Sunday, April 5, 2009

The First Cut is the Deepest

Everyone tells me that the first time we hit events without him will be hard. I say it to my own patients, when they have suffered losses. It's true. Mother's day this year will suck. His birthday is in July, not so much looking forward to that either. Those I anticipate, though, I ready myself for.

The tough ones are the unexpected ones. The first trip to the grocery store after he passed was almost physically painful. God, we went through so many foods in the last 18 months. Ones he liked, ones he hated...the remains of all the things that he thought sounded good that turned out not to after we bought a case linger in the pantry.

Today was my first kids' first soccer game of the season. Henry practically grew up on the soccer field sidelines. I nursed him there when he was an infant. He all but learned to walk by putting balls in the goal while the kids were practicing on the other side. He was always on me, playing, asking for food, running on to the field.

But today he wasn't.

Last fall he joined the U-6 soccer team, wearing the number "3" proudly on his jersey. He was bald as a cueball. He was thin and frail, his balance poor enough that running on a choppy field with a bunch of 5 year olds was treacherous. He even still had his Hickman in. His first touch on the ball, first game of the season was an "assist": he kicked off, the next kid booted it into the goal. I wouldn't say that he enjoyed soccer (indeed, his relapse overtook him as the season progessed and he was unable to finish) but he clearly understood that soccer was what kids in our house did when they got big enough, and he was excited to have arrived.

He used to give the girls advice. "See, if you just run around behind the rest of the other kids you won't get pushed over." He said this in all seriousness.

Today, there was a sea of blue, red, green, white tshirts of all of the current U-6 teams, each and every one of them wearing the number "3". Our local YMCA did it to honor Henry, and they plan to retire the number officially after this season for the U-6 league. To say that we are touched is a bit of an understatement.

I don't know why I didn't expect today to be hard. An empty lap at soccer, dozens of kids his age, all wearing something to honor him...it's not rocket science that my emotions would be high. By the end of the game I was feeling somewhat settled, less raw. Hopefully next week will be easier, but my empty lap will still be empty.


20 comments:

Shosh said...

your posts are all beautiful and bring me to tears. Im so sorry for your loss.

...tom... said...

...

"...the remains of all the things that he thought sounded good that turned out not to after we bought a case linger in the pantry."

Think community food bank/pantry maybe..?? If you want/need them out ...yet used for the good of others.


"Today, there was a sea of blue, red, green, white tshirts of all of the current U-6 teams, each and every one of them wearing the number '3'. "

Wow. As a former youth league treasurer involved in paying for kids jerseys . . .that is no small honor/recognition.

Obviously Henry and his family mean a lot to people in the 'real world' also.


Wonderful post as always...


...tom...
.

OHN said...

That photo and the thought behind it....leaves me breathless. Those unexpected kicks to the gut have to be the worst.

Mama Mia said...

Wow. Again, all I have to offer is hugs. What a wonderful tribute to your special little boy.

socks said...

WOW - what a tribute! Your family and Henry's life have certainly touched the community profoundly. And the community continues to share and respect your grief - amazing.

Jes said...

What a beautiful way to commemorate his life. I'm so glad you shared this with us, and so sorry that there is no end to grief.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Smak, thx for sharing this amazing tribute to Henry and your family with your blog family. How beautiful.
k3p3

twinmom said...

I can only think that you were led to write a blog at a time in your life when you would need all the outlets you can get for this awful, horribly palpable pain. I was especially moved by your last topic (Moo). Your community is grieving with you, as are we in this virtual world. A great, big HUG to you, Dr. Smak.

Karen said...

How beautiful a tribute--and yet it can't fill your lap. This sucks, and there's nothing I can say to help.

A Doc 2 Be said...

I think of the humanity in these young children that will last, perhaps forever, due to Henry and his impact.

Amazing the impact one little man had on an entire community. A true testament to his family.

/hugs

rlbates said...

What a wonderful thing for his team to do!

I know it won't replace the "weight of him in your lap", but perhaps a knitting or quilting project will give some "weight" there.

BrooklynGirl said...

Unbelievably touching--both the doing and the sharing.

radioactive girl said...

What a wonderful tribute to your family. I can imagine and certainly understand getting very emotional over all of this. So many things to remind, so many things to miss. The lap part made me cry because I can imagine it so vividly.

I think because you are prepared for "event" days to be so difficult, other days that are just as eventful with no "day" attached to them can sneak up on you. I am thinking of you.

FrankandMary said...

As a food panty volunteer, donate it :-); he'd like that I'll bet.

I won't give an Dr Phil level analysis here, I'll just say your writing is beautiful. ~Mary

robin said...

I'm just so sorry. What a beautiful tribute, he clearly meant a lot to a lot of people. Thank you for sharing his life with us. My thoughts are with you.

Robin

Anonymous said...

Your post along with that photo...I'm in tears. Big hug and, again, I am so sorry.

Snickollet said...

What the team did totally made me cry. What a sweet, loving tribute.

Funny, in my e-mail to you I mentioned how annoying I find the unexpectedness of the grief process. Unexpected events get me all the time--no emotional preparation, a sudden blindsiding.

Sending you peace and strength.

Maria said...

I found your blog by chance, and have been up half the night reading most of it. I am so very sorry for what happened to your family. I will remember what you wrote about not having signed up for this, how it could be any one of us, any time. Thank you very much for sharing and for your honesty. Love, Maria

Sybil said...

What a grand tribute to a grand wee lad...The photograph of the little ones quite breaks my heart..I can't ever begin to think what it does to you.
Hugs and Love
sybil xx

Robyn R. said...

I just noticed this last weekend that my son's soccer number is 3. I thought of your Henry and wished you and your family peace and love in this sad time.