform and watching the emotion on the screen was too much and I just started bawling. Just like that. Instantly bawling, where a second earlier, I wasn’t even in the ballpark of possibly needing to sniffle back a year. Seeing this moment took me instantly to that place where I know I’ll never experience that with my Andrew. That touching moment makes my heart swell with both happiness and grief. I cannot explain this feeling, and I don’t know if anyone else feels this way. My happiness for that young girl who knows the pride her parents feel for her and my grief for my Andrew not being here to see how proud I am of him.
Did he know how much I loved him? Did he really and truly know? I believe he did but I would love nothing more than to hold him again and tell him. My Andrew-baby.
I miss you, Andrew. I see you everywhere. I see you here with me and I see you with your brother. I hear you in that Seminole Wind. My first baby. *My second momma*
I miss you every day, Andrew. Every minute of every day. I miss you in my sleep. I want to hear your voice in real time and I can’t. I am trying to learn to live with that but some days are ugly and I’m not sure if I’m recently sadder or if this is something else altogether. I don’t cry that much anymore and I think to myself “Well, that’s it. I’ve run out of tears” but then suddenly I start crying and when I do it’s a surprise reaction. Like “Oh, tears! There you are” and I’m not sure what that is. I think about you all the time but I don’t talk out loud about you all the time. Nobody wants to hear about anyone else’s children all the time wether they’re dead or alive and I get that. So I’m in this place where I know you’re not physically here with us but I also know you’re always with me and you’re not gone. I desperately want you to be here “experiencing” these moments of life we all cling on to here in the physical world but I know you can’t and never will again so I find myself living between a laugh and a tear.
I know it sounds crazy just the way that we live Between a laugh and a tear Smile in the mirror as you walk by Between a laugh and a tear And that’s as good as it can get for us And there ain’t no reason to stop tryin’
I see you in the spaces in between every little thing around me and I wonder if you see me.
I hear your laugh and I miss you calling me and saying “Hey momma…” You wouldn’t remember the time I took you to the strawberry patch at Butler’s when you were about a year old. You sat with Papi and ate strawberries straight from the plant and I can’t stop seeing your sweet strawberry covered face. Your tender eyes would always find mine and there was a sense of relief when you realized I was “there”. The agony of waiting to feel that again with you is maddening some days and recently, I am struggling with that quite a bit.
Alec’s friend , Andrew (how crazy is that?!), got married yesterday and Alec was in the wedding. Jennifer said that was her first wedding she’d ever been to and I thought “wow….really?!” and then realized you never got to go to one. Because you died when you were just 22 tender years old. How could you have gone to a wedding at that time and now here we are in the place where Alec is going to weddings and you are not and most of the time I don’t give a fuck but then I start crying and that’s how we end up living between a laugh and a tear. I want to run and find you and tell you to just come on home.
I sincerely hope I don’t live to be 95 but I probably will and I’ll be in some memory care somewhere and no one will come visit me except your memory and I can’t figure out what the fuck I did wrong to end up in this fucking place for so damn long. I want to go to the spaces in between things some days and just stay there.
Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and 22 more years will have passed. I see you, Andrew-Baby. Do you see me?
Will I ever feel any different on this somber and devastating anniversary?
20 Years ago we lived in Maryland. September 11 started off, as any other day did, with us waking up around 6 AM and getting the day going with our regular routines. Andrew was 5 and Alec 3. At this age running around, laughing and playing outside were their favorite “routines”. Andrew was in PM Kindergarten so that meant we had all morning to play around then get some lunch before heading up to school. Everything was normal. At around 8 AM we took our dog, Cooper, for a walk around the neighborhood and the only thing I actually remember from that walk is that the sky was the most perfect blue and there was not a single cloud to be seen as far as the eye could see. It truly was a stunning September morning.
Back inside, I had the today show on. Matt and Katie were on and I don’t even remember what they were talking about until I heard them say that one of the twin towers had some type of explosion and possibly an airplane accidentally flew into it. I came over to watch and I remember thinking “is this really happening or is this a clip from an upcoming movie?” It was not making any sense that a plane would accidentally fly into a gigantic building when suddenly the second plane hit. I immediately called my dad and told him to bring my grandmother over and that they should plan to stay here for a while if not overnight. I immediately felt that if this was possibly the beginning of a war in the US and I was not going to be separated from the people I love most. I started calling my friends to check in on everyone and our phone was ringing off the hook as well. I instantly decided that Andrew was not going to school today. Luckily, they called and school had been cancelled and kids were going home early. The world changed forever that day.
Here is the beauty of having young kids around during a tragedy: They don’t give you much time to wallow in fear, sadness, uncertainty etc… Kids need to keep going. Their innocence protects them and the need for the basics doesn’t stop because there is an emergency. Don’t get me wrong, they knew something was wrong. Andrew asked a lot of questions and the answers were not easy to find. What do you say? What don’t you say? The meandering is tricky. You know they need some level of understanding because they sense that things are off and lying doesn’t do anyone any good.
We spent that day huddled up at home playing with Cooper out on the deck, playing indoors, making meals and talking. We were together.
We were together.
(Update. As I wrote this yesterday I had to stop. My grief was overwhelming and I couldn’t write or do much of anything else.) I took my paddleboard and paddled out to Sarasota Bay and watched. I watched birds eating, fish eating, people going out on their boats, some were fishing other people paddleboarding or kayaking. There weren’t a lot of people out and about. There were no “party” boats. It was overcast and quiet. I came home and don’t remember much of the rest of the day. I didn’t watch the news or look on social media. Everything is different now. People I used to be close with I no longer speak to and some I didn’t feel close to for a long time I’m close with again. Tragedies change people. After 9/11 the world changed. I still believe that the tragedy of 9/11 has been used to change the hearts of many Americans. The angry and fearful people, the insecure people, the ignorant people and others have been used by those who stand to make a lot of money by creating conflict. Too many people have been misinformed and manipulated to “choose one side” and not to deviate from that side no matter what. Twenty years later we seem to be more divided than ever and all I can do is pay attention to my community and try to do a little bit of good every day and help where I can because I believe that it’s a lot of the little things we do that add up to gigantic things that make real and lasting impacts but that’s a story for another day.
9/11 is a National Day of Reflection (IMO). It is a somber day and I spend it quietly now. Remembering when “we were together”. I miss my innocence. On 9/11 it’s compounded. Grief never goes away. Whenever anyone says to you to “get over it” with regards to grieving just ask them if they will ever forget 9/11. Who has “gotten over” that day?
I miss you, Andrew. We were together. not just on 9/11. Always. I thought of what you and Alec would have done if the three of us were together and I din’t have to think long to know. So I went out and did what we would have done if we were all together: I picked up a bunch of trash from the Bay and Rick tried to help a bird out of a jam. He almost got close enough to grab him. He had a fishing hook stuck on the back of his head but it wasn’t in deep and didn’t impede his ability to fly or eat so when he flew away we didn’t worry too much. We just know that it should be removed but trying to catch a wild bird is not easy. When they fly off you just have to let them go and accept that you can’t fix everything. Try anyway.
I remember you and how you cared so much about people, animals and our earth and you felt bad about mistreating things so even though you weren’t perfect you tried to make things better and you weren’t always succesful but you wouldn’t give up. Ever. You were EXTRA and knowing you could fail, you tried anyway. We all should.
I was just getting my second cup of coffee. Rick used the spoon for his tea so it had a little honey on it. I picked it up and felt my fingers were sticky.
Just like that. Bam!
I see Andrew about 5 years old running into the kitchen. I see him about 10 years old running into the kitchen. I see him about 18 years old walking into the kitchen. “Mom, can you make me some French toast please?”
Just like that. I find myself in a puddle of tears again. Out of nowhere. Honey on a spoon and there I go.
I miss you, Andrew. I loved making you French toast.
My God. 3 years, 1 month and 16 days have passed. I still can’t believe it.
I think it’s because I was watching this movie called “Endings, Beginnings” and although I didn’t watch the whole thing because I don’t even know why exactly but it freaked me out a little bit emotionally I guess. I saw myself in the main character at times when I was that age and something about her physically reminded me of your Katie and although the story line really had nothing in common with anything we went through as a family I just felt like this movie kept talking to me and it was talking to me about you. I don’t know. I’m crazy. I know all of this sounds crazy but what exactly isn’t crazy? I would like someone to prove that to me and don’t say “Math” because math is crazy.
Anyhow, I fell asleep wondering, yet again, would you have turned the corner if you had lived just one or two more years? Would you have. Because when I was 22 I was not ready to turn the corner and I did plenty of ridiculous and thoughtless things and I, too, was a ‘shoot from the hip’ kind of person and maybe you got that from me. I don’t know but i wonder. Would you have turned the corner and not done stupid shit when you started to “have fun” with friends? I ask but honestly It doesn’t matter. Nothing really matters anymore. Just keep a little soul ’cause nothing really matters anymore. Honey, keep a little soul…it doesn’t matter. Does it.
I fell asleep reminding myself that you are here. You are in the spaces in between what I can see and I talk to you all the time and when I’m awake talking to you I can imagine what you would respond but when you visit me in my dreams things are different. Is it me imagining what you would say or is it you? Or is it both at the same time because are we ever really separated. Me, you, Alec. Are we? I don’t think so but I’m crazy so there’s that.
You were about 12 in my dream. You were running around outside. Maybe you were about 10. You were really happy with your hair long and moppy the way you had it in middle school. You were sweaty when you came inside and we were talking but I don’t remember what we were talking about. I remember your smiling face and I could smell you and feel that dampness of sweat on your face. At some point you got serious and I saw that look in your eye where the gentleness of your smile ran away. You were serious. And then it’s over. My eyes are open. Like a pan across the face.
I wake up in tears every time you visit in my dreams because I can smell you were there and I miss that. What I wouldn’t give. NO. What an amazing gift I was given. I got to watch you grow. You loved so intensely. You still do. I saw you so clearly in my dream and I could hear your voice saying “Mom” again and I could smell your sweaty skin and you were there with me. In the spaces in between the things I can see. And I could feel you right there. With me.
You are my first baby. My Andrew-baby. *You’re my second Mama. My Mama*
I remember reading years ago in our local newspaper about an incident that happened in our community in which an infant died and the young father ended up in prison for his baby’s death. All of it just broke my heart . It was such a sad and troubling event that I made sure to speak about it with my boys. I had no clue my boys would even know the young man involved but, as it turns out, they did because they had all gone to the same high school together. I remember how Andrew rushed home after I mentioned reading about it and expressed my concern and worry. He had already known and tried to explain the circumstances as best as he could without passing judgement and imploring me to try to reserve any negative judgement because as he said “Mom. Don’t. We don’t know what really happened and right now two families are hurting enough. We should find a way to be helpful not hurtful.” He was correct. Two families are hurting enough. Yes. Unimaginable pain. Be kind with your words. I remember how Andrew had discussed what he knew about the young man and insisted that we not hold judgement without knowing the true character of this, or any, person. Impossible to disagree with that point. I love him for being that way. He is always that way. Andrew’s soul is still that way and I can feel him around me reminding me to look beyond what I can see. I try. He knew, as we all did, that the young man was going to go to prison and that two families were hurting enough. It truly was a sad time in our home.
Years passed. Life happened. We moved. Andrew died.
I died a lot with him. Those first 8 to 12 months after he died were simply endless, joyless, painful, numb, dark and lonely days. A mother who has known the joy of the birth of a child and has experienced the tenderness of those first tears, the smell of their newborn skin, putting on their little tiny clothes and smelling the baby shampoo and talc on their soft warm skin should never have to be torn to shreds over the memory of how precious that time was. Most mothers may have those memories as building components to their children’s future and see hope and promise in them and that’s the way it should be but to be a mother and be torn to shreds by those memories knowing that those hopes and promises will never be is unnatural. It doesn’t matter at what age your child dies. It’s the same. It’s not supposed to be that way. It’s unnatural and cruel and it shreds your soul forever. Yet somehow, in a twisted game of confusion and despair, life does go on after your child dies. We keep breathing, the days pass and at first we can’t breathe and the tears are as heavy as the world’s oceans with waves of despair crashing on you relentlessly and seemingly without end. They carry a senseless tide with them as well which at first is maddening and you feel like you would rather die than live like a shipwrecked adventurer who was left to survive in the ocean with nothing but a teaspoon in your hand. Nothing makes sense at first. But as the days and months pass the Mad Hatter ocean begins to calm down and the tide of tears subsides a tiny bit. Months pass and somehow, if we allow the universe to speak to us and try to understand it’s message, we begin to try and find purpose again and eventually the days begin to shine a little light on our faces and then one day there it is: we crack a little smile as Hope sneaks her way in to save you .
Andrew was 22 when he died. He was a young adult living his young adult life and although I have always been very close with both Andrew and Alec I do not pretend to know every little detail of their daily lives and that is the way it should be.
Things weren’t always like that however. I fondly remember going through every little corner and crevice of my boy’s rooms up until they were about 13. Putting clothes away, straightening up dressers, closets and cleaning under the beds and feeling angry and amused simultaneously when I would find GoGurt wrappers or an empty packet of CheezIts from days ago and countless other surprise science experiments. But as kids grow they begin to take on a life of their own and you give them the space they need to spread their wings with the hope that maybe one or two of the pep talks you’ve given them throughout the years has settled in their souls and will help them achieve a bright and purposeful future. I’d tell them things like “Happiness comes from within and behaving kindly towards others is the seed of the happiness plant that we call a heart. Bitterness works the same way. Your actions determine which one will grow. You can choose to grow a beautiful tree which keeps producing endless fruit or a thorny bush with nothing but falling leaves year after year. It’s all up to us and our choices.” hoping that my words and actions would be followed by kind actions on their part and I would see two beautiful and strong trees producing endless fruit well into my old age. By the ages of 22 and 20 they were both starting to look like 2 beautiful and strong trees.
And then there’s life and death. You don’t plan for your children to die before you. Why would you? It’s unthinkable. It’s unnatural. It’s insane. You do not go there. Ever. There is absolutely no sane or logical reason to be prepared for the part of having to go through your child’s things after they die and how this part, of all the parts, is the time and place where your soul is shattered beyond repair. It is, by far, the worst part. It’s finding the old movie stubs, the lists of things to do that now will never get done, the parking tickets you paid and were upset about and now you’re ready to pay for tickets every day without complaint if you could just have him back. It’s the card you sent him years ago that he still carries in his backpack everywhere he goes because it meant everything to him and you didn’t know until that very second. It’s the socks that are mismatched but clean and put away that will not be worn again and it’s their scent on everything they own. Their scent is on everything and the desire to attach that to their bodies knowing you never will again is what shatters you. Going through all the things that defined him as a physical being here on earth is, by far, the hardest thing to do. It took me days to go through his things. Endless, sorrowful and soul shattering days.
I remember going through his desk when I found some letters from this young man who by now had been in prison for a number of years. At the time I was too shattered to even think about that for too long but I remember crying because I knew when I saw them that these letters were part of the fruit from Andrew’s tree and I had enough sense to put them in the “must keep section” of his belongings. I had no idea that Andrew was regularly writing to this young man in prison but I knew how special that was and I cried for a long time about it.
But then the ocean of grief took hold of me and I don’t remember much of what happened the following year.
I guess it did take about a year for me to get back to some of the boxes I had marked “important: keep” and when I did, I found the letters. I cried and cried again. I thought about all that had happened years ago and Andrew’s sincere concern for this young man. His care was so sincere. His sadness so thick. I wanted to reach out to this young man to let him know that he meant a lot to Andrew. I needed to let him know how important it was to Andrew to stay in touch with him. I wrote him a letter letting him know that as Andrew’s mom, knowing how my son felt about him and knowing how important these types of things were to my son, I will be here for him as well should he ever want to correspond. And then I waited. And he wrote back. And the tree is growing.
I’ve bought a book of stamps.
I can hear Andrew saying, “Mama! You’re the mama.” and he’d pat my head the way he always did followed by his goofy laugh.
Oh, Andrew…my first baby “Oh, mama my second mama” …and we’d both laugh.
I’ve been dying recently but not like 6 months ago or even close to the way I died 2 years ago on May 25th but I’m dying recently in a bad way. Last year on May 25th I wanted to scream like I normally do and I did scream like I normally do but I knew that wouldn’t be enough because it does nothing but hurt my throat. Not only is my heart ripped into shreds but now my throat hurts too and somehow, I can’t stop screaming even though I know it’s useless. It doesn’t bring you back. Nothing does and every day I know this and I die in that thought every day. I’ve been dying recently because the 25th is upon me again and it seems like you died yesterday but also 1,000 years ago. It shouldn’t matter that it’s the 25th of May. I mean what the hell is that but a number on a calendar that humans invented to secure a time in space but honestly it’s nothing and it’s everything. I think only a mother who has lost a child can truly comprehend the fact that time is a myth. It’s forever all the time. I loved you and Alec before I was even born so I know I will love you both long after I die because we know the truth. But the 25th is almost here and I find it impossible to be still on that day and this bothers me because every day is November 6 or November 28 and every day is May 25. Everything I feel is wrapped up in those 3 dates but I feel the love and the sorrow the same every day and I miss you. I’m dying recently. I think it’s worse this year but outwardly it doesn’t seem to be because I’ve gotten so good at hiding my daily dying.
How could I not be good at hiding it. I’ve been dying every day since my mom died in 1971 and I was just 3 and a half. That picture of us is the last family picture taken of us and your uncle Hugo is in it but he’s the photographer so we actually are getting a glimpse of how he sees things so in essence we are Hugo in the picture. Trippy isn’t it. I wonder if it was 3:33 when this picture was taken or maybe my mom died at 3:33 AM. I don’t know but I do know that it’s her who wakes me up at 3:33 in the morning and she has been doing that as long as I can remember and I know it’s her. I feel her there even though I don’t remember what she felt like but it’s her. I know she can feel me dying now like never before and last night must have been really bad because this morning out of a deep deep sleep I sat straight up at 3:33 and I was clear headed looking at the clock because I know that feeling when she’s there and sure enough it’s 3:33 again. I’m not saying this lightly. I know it. I know why she was there too. I’ve been struggling about where I will spend the day on the 25th because part of me wants to be in bed all day and not get up once and I just don’t know if I can find the strength to get up and do what I know I’m supposed to do. At 3:33 AM today I knew exactly what the message was. I saw water and I knew.
That picture was taken at the beach in Venezuela when we lived there for a few years. Papi would take us to the beach on the weekends and I know it was the happiest times in our lives because I remember snippets but this picture tells the story. Papi smiling like that. My mom laughing like that. Gabriel and his joking around with that million dollar smile. Juan and Santi all serious as usual and there I am analyzing. Calculating the looks on their faces and taking it all in. Near the water where I’ve always felt like that is home. I still feel the same way and I know Andrew felt the same way about the water too. Maybe the way I am looking at my mom and dad was foreshadowing of something I already knew was coming so I took it all in as much as I could. Maybe. I don’t know for sure but I know Andrew was the same. Took everything in. Everything. Maybe he knew. Maybe we both have that fire in our hearts.
Last year on the 25th I took us to the water. To feel closer to home. To be where you loved to be. To honor you. But this year has been beyond complicated with the Covid pandemic and everyone has gone crazy so my grief is now compounded with additional emotions of uncertainty and disbelief that people can’t see how silly they are worrying about who’s fault this is and upset about wearing masks. People don’t get it. We are being handed an opportunity to love deeper and instead many are worrying about “rights”. I don’t have room for anymore pain. I’m dying recently. There’s something in my heart and it feels like fire. There is a yearning in the water and it feels like home. Take me down, take me down to the water.
That’s where I’ll be with you Andrew. My first baby. *My second mama* (pats my head the way he used to)
You were ready for Covid-19, Andrew. Of course you were. I know it. Alec knows it. Everybody who knew you knows it. Hardest thing during this pandemic is the fact that you’re not here to make sure we are all going to be ok. So strange. To want you here for a pandemic that nobody wants to have around. It’s just no fun without you. Even being worried is no fun without you. So crazy to think that I miss you during such a crisis that I wouldn’t want you to go through! It is insanity that I feel this way and I know it but no one is sane right now anyhow so what now. What the actual fuck now.
Katie texted and said she went into the attic at the condo to look for a table or something and saw some heavy duty plastic containers up there so she looked inside. She said there was food, water, some pills in packets the blankets and other stuff. She said she knew right away they were yours. Your family survival kits. Each person had enough for weeks of survival. I forgot to look in the attic before we left the condo. I honestly thought the boxes were still in Maryland but then I kept thinking that you had them for the hurricane down here in ’17 and I’m all mixed up.
I have no joy right now. Of course I don’t. Duh. I can’t paint my rocks these days. I can’t write these days. I can’t sleep these days. I can’t move these days. I’m exhausted. I can’t sleep and I am not awake. Alec misses you and it’s coming out as anger and rejection. He rejects everything and I don’t know if it will get better. I have no clue about anything right now and I am pretty sure I never did and I don’t believe I ever will. Whatever.
You can prepare for a catastrophic event. You can never prepare for the death of your child. I can’t sleep anymore. I see you everywhere, Andrew. I just miss you and your sense of wonder. Your laugh. Your “mom. YOLO”. I can’t sleep anymore. I’m not YOLOing right now. At all.
I don’t know for sure but I think I’m supposed to go pick up your boxes. Maybe there’s something there we need. Maybe there will be a reason to smile in there. Maybe there will be a good ole Andrew prank in there. There may be a little YOLOing in there that I need to see. Maybe.
It’s just one of those weeks I guess. I got nothing but grief right now.
“It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday And the manager gives me a smile ‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been comin’ to see To forget about life for a while And the piano, it sounds like a carnival And the microphone smells like a beer And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar And say, “Man, what are you doin’ here?”
~ Billy Joel
There are no coincidences. Ever.
How did Nate, a guy who I had never previously met and had only known Andrew for a short while before he died, know that the Piano Man was the perfect song for the video he made for Andrew’s celebration of life? He didn’t. He didn’t know how that song was interwoven into the fabric of my life since high school and how I had told my boys about the way it changed my life because my 11th grade english teacher used it in our class to teach us about similies, hyperboles and metaphors but what I got out of it was that life can be interpreted beautifully through lyrics and music. Nate knew nothing of this. He felt it. Because the universe leaves nothing up to a mere coincidence. Not one single damn thing. Not birth. Not death. Not a second of the journey in between.
I’ll admit it. At first when I heard the song choice Nate had made for Andrew’s video I was upset. Mad upset. Not sad upset. Why The Piano Man, Nate?! I put the thought away. I couldn’t handle the reality of it just yet. I spent the next year and a half avoiding the thought, emotions, message, everything…and every time I heard it come on the radio…switch. Immediately. Nope. Not yet. I’ll let you know when I’m ready.
Here’s the deal. It took me a year and a half from the day Andrew died to admit that, yes, yup…Andrew was the Piano Man. It’s true.
I miss you, Andrew. The day you were born my hospital room filled up with people. All your aunts and uncles, cousins, your grandparents, great-grandmother, my friends and it seems as though you were the talk of the floor because random nurses would come in to “see this baby we keep hearing about!”.
Looking back, that was your spirit. You attracted and welcomed everyone into your life regardless of anything that others may have perceived as “unsavory” or “negative”. It was incredible and I’m sure frustrating to your brother, Alec. Don’t get me wrong, Alec is an introvert by nature so it’s not the attention you got that frustrated him. He was frustrated by your nonstop talking and activity level! But Alec couldn’t be without you and he really did become the voice to so much of your joking around that you two became quite the pair. You got Andrew AND Alec. Always. It worked out beautifully. What a pair. What a blast.
As you got older and the two of you went separate ways for your studies I saw it even clearer. You would come home from any class you took or job you had and you would tell me stories of the people you met or have become friends with. You never judged. You were truthful but without judgement. You always found a way to see the good in others. It was you they were coming to see. It was you.
Did I ever tell you about “foreshadowing”? I learned about that in college in a film class. I probably did tell you. Foreshadowing is a technique used in movies where the director gives you a clue in the beginning, or a chapter, of the film as to what will happen but it’s not meant to be understood. It’s meant to create an expectation and in the end, as you look back on the movie, you will be able to say “oh yeah! I get it”.
Foreshadowing is not just a thing used in films. It’s everywhere and the universe always prepares us for the ending. We just don’t know it until later.
I heard the Piano Man in 11th grade. That song touched me in ways I’ve never been able to express to anyone properly. It told me everything about you. I just didn’t know it was going to be you. Oh Andrew…it was you.
“Son, can you play me a memory I’m not really sure how it goes But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete When I wore a younger man’s clothes”
I found Nate’s number the other day and finally asked him why he chose the Piano Man. This was part of his response:
“When I listen to it –the piano man is this guy who is helping to bring some joy and happiness around to other people” he went on to say, “When I met Andrew even though it was only for a little bit he was super friendly and I kind of just got the feeling that he was someone who touched a lot of lives”
He did. He still does. I still get messages from his friends telling me how thinking about what Andrew would have said or let them talk about with him has helped them going through something difficult at the moment…and it’s him who they’re coming to see….still. And he’s there for them. As usual.
“Sing us a song, you’re the piano man Sing us a song tonight Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody And you’ve got us feelin’ alright”
I won’t change the station anymore when that song comes on. I’ll cry and let the emotions carry me towards you. My first baby. (My second mama)
“All the snow has turned into water Christmas days have come and gone Broken toys and faded colors Are all that’s left to linger on I hate graveyards and old pawn shops For they always bring me tears I can’t forgive the way they rob me Of my childhood souvenirs” ~ John Prine ‘Souvenirs’
Last night I heard the news of John Prine being hospitalized with this hideous virus and I have to admit that at first I almost felt nothing. Numb. After the death of my beautiful Andrew I’ve felt constant pain and sorrow and it seems as though I now have a delayed reaction to tragedy. I realize John has a chance at recovery and I pray to the universe for a balance to his health but the news of his hospitalization awoke in me another flood of emotions which started as numbness but then took over me like a tsunami and there I was. Sitting in a pool of tears. Spitting nails at life again knowing that this is just the way this cookie crumbles and it will continue to crumble and crumble. I’m not made for this world. I feel too much. No one should feel all of this.
I am sick of the suffering. I am sick of the sadness. I am tired. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. But of all the things I am so sick of, John Prine had the gift of being able to put my feelings into words and music and he did it long before I knew I was going to feel this way. I’m sick of having my childhood souvenirs being robbed. I want them back.
I want to watch my sons run into the house smelling of sweet summer sweat. I want to see Andrew throw his gear down and talk a mile a minute while Alec pushes him and tries to get a word in edgewise. I want to see them running down the street like bolts of lightning. I want to be there again. Oblivious, frustrated and happy. I want to be getting popsicles for the gang in the heat of the sun. I want to hear the yells and the thunder of their feet upstairs while I make pancakes. I want my souvenirs back. I want to hear the radio playing all my favorite songs as I sit there and dream of the days to come with all the innocence and hope I once had.
Just make me an angel who flies from this old heart ’cause to believe in this livin’ is just a hard way to go.
May the universe shine it’s magnificent light over us during this pandemic. May it shows us compassion and understanding. May it bring out the best in all of us, lead some to put pen to paper and blend the words with beautiful music and may that magic help us heal our broken hearts.
“Memories they can’t be boughten…they can’t be won at carnivals for free”