Wednesday, June 29, 2005

This morning I walked with Jack to his bus for camp. He gets picked up in front of Stoddert. When we were standing there Jack asked me how long my job goes into the summer. He was thinking that my job is like school and it ends for the summer. I loved that question. I wish it did.

We are going to Philadelphia this weekend for a big rock concert. I have to be there for work, and Jack, Joe and Mom are going to come with me.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I totally forgot to tell you that there is a new Batman movie. It is supposed to be really good. I don't know if Jack wants to see it. He saw the new Star Wars movie with Mom. They both loved it.

Tonight they watched Space Balls, which is a funny kind of Star Wars movie. Jack was telling me about all of these funny lines.

The good thing about Batman is that there are a ton of new Batman action figures and toys in the stores.

Maybe I'll pick you up something and bring it out to the cemetery. I can hang it in the tree next to your grave. Interestingly, the notes that Emma and Sam wrote to you right after you died are still up in the tree.

The new Harry Potter is coming out next month. I'll come and read like the last book.

Love you.

Jack had nightmares last night and Mom went and slept with him. I suggested to Mom this morning that Jack's nightmares may have been related to the whole "rotting flesh" and "skeleton" thing from last night.

I am so sad for Jack and Mom that they have those images of you in their minds. I think I need to put on movies of you for them. Maybe that will help.

Here is your other brother this morning.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

You know the other day how I said that I had an amazing time with Joe because we were doing Stomp Rockets (remember how you and I would launch them over the houses across the street) and hitting the wiffle ball off the porch. Well, today I had an amazing time with Jack.

This morning I had breakfast in Atlanta with friends and it was raining. But by the time I got to Washington, it was sunny and nice. We went to Papa Teddy's pool to swim. In the pool, I kept picking up Jack and throwing him as far as I could and he would hit the water with a big splash. We did that over and over again. I was in heaven. I think Jack was having a pretty good time, too. That's one of the great things to do as a dad.

After the pool we went out to dinner. During dinner, Joe said, "I want to see Henry."

I asked if he wanted to go to the cemetery.

He said, "No, I want to see his eyes. I want to see his nose and his mouth."

"I want to see his face. I want to see the real Henry."

Jack then said something about seeing your "rotting skin," and said something else about your skeleton. He wasn't being mean when he said it.

I "shusshed" Jack, and Mom and I quietly explained to Jack that was something that would be hard for Joe to hear and to understand.

Later in the car Mom told me that she sometimes thinks about you the way Jack was describing, and that is why it is hard for her -- and for Jack -- to go to the cemetery. I sometimes feel like people don't really want to go and now I understand better.

I don't think of you that way. I guess I am lucky.

I love you and miss you.

Goodnight my beautiful boy.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Mom found a CD case buried deep in the basement. It had a bunch of your CDs and some DVDs in it like Wallace and Gromit. I bet Joe will like Wallace and Gromit.

I am listening to these CDs in the car. I love that you wrote your name on everything. I really love that both of us wrote your name on one of them.

I started crying really hard today when "Pierre" came on one of your CDs. As we used to read and sing, "The moral of the story is ... care."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I always say how I have the best job. Today was really neat. We had all of these race cars come to our office. Unfortunately, Jack was at camp and Joe couldn't get over here. Jack came last year so I didn't feel too, too bad about it.

I bought them both XM model race cars, and our driver, Bryan Herta, signed one for Jack and one for Joe.

Here is a picture of Bryan finishing in 3rd place at the Indianapolis 500, which is this really big race. They guy who won, Dan Wheldon, came today, too.

You would have loved this stuff.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Today was Jack's first day of camp at Valley Mill, which is where Mom went to camp, and Joe's first day of camp at the Gan, which is where you went to camp. I hope they both like it.

I remember when we got Jack into the camp in Minneapolis for the summer when you had your transplant. They were so great at David's synagogue. "Just show up," is what they told us. I think Jack had a good time there.

Here is a photo that Joe brought home today.

Nice Skins jersey. It used to be yours. Joe wears a lot of your clothes, your Pikachu shirt, your Tevas, lots of stuff. He was really excited when he found your Superman pjs.

That, of course, made me feel really good.

I love you.

Yesterday was Father's Day.

Jack gave me this present. How awesome is your brother.

I was okay until about 11:00 am and then I started to think about you and got really sad. I started to feel like I had no energy to do anything. But it was "my day," and Mommy asked what I wanted to do. I said that I wanted to go to the cemetery.

First we went to Galayan's, which is now called "Dick's." Go figure. We bought rollerblades for Jack and Joe. When we were there we ran into our friend, Obbie, who happens to be Uncle Andy's cousin. Andy and Obbie are first cousins, just like you and Michael.

We left there and went to the cemetery.

The grass was really dry and not comfortable to lay on, but we did anyway. I wish that we could put down some really soft turf. I think will ask the people who operate the cemetery if I can bring in my own grass. There is actually a place out near the cemetery called a "turf farm." I want it to be green and soft on top of your grave.

Joe busied himself playing with all of the little Pokemon and other things that are on your headstone. Jack wasn't particularly pysched to be there, so he went back and sat in the minivan and listened to music.

Mom and I went and saw Grandma and everyone else buried there that we know. I didn't cry this time.

When we got home everyone put on their roller blades and we went around that track where we went for Michael's soccer birthday party. Here is a photo of you, me and Mom from Minnesota. I was thinking a lot about our apartment on Lake Calhoun. It was so nice that we were all together and neither Mom or I were working. It was great being together so much as a family -- even though it was all because of you needing to get new blood.

Today I went to Boston to do something fun for work. I gave a fifth and sixth grade class money to help them with a project they are doing. It is all about good sportmanship. It felt good to be able to do this. I thought about you a lot.

Students get A for effort

Radio service donates $10K to Acton elementary school

By Douglas Belkin, Globe Staff | June 19, 2005

The Yankees and Red Sox never did agree to shake hands, but the good sportsmanship campaign by a group of Acton elementary school students -- which got the country wondering whether the rivals would shake -- is paying dividends just the same.

Washington, D.C.-based XM Satellite Radio will present the Merriam Elementary School with a check for $10,000 tomorrow morning in a case of what ad-types might well call synergy.

The check is a one-time gift the company is giving to the school because the handshake project so closely echoes its advertising campaign, ''Why can't we be friends."

The project drew national attention earlier this year when the school's fifth- and sixth-graders campaigned to get the Red Sox and Yankees to shake hands on opening day in Fenway Park as a show of good sportsmanship. Everybody from Sports Illustrated to Bud Selig, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, weighed in. A spokesman for Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said the boss himself liked the idea. Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he admired the students' initiative -- they started by sending letters to the Sox -- and he'd talk to team captain Jason Varitek about it.

But, ultimately, it was the players' decision and they demurred.

That said, the kids took heart when the Yankees applauded the Red Sox during the world championship ring ceremony at Fenway Park on April 11. Apparently not everyone had read the good sportsmanship memo that morning, however. During the ring ceremony, at the tail end of a moment of silence to honor the recently deceased former Red Sox reliever Dick Radatz, one fan in the stands yelled a vulgar remark aimed at Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

The remark was followed by a terse ''thank you" by Red Sox announcer and master of ceremonies Joe Castiglione.

The XM Satellite advertising campaign centers around the 1975 song ''Why Can't We Be Friends?" by the group War and plays on the idea that even though fans of different Major League Baseball teams may antagonize each other when they root for their home team, they are all part of a larger community of baseball fans. XM subscribers can listen to almost every baseball game from anywhere in the country.

''We became aware of what the kids were doing around the time we launched the campaign and we thought they complemented each other," said Allen Goldberg, a spokesman for XM. ''So we got in touch with the school and teachers, and even sent them the spot before it aired."

The money is meant to be spent furthering the ideals of the handshake project, said Goldberg, but can be used however the school sees fit.

An oversized check will be awarded at a schoolwide ceremony Monday morning and will be followed by a panel discussion with some local news reporters who covered the story, as well as Bill Maver, Acton-Boxborough High School football coach, and Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley.

After the panel discussion, the students will take a bus to Fenway Park, where they will take a tour and meet with Charles Steinberg, the Red Sox vice president in charge of public affairs.

On Tuesday, the students will participate in the ''Ripken Family" baseball radio show, hosted by Cal Ripken and his brother Billy on XM Radio.

''This whole thing has been a wonderful experience," said Ed Kaufman, who organized the effort with fellow teacher Mary Ann Brandt. ''It surpassed what any of us expected."

''I think the kids learned they can make a difference in the world and they can get people talking about something if they show enough passion and sincerity about what they believe in."

I got to talk to the kids at their school and then we went to Fenway Park, which is where the Red Sox play baseball. While I was waiting for the school bus to pull up, I saw two Boston Children's Hopital buses go by. I thought about the time when you were there for heart surgery and Mark took me for a walk up to Fenway.

This is me with all the kids. I am in the middle. This felt great. I am very lucky.

Yesterday at Fenway, they had a special Fathers' Day event. After the baseball game, dads and kids get to go down on the field and play catch. How cool is that.

It is great for the dads and their kids, but hard on the grass. Today they had all these people working on the field to make it nice again. You know I was thinking how great it would be for the cemetery to do the same thing.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Today is the last day of school for Jack at JPDS. Mom is going for Jack's "moving up" ceremony. I put your plaque in a display case. I had really wanted to do some kind of presentation but we ran out of time. I asked Mommy to show the plaque to your teachers. We'll do a more permanent installation later.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Last night was a perfect night.

I got home from work and Joe and I played catch, hit balls off the tee and chased fireflies. He's got your ability to hit balls all the way from the front porch into the street. He liked watching me run after the ball. I gotta make sure not to get hit by a car.

Your little brother has turned into a true little boy. He is a lot like you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Joe freaked me out last night. He wanted to take a bath so I told him to take his clothes off. When he took off his shirt there was a big square bandage on his chest. He didn't have a bo-boo or anything -- he just likes bandaids and put a really big one on his chest.

It feels like you lived half your life with a big bandage on your chest. First it was for your heart surgery and then it was for the central line for your transplant.

I asked Mom about it. She said she was freaked out by it too.

This is us 4 years and 6 days ago. I don't know if you still have a Hickman in, but it looks like there is a line. Even though it is hard to see me, I am in the photo with you and a lot of beanies. I spy a fish and a dog.

I like this picture of you. I am going to start putting up a lot more of them - Operation Digital Henry Lives!

I cried all the way to work today. And that is saying a lot. Normally it takes me 15 minutes but today it took me twice as long because there was an accident or something.

I think I cried because I was driving Mom's car. Mom is home with Jack and Joe and needed the minivan. So we switched cars. When I played the first CD in the player, it was the one you and I used to listen to of the kids singing pop songs.

I went straight for Sweet Caroline, which you and I would sing really loud on our trips together in Mom's car to the PUVA clinic in Baltimore. I thought really hard to remember if we ever got shaved ice in the parking lot next to the doctor's office and I am positive we did. I don't remember what flavor. Maybe root beer. All those Baltimore high school kids used to hang out there.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I was away for the weekend for work. I went to a music festival called Bonnaroo. A lot of bands played and it rained a lot. I slept on a bus. It was great fun.

Still, I missed everyone at home something fierce.

I thought of you when I was walking through the airport yesterday. Looking up at all the gate signs reminded me of the airport in Detroit where I used to go to see Dr. Hughes. Looking down at my bag made me remember that it was part of the L.L. Bean luggage I bought for all of us when we headed to Minnesota for transplant. It had always bothered Mom that we never had any suitcases, so I bought all of these new red and black bags for our journey. I was very hopeful.

I found this picture the other day. We took it just past National Airport. Either we were dropping Mom off for a flight or picking her up after a trip. I don't remember.

The photo is color but I thought it might look good just black and white. Maybe not so smart since you are wearing your M&M race car shirt. One thing you missed was when they took all of the color out of M&Ms this year. That was weird. There are going to be race cars and race car drivers at my office next week. It kills me that my job is so much fun and you never got to know anything about it. Jack and Joe will be here for the race cars.

Mom and Joe and I are going to JPDS later this week to join Jack to put up a plaque that we had made. It has your photo and talks about what kind of student you were. I'll take plenty of pictures.

I feel bad that I missed Jack at JPDS last week when he performed in the school talent show. He played Turkey in the Straw on the piano.

I only found out about it the day that he was going to play. I never want to miss these things. Mom took video which I am psyched to watch this week.

Mom tells me he was awesome. I am really proud of him. You'd be proud too.