Monday, July 14, 2003

Dear Henry:

Yesterday was a really full day. In the morning Joe and I went to the "Train Park" on Macomb Street. It was the first time I've been there since you died. I could see you climbing on all the equipment. I remember you running around on the field with all of your buddies. Those days after school let out and everyone went to the Train Park were the best. What I can't understand is how you died if you were so strong.

Here is a picture I took of the Macomb "Train" Park. If you look close you can see the train and the Cathedral, which is in the background.

At 11 am we had a big party. Jack was sad that we didn't have your transplant anniversary party last week so Mom whipped up a "Happy Summer" shindig. All of the cousins and a bunch of Jack's friends (and yours) came over for popcorn (we rented the machine from the Party Warehouse), cake and wild animals from the Catoctin Zoo. You'd think we had our fill with the possums, but no. We had a hedgehog, an Amazon parrot, an alligator, a bearded-dragon lizard, a chinchilla and a Burmese python. I am still very freaked out by the thought of anyone touching reptiles because the majority of them carry the salmonella bacteria.

My mind is still working like you are here and we need to protect you from infection. I wonder when I'll be able to relax about that. I am aware every time I share a drink or food with Joe or Jack. I cannot help but think about how we could not share the same glass or straw or anything with you. We didn't want to get you sick.

The party was a blast. Mom, of course, put together killer party bags. I told her she should start her own business, I bet one already exists, but Mom would be the best.

Later that day we brought Jack to Matthew's birthday party which was rock climbing. The indoor rock climbing "gym" was near the cemetery, so Mom and Joe and I came by to say hello to you. It was beautiful out. Strangely, it isn't very humid right now. It almost feels like summer in Minneapolis. We hung out with you for a while. The funny thing is that the cemetery is maybe the one place where we feel safe that Joe won't kill himself. Normally he tries his best to pull things down on him or jump off things or run into stuff. When we are out with you Joe has plenty of room to run around and not get hurt.

The Pokemon coin is still on your grave marker. I was glad about that. We tried to leave a stone but Joe picked it up and ran off. Silly kid. Such the little brother, right. When Mom put Joe back in the minivan I went back and placed the stone on your marker. I got on my knees and kissed the ground. The grass was very scratchy. Whenever you kissed me when I hadn't shaved you would say I was scratchy. Sorry about that.

It was super nice to see you. After we left your grave, Mom and I went and said hello to Grandma. On the way out we stopped and visited Allison Atlas. Her family helped us a lot when we were trying to find someone to donate new blood for you. Just like you, Allison died because they couldn't find anyone who was a close enough match. Mommy signed up to be a bone marrow donor when she heard that Allison needed new blood. That was 10 years ago. On Allison's grave it said, "Her courage changed the world." I hadn't cried up until then, but reading that on her headstone just got me going. It also said, "One Singular Sensation." That is a song from a Broadway musical that I am sure Allison must have really liked. It also describes her. I am glad we are putting, "The Boy Who Lived," on your headstone.

I love you sweet boy. Your courage also changed the world too.



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