Friday, January 31, 2003

Dear Henry:

Mom and I went to the cemetery yesterday. It was snowing when we got there. As we pulled up there was a man locking the gate. Mom, and I love her for it, asked the man if he would open back up to let us in. He said he didn't need to. All we had to do was park outside the gate and walk around the wall. Basically, we can come visit any time of day or night.

Here is a picture of where you are buried and the tree next to you. You have shade from the sun and there are nice benches to sit on for people who come out. There were some flower stalks sticking out of the ground by your grave, so someone else has been out there. Mom thinks it might have been Debbie Blum. A marker at the grave says your name. We'll get you something fancier soon. I wonder what it will say. I want people to know right away that you are a kid.

There is a sculpture of Moses nearby. I don't know if I've mentioned this to you before, but I think you have a lot in common with Moses. You brought Amitai and others who will survive transplant (because of the work you and Mom and Mark Hughes did with PGD) to the promised land but you were unable to enter.

Hannah and Aunt Jen and Uncle Dan are in Washington this weekend because we are "unveiling" the fancy plaque on Grandma's grave. She had a marker like yours with her name. Then Pop Pop Teddy got something nicer, and there will be a ceremony tomorrow for everyone to see it. Here is a view from Grandma's grave to your grave. You are very close. It's nice for us; I hope it is nice for the two of you. I am so glad that you are together. Papa Sy's parent's, Nan and Pop are buried not too far away. Mom said you'd love them. There is a lot of family around. Just like when you were alive.

Visiting wasn't as sad as we thought it would be. It doesn't necessarily feel like you are there. I said to Mom that it is more a place where we can go and think about you. I get more sad and feel you more when I go to a place where I know you used to be, where you used to smile and laugh, like our house or school or even someplace like White Flint Mall. Do you remember when we went there to get you the tuxedo for Tim and Catherine's wedding? That was so much fun even though Jack didn't want one and was in a real bad mood. Then he was bummed out after seeing you all dressed up and he realized he didn't have one. He gets stubborn sometimes. Another fun memory of White Flint is KidZone. It used to be called DiscoveryZone. I dropped Zhenny and Joe off there the other day so they could get out of the house. They had so much fun that we decided to take him back today, Saturday, along with Hannah and Jack.

"Attention, attention I've got something to mention." That is what the guy is saying over the loudspeaker at KidZone. Mom went with Joe to Bloomingdales. They are going to buy Mom a winter coat for work and maybe a birthday present for Zhenny. The last time we were here must have been long ago. This place should be called GermZone. Even though you are gone I still cringe when I hear a kid cough or sneeze.

A few hours before we went to the cemetery I was driving home from the printers where Jeffrey, David and I are having the letterhead and business cards printed for The Jewish Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The printer was in Takoma Park and I was thinking about a bunch of different stuff on the ride home. One thing that crossed my mind was that we should get a dog. Jack and now Joe are big enough to enjoy a dog. I wish we could have gotten one when you were alive. As I was driving along Nebraska Avenue thinking about what kind of dog we might get, a woman ran off the sidewalk out into traffic and smashed into the minivan. To be honest I thought I had killed her. It was very upsetting. I didn't see her until it was too late. I saw her out of the side of my eye, there was a loud bang and she disappeared down onto the street. I slammed on the brakes and came around to see what I could do to help her. There were a lot of people who had run to help. She told me that her husband was a couple of blocks away and I ran as fast as I could to go find him. I remembered back to the day in August when I thought you were dying and I drove so fast to the hospital just to have a chance to say goodbye. I didn't want this woman to be in pain without her husband to comfort her, and I wanted her husband to have a chance to say goodbye if she was hurt really bad.

An ambulance came and they took a long look at her and nothing appeared to be broken or too serious. I was so relieved for her. She had a gash on her forehead, and her wrist looked banged up. Her husband, who I didn't find when I went to look for him but finally showed up, hugged her so tight when he saw her. The woman didn't want to go to the hospital in the ambulance.They were from Williamsburg, Virginia and wanted to wait until they got back home to go see a doctor. I told her that she needed to go before she headed home. How could she know if she was bleeding inside or had a concussion. I finally convinced them to go and they followed me to Georgetown Hospital. I left them at the Emergency Room. I asked if Dr. Foley was on duty and they said no. She was attending when Mom and the police rushed you to Georgetown on August 24th. She is the mommy of Helen, your friend from camp.

The woman who I hit called me yesterday to let me know she was alright. She told me that if she was going to get hit by a car she was glad that it was me. That was nice. I still see in my head the image of her smacking into the car. It was very scary. She crushed the side view mirror into little pieces. If things had happened a half a second sooner she would have been in front of the car instead of the side and she probably would have died. The strangest thing is that a policeman gave her a ticket for not crossing in the crosswalk.

I asked her why she bolted into the street without looking and whe told me she was running after a friend's dog, who got loose. Your brothers are going to have to wait awhile for that puppy.

I wish I had some good news to tell you, but the space shuttle crashed today. All of the astronauts died. Do you remember when we went to Kennedy Space Flight Center at Cape Canaveral. We went up in the space shuttle model. I remember that you got a nifty marble that had the earth on it. We also bought t-shirts that you and Jack wore a lot, and Jack got a great astronaut flight suit. Do you remember meeting astronaut, Cmdr. Jon McBride. He was pilot of Space Shuttle Challenger mission STS-41G which launched on Oct. 5, 1984 with the first crew of seven astronauts. The strange thing is that his wife, Sharon, is from Nacogdoches, Texas. That is the very place where the space shuttle disintegrated today when it reentered the earth's orbit. It is a very sad day for everyone, especially the moms and dads and husbands and wifes and kids of the astronauts who died. You might remember that in one of our science lessons where I would read to you from things I found in the newspaper how I told you how there is an astronaut from Israel. He died today.

Do you remember how you fell off a piece of the playground equipment at Cape Canaveral. You were upset and so were me and Mom. Your chin got the worst of it. You can see it in the photo. But from your smile it looks like you were okay. The cool thing is that Jack said this morning that even though the shuttle crashed he still wants to be an astronaut.

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