Saturday, January 04, 2003

Dear Henry:

We saw your teachers when we went to celebrate Jack's birthday at school. Mrs. Berliant and Mrs. Newman and G'veret Epstein miss you so much. I think you were their favorite student. Most parents think this about their kids, that they're the most special and everything, but I think it is really the truth with you. I think you were the favorite patient, favorite student, favorite friend, favorite customer, favorite shopper, favorite everything. Believe it, Henry, believe it.

Meanwhile, Jack and I are in bed watching the "last cartoon." I'm sitting on my side, otherwise known as your side of the bed. Mom went out with Pamela (Jeffrey Goldberg's wife) tonight to have dinner and talk. I called it a playdate. Mom's friends -- when they listen and don't try to solve unsolvable problems (in a loving way) are really helping her through "this" whatever it is. I swear I hope you are on a cool playdate with some of the other really neat FA kids who died too young. Maybe Grandma is chaperoning. We went out with Uncle Poopy and Cristina last night for dinner. When you learned to call us on the cell phone, you'd always call us a ton of times when we went out. That was very sweet and smart. Uncle Bill called today to let us know he had strep throat while we were at dinner. I told him how we took Jack to the doctor this morning and he has strep throat too. Jack has a lot of trouble with doctors, as you know. He wouldn't let them swab his throat. I told him how you were swabbing yourself when we were with Dr. Van Burik in Minnesota. Remember how you did that. She was so impressed, and so was I. You named her baby fish "Chilly" when we were in her office. Jack was scared of the doctor. Mom thinks that he might be scared that if he is sick he could die like you did. She tried to calm him down, but it was hard. I basically had to do a full body slam and the nurse pinched his nose so he'd open his clamped mouth.

I drove down Canal Road yesterday and now whenever I drive on it -- which is a lot -- I can't help but think about the time this summer when you almost died. I drove 90 miles an hour down that road when Mom called me and told me that you were either dead or dying. I couldn't believe it. I needed to make sure that I got to the hospital in time to say goodbye to you. You recovered so fast that I knew you were indestructible and would live forever. Remember how I told you that you were now "Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived." Just like Harry, your mother's love saved you from death. How could anything have been more powerful than that love. I don't get it. It makes no sense. Unloved people try but aren't killing themselves by supersizing McDonalds, Marlboros and Michelobs and your health fails you. Help me understand that.

Yesterday I cried when I read the Adas Israel newsletter and they had your name with 2 or 4 others who died last month. Today I cried when I saw the JPDS weekly newsletter, Thursday Thoughts, the thing they'd send home in your folder for me and mom, and it had a little story right on the front page saying that you had died. There is something galvanizing about seeing it in print. Then mom showed me the Fanconi Anemia directory that came in the mail today and it had you listed as deceased. God they're fast. I told the pediatricians office today to take you off their computer as a patient. The woman asked me why and I said very impersonally that you were "deceased." That is a very cold and technical term that is the same as saying you died. The only people who I still think don't know are Max and Marsha. They closed the Ice Cream Parlor and took a month's vacation. I cry a little just imagining what it will be like to tell them Oh, how Max loved you. I looked at a lot of our videos of you and so many of them are at their ice cream parlor. There is a really good one when you rode your bike into the store and sat on it while you ate your ice cream. I am going to lobby hard for a Henry Flavor, it has to be sweet, delicious, healthy and covered in rainbow jimmies. I hope they're receptive. I know they'll be devastated when I tell them the news. Max so loved getting the recaps of your soccer victories.

I just saw your bike is in the garage. I am crying now thinking about how lonely it is without you atop. Papa Teddy bought one for you and one for Jack. You were doing so great. This would be the spring when you'd finally take off all of the training wheels. This is the summer where you'd finally swim well all by yourself. You just never had the time to master all of basics of boyhood. We were so close.

You know how lonely I am without you. I keep listening to this song called "Private Universe." I think you and I lived in one together. I love you. Our private universe is a lonely place without you.

Love, Love, Love, Love, Love, Love


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