Dreams and fantasy – that is what helps us all get through the day. No matter how real or unrealistic they are, they help us survive.
The one dream I have, along with other grieving parents, is that one more day. That one day that I can have Andrew back. I have no other dreams or wishes. Just one. Just to have him back for one day.
What would we do? I have given that so much thought. I have spent hours sitting in the chairs by his fire pit thinking about it, planning out the day, wondering what it would be like.
What comes to mind is to talk to him the entire day – that is if I could ever let go of the hug I would give him first. We would have breakfast – a frittata with eggs and potatoes – he loved to wake up to that in the morning. Although I have been making it for a while now, he still loves Grandmas the best. I am sure he would hug Daphne and Buzz. Every morning the first thing he did was to jump on my bed and roll around with the dog and cat, hug them, shower them with praises, and make them feel so very loved.
After we eat, I am sure he would want to take a shower – a long hot shower. He really relaxed in the shower and always said it gave him piece of mind. I still have his body soap in the shower, and I actually bought a couple of more of them – Dove Men’s Care Extra Fresh. Once in a while when I shower I will use just a dab of it. Just that little dab makes the whole bathroom smell the way I remember Andrew. It brings back such a visceral memory of him – like he is standing there and I can still smell him. It hurts, but the memory is so clear and vivid.
We would sit outside by his fire pit, all four of us, and talk for hours. There is so much I wanted to tell him, but never got the chance. Of course he knew he was loved so much, but there is so much more. There are things you wait to tell your son as he grows up, everything in time. But we have no more time. I told him a little about my dad, but not enough. I told him about how I grew up, and the difficult time I had without a father, but did I ever tell him that it worked out okay? I don’t know, but maybe he knew that. What did he think of me as a father? I promised him I would take care of my health and do my best to be there for him and Nicole as long as I could during their lives. I never broke that promise.
And the things I have for him, I want to show them to him. The things he was supposed to have one day. I have my father’s war ribbons and decorations (he earned a Silver Star as well as two Purple Hearts) and his Eagle Scout patches. – Stuff that I am so proud of, that I wanted him to know about. But I wanted him to be a little older, a little more mature, before I shared them with him. Maybe after college. I wanted him to have my grandfathers cuff links – they are so beautiful. It was supposed to be his gift when he started his first job. They are still in my jewelry box now, but I know what I am going to do with them at least. I have a baseball that was given to me by my team when I played little league so many years ago, that was signed by everyone on the team. It has been on my work bench getting worn all these years. I only played one year, but I drove in the winning run one game and they gave me the signed game ball. My father was so proud of me that game; I remember it to this day. That is something I would have wanted him to keep on his desk, or have on his night stand for him to remember me by one day when I was gone. I would spend some time showing him these things – knowing he can’t take them with him, but that he would appreciate knowing about.
Hey, do you know how to set up a NAS box? Or do you know how to change anti-freeze or change the oil in your car? Can you help me fix this thing or that thing? Have you ever seen 2001: Space Odyssey, or Animal House? Wanna watch it with me today? These are all things that I have thought about since he is gone. All the things that I never got to say to him, show him, teach him. So many things that I probably would need more than a day. But I would have such a need to show him so much stuff – just so he would know.
We would just sit there and talk. Dorothy, Nicole and I would just look at Andrew and feel so lucky to have these hours with him.
Andrew used to be upset that it took me too long to do some projects around the house, procrastinating until I eventually got to them. He would joke that maybe it would be done before he came home for the summer, or came home for spring break. Well I’ve gotten through the list of those projects, and I would want to show him that. I know he would smile, and that I have learned not to procrastinate too much. That is something that always bothered him, and I promised him I would change it – and even now I am keeping my promise to my son.
We would leave him alone with Nicole for a while. He wants to hear about how she is doing in college? How difficult it was for her – her first day of school without him there to talk to. How was your first year, he would ask. How are your teachers and your classes. And most important – how is the food in school? He would tell her stories of his first few years of college, and how sorry he is that he never got the chance to finish. He would be so proud of her playing college hockey, and wearing his number to honor him. Andrew was a person of few words, but I am sure he would tell her so much about college and how proud he is of her and what she has accomplished so far in her life.
There is so much more to the day that I imagine.
But after I write all this, after I think about all of this, it would not really be like this. We would spend the day, the entire day, with Andrew snowboarding in Vail. That is what he loves, that is what set him free, emotionally. They might have beautiful mountains where he is now, but nothing like Vail. Why would I be so greedy as to deny him one more, one last day of snowboarding. There is so much we need to tell him, need to show him, need to hold him. But he knows all that. We would just let him snowboard. And we would be there and watch him smile, try to keep up with him, and just let him enjoy his day, not ours. It would be his day.
And then we would sit there together as the sun goes down over the mountains. And, as he told Dorothy when he came to her in her sleep on Mother’s Day, he would get up and say “You know I have to go now”.