I used to worry about him, where he was, what he was doing, who he was with. Is he okay?
Now I cry over him. I don’t see him any more, I can’t call him, I can’t hug him. I don’t know where he is.
I used to wonder of what he would be when he grows up, what would he do for a living. Would he be successful, would he enjoy his career, would he take over my business eventually. Like every other parent I was concerned with where was he going to end up in life.
Now I only think about what he was like when he was a little boy. I think about his birthday parties and his hockey. I think about what he used to enjoy, the toys that he used to play with, and I hold onto some of his things that he left behind in my hands, and cry.
I used to call him Thor mostly, sometimes Booboo, and sometimes Andrew. He was my son, my one and only son. I would tell him he was my son, and that I was very proud of everything he did and everything he accomplished, as my father was of me.
I find it hard to even say his name now without crying.
I used to think about what he loved and enjoyed doing and his passions. Where he wanted to travel to – Italy, Israel, Amsterdam. Where he would go snowboarding in the future, where his kids would learn to ski, where he would settle down and call home. I think about next summer when we were planning to go to Mexico to learn to surf together.
Now all I can think about is what he will be missing, and what he will never get to do because his life was cut so short. The things that my son will never experience.
I used to have stuff in my office that had to be sent to him, a pair of sunglasses, a computer cable, headphones, clothes. He always liked receiving packages. Whatever I sent him made him happy.
Now I keep his most treasured personal stuff on my desk – his headphones he always used, a set of rocks and gems he was collecting in Boulder for me because he knew I loved them, his colorful gauges (sort of earrings) that he changed every day, his huge assortment of tongue barbells and balls he loved to show off in pictures, and his wallet.
I keep his glasses nearby because that is what he looked through to see the world, he saw the world in his own unique way, we all remember him in his Ray Bans. These were the things that made Andrew Andrew. I look at them everyday and the they make me smile and remind me of him. They remind me he had a full happy colorful life.
I should be shopping for a suit to wear to his graduation next month, talking to him about a school ring, and framing his diploma. Hugging him as he moves on to the next phase of his life with the whole world ahead of him.
Instead, I am writing down his Hebrew name and shopping for his headstone, something a father should never have to do. Hoping what we pick out he would have liked.
I just miss my booboo so much, he touched so many lives in positive ways and he will be so missed by so many people.
But as with all of my fellow grieving parents, as we say so often, I choose to continue. I choose to get up every day, get out of bed, and continue on with my life. I choose to live on despite the overwhelming grief. I choose to spend great quality time with Nicole. I can even choose once in a while to laugh, to have a good time, to enjoy a nice glass of wine, or enjoy a nice dinner with friends. Nicole chooses to carry on and play hockey and wear his jersey number. We choose to live on in Andrew’s honor, in his memory. I carry him with me everywhere I go, in everything I do, and every word i speak, He is always with me and on my mind, but I do choose to carry on knowing that is what he would want me and Dorothy and Nicole to do.
He didn’t have a choice, he was taken without warning or say. But those of us left behind do have a choice, and Andrew, as well as all of our lost children, would want us to live on and enjoy our lives – despite the grief. We will never forget them, ever. The hole in our hearts never ever mends. But we choose to live on in their honor and in their memory – that is the best we can do for them now.
I love you Andrew.
I love you Nicole.