“I carry you with me into the world, into the smell of rain and the words that dance between people. And for me, it will always be this way, walking into the light, remembering being alive together.” Brian Andreas, StoryPeople
I remember the day you arrived with that hearty wail and full head of hair.
I remember bringing you home from the hospital, terrified to be responsible for you and overwhelmed with joy at the same time.
I remember how happy you were and the easy way you interacted with anyone and everyone. Beyond the simplest of needs — eating, sleeping, a clean diaper — nothing upset or fazed you.
I remember the way you loved to watch The Lion King, over and over and over and over, always asking me to fast forward past the part where Simba’s father is killed by the hyenas.
I remember the way you would wait for Dad to get home from work so you could go up to the playroom together. You would ask him to line up every ball in the house, and you would hit them, one by one, into the net with your blue plastic hockey stick.
I remember how scared you were to ride a two wheeler and to jump into the deep end of the pool and the joy on your face when you mastered both.
I remember how uninterested you were when we told you that Molly was on the way, how much you liked to torment her when you were in the backseat together and how dearly you loved her, even when she stole and wore your basketball shorts and tried to join you and your friends when you were playing in your room with the door closed.
I remember how much you loved to read the Harry Potter books and the way you listened to the audio versions every night as you fell asleep.
I remember how easily you made friends, before the cancer stole your confidence with your peers and the way you begged to have sleepovers every night during the summer.
I remember the way you dealt with the news of your brain cancer diagnosis and the treatment it required. I remember your hope that you would be the one whose hair didn’t fall out during radiation .. and when it did, the way you made it cool to be bald, so much so that 28 of your peers plus Dad, Uncle Chris and Robin shaved their heads, too.
I remember coming home after you spent a month in the hospital undergoing high dose chemotherapy and watching your determination to walk up the stairs. I remember the way Bronco looked so confused when you could only walk a few hundred yards down the street before turning back to the house, and the way you kept pushing until you could walk the 4 mile loop to the top of the hill behind our house and back.
I remember our long talks in the hospital late at night after Molly and Dad had gone home when you would tell me about your fears and dreams and hopes for the future.
I remember your final days and weeks at home, the way you made a list of those you most wanted to see and the way that every single one of the people on that list came to be with you. I remember the courage of your friends, their tears after you told them how much they meant to you and the way they laughed and enjoyed every minute you had together. I remember being honored to be a witness to it all and the gratitude I still have at all of the amazing people you brought into our lives.
Now that you are gone from this world, I see you everywhere — in the stars shining in the dark night sky, in the hummingbirds in the garden, in the cherry tree Taryn gave me after you died that covers itself with blossoms every spring.
I feel your presence when AC/DC comes on the radio or over the loudspeaker at one of Molly’s games and I hear Shelby’s voice saying, “Jimmy’s in the house!”
I yearn to know about the movies, music and books you aren’t here to tell me about and wish that I could tell you about the ones I have discovered on my own that I know you would love, too.
I wonder if you know that Dad, Molly and I have soldiered on, refusing to crawl into the pit, knowing that isn’t what you would want for us and yet sometimes being driven to our knees because of the Jimmy sized hole in our lives and our hearts
I hope you know how much we miss you and how much there is to tell you. You will forever be our inspiration, our guiding light, our greatest gift.
I remember. I remember it all. I remember you.