Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Letters to Henry, Part 5, 3/18/07

Monday, 3/19/07, 10:15 p.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

Well, we're starting a new book together. I do love writing to you. There is a tiny part of my gut that thinks you might actually be reading these. That hopes you are. Maybe it's that particular spark of hope that keeps me going.

Sophie left a picture that she made for Maile's baby Ella on my desk at work, so I can pass it on when Maile comes in. It's a cute picture with many elements, stickers, etc. Up in the corner is a rainbow, and above it Sophie wrote "Hope." Hen Ben, when I saw that I melted in tears. That little girl has cried so hard over you. I've held her while she sobbed several times. It breaks my heart that she has had to go through all this. But, in spite of all that, she puts hope in a little square at the top of the page. I love that.

Tonight as I was pulling into our lot coming home from Belle Voci practice, I thought maybe I am finally beginning to accept that you are gone. Maybe I am ready to quit fighting it. Except, when I really think about it, I'm right back there, kicking against it and screaming inside.

It rained today, after a sunny day yesterday. Should be good for your flowers.

I wish I could draw you. I can SO CLEARLY see your little smile. I could reach out and touch it. Your little beard. But now, I can't remember if you had your beard when you died. I'm pretty sure you did. I'll ask Pack tomorrow.

Today ws a little wild - both Michael and Liz called in sick. We did alright though, and then Amanda came in and closed for me. She's a great girl.

Henry Abram Roberts. I love you.
:) your Mama Pajama

Wednesday, 3/21/07, 9:00 a.m.

Dear Henry,

Saul, Rabecca and Phin came over for a visit tonight. We fed them and they stayed from 6:15 until 8:15. Your dad and I had hoped to have a serious talk with Saul, but it didn't seem like the right time.

Saul's doing well at work - his branch won branch of the year nationwide and he's the top salesman (one of two) at his branch, so that makes him the best in the nation, right?

Pack has not found a place to live. He must be out at the end of the month. If only you could be his room mate.

Here's what your dad says about your death: you are real, you are alive, you're just not here right now.

You are real. You are our son Henry, forever and ever.

I'm tired. Meg called. Steve is in hospice care now.

Sunday, 3/25/07, 10 a.m.

Dear Hen Ben,

I have to get some pictures in this book - I like to flip through and look at them as I write my way along. So....

This is one of my favorites of all of you. Remember? We were attending Sam's 1st birthday party. Look how sweet and happy you all are. Sam was charming the pants off every one of you.

Dad and I were talking about our worries about Saul this morning. I feel grateful, actually, because I remember this time last year when we were so worried about you. It was very hard - scary and burdensome - but it's better than not having you around to worry about. So, we need to do our best by Saul, and I need to learn to truly trust God in this.

I finished a book last night that Myra loaned me. It was about a little girl who was victimized by some women who put on fake seances and stole people's money. But the girl was actually visited in her dreams by a dead girl. The dead girl said she couldn't visit her mother's dreams because her mother was too miserable. Is that why you haven't visited me? In fact, last night I think I dreamed that I wished I could dream about you.

If you're waiting for me to be at peace, I think the time may have come, at least for a while. Right now I think I've accepted the fact of your death. It helped me to think of you as still alive, but just in a different place, as your dad said.

So, come on! I know you are not an angel. I know you said and did things that you may have been ashamed or embarrassed to ever admit to me. I know this, but I love you anyway. You are my son. I will always love you. I will always encourage you, teach you, correct you, bless you. At least, I would if you were still here. So, if this dream thing is real (I KNOW my mom, or an angel who represented my mom perfectly, visited me in a dream) then please come.

I feel a little bit idiotic right now. Oh well. You understand.

Hugs and kisses,
Lady Mama

Tuesday, 3/27/07 10:30 p.m.

Honey, I just wish I could hold you in my arms tonight. I'd tell you how sweet you are, and how you shouldn't worry, we'd find a way to work out all your problems, and I'd tell you how much I love you. Did you ever know how much I shared your pain? Did you know it kept me awake nights, same as it did you? But sharing your pain was not enough to save you. I hope now your pain is gone. I'm still bearing it, and I think I will in some measure for the rest of my life. But for you, please God, the pain is over.

My throat is very sore tonight. I took aspirin. I drank 2 glasses of wine after LIFE group. Drink and forget. Ha ha. Dennis and Janice are sweet.

Pack was blue today. He found out that ____is into drugs and internet sexual relationships. Sigh. Find a nice girl, please. It keeps surprising me the way the ugly world intrudes into our family. I told him to re-read Proverbs.

I'd better get to bed. Another day, Lord willing, will bring another shift of duties.

I love you forever,

Thursday, 3/29/07 9:30 p.m.

Dear Henry,

Aaagh, my throat really hurts. Aspirin helps - just took some more.

Patrick called tonight, all excited. They decided not to move after all. Their landlord said, we'd love to have you stay, so they said ok. Saves time, money and stress. He sounded very happy.

As for me, I don't feel happy. I feel blue and hopeless right now and it's all your fault.

I guess I'll just let that last phrase sit there for now. I'm too sick and tired to take it back or explain it or whatever.

Sunday, 4/1/07 3 p.m.

Dear Henry,

I was just looking at your hours sheet from your last few weeks at work. It was in my purse for some reason. Pack wants me to do the schedule so he's not an opener every day. He's tired of getting up early and he doesn't get along that great with Jim when it's just the two of them. So, anyway, your hours sheet was among the schedule worksheets I had with me.

You know, there isn't as much talk about you these days. Time goes on, and I guess we're expected to get over it. But I'm not.

Isaac stayed over last night, We read Zipperumpazoo and Everybody Knows What a Dragon Looks Like, played Nemo, did sticker books and dinosaur stamps, and taped videos. We didn't mention you a single time. He did say a couple of times, in passing, "I'm alive." Maybe that's a result of a Dougy Center conversation.

Your dad and I had a big fight over nothing (it seems to me) on Friday. We made up, of course, but again it left me feeling broken, hopeless.

He had chest pains Friday night and a scary dizzy spell on Saturday.

Pack showed me a great Brian Regan video yesterday. That did make me bust out laughing. I wish you could see it. I remember you liked that guy.

I feel so stuck. i don't pray, because I'm not sure what to pray for. I feel uncertain about everything. Maybe I need to get back to making that list of the things I know for sure. If Saul were to wake up from his nightmare, that would make a difference, I think. Maybe that is a clue for me. For my family's sake, I need to wake up from my own nightmare.

I love you honey. You sure are putting us through the mill, though.

Wednesday, 4/4/07 8:30 p.m.

Dear Henry,

Well, today has had its ups and downs. One "up" thing is that I suddenly feel better. This morning at work I realized I was humming - that was impossible to do for the past 11 days. At practice Monday night I could hardly make a sound. I had more energy today too. So that is good.

I guess in thinking it over, there weren't so many down times today. Saul, Rabecca, Phin and I went to the park tonight and I had a chance to talk to Saul. It made me cry out of frustration because he claims not to understand why I'm upset. Why shouldn't he be allowed to have his own ideas without causing this bad feeling between us? This is his position. In other words, I guess, why should we care what he thinks and does?

But at least we talked. I can't really expect more. He's upset because he keeps trying to call Pack and Myra and they won't answer the phone.

Paula emailed me that Tyler is in trouble, blowing off school, etc. This is tough. When you've already lost one child, the rest are precious and seemingly fragile.

Yesterday I almost came to join you. I had a coughing fit and went back to the back room. My throat closed up tight. I couldn't make a sound at first, then I made these awful moaning noises, trying to get air. I clawed at my throat, trying to pull it apart. I threw myself against the desk. Finally I tried exhaling and got a little opening, but as soon as I breathed in, my throat clamped shut again. I thought, you are so silly, you're going to fall down and die here in the office, just because you don't want to make a scene. I decided I'd cause a scene when I got to the point of passing out. But 'til then, I could do it myself. Finally, I relaxed my diaphragm and my gut muscles, and somehow my windpipe responded by opening up a little. The whole thing lasted maybe 30 seconds or so, but it seemed like an eternity. Actually, as I count it out, I bet it was at least a minute. I was scared.

We are pretty fragile, aren't we, Henry?

Today I got a message that one of the ladies in Belle Voci lost her son-in-law suddenly. Her daughter has a 5 year old and is pregnant. Very sad.

Your dad made some tasty butternut squash soup today. I'm going to see about taking some over to Meg tomorrow.

I love you always, sweetheart.
Lady Mama

Monday, 4/9/07 10:30 p.m.

Dear Hen Ben,

I don't quite know what to say to you tonight. I've been having a rough time the past few days. Today was the toughest day I've had in a very long time. I had a hard time holding back the tears all day. They flooded out in the car on the way home, and again later while your dad and I held each other. I've had almost a panicky feeling - fear that I won't be able to cope with life, that I'll go mad or something. Your dad suffers because he feels like he should be able to make me happy. When he can't make me happy, he fights me. I react with confusion and fear, and we just escalate. It feels hopeless and desperate. Yet we know we love each other. Tonight he said someone told him your suicide was nothing to do with Jim, it was only about Henry. So why should he be upset about it? That is so asinine. Today I found a suicide bereavement group that meets on 3rd Mondays. I'm planning to go next week. Maybe one or more of the kids will go with me. Maybe it will help. I need to do something.

I miss you so much, Henry. My arms ache to hold you, my heart aches. Please come home.

We made a video of Grandad telling his WWII stories yesterday. I think it turned out well.

Courtney wrote me that Isaac won a felt rabbit at Alpenrose on Saturday. On Sunday she fixed up an egg hunt for him and cooked a big dinner.

I will always love you. I will always miss you. I will always grieve for you. My sweet Henry. We lost our boy. We lost our boy! We lost our Hen Ben.

Thursday, 4/12/07 8:45 p.m.


I'm a little more at peace tonight. Last night I slipped into a pretty deep and desperate crazy feeling and the cloud of it was still over me this morning. But gradually I found my footing. It was a hard day physically - Michelle didn't show up and Jim had to leave early for a doctor's appointment - but we got through it. I had to be there from 5-4 though. I interviewed an applicant I really liked today. I hope to start her next week.

LIFE group was good. It was just Dennis, Janice and us. Janice was in tears over losing her brother; your dad talked about the struggle we've been having; Dennis talked about his inability to "lose control" in grief. Your dad opened up more than I've heard him do before, and I learned something new and important: he admitted that he sometimes acts mad when he isn't mad at all, as a way of distancing himself when he fears losing control. When he was young his mom had episodes they called "nervous breakdowns." She would scream, collapse, and cause a big scene. He was so scared of ever being like that. He would just walk away and try to ignore it.

For years I've been so frustrated, so freaked out, because I couldn't understand why he was mad at me, or at you kids. He would say (truthfully, I now see) that he wasn't mad, when it appeared obvious that he was. Finally, finally he admitted that he was acting mad. This is big for me. I just might be able to cope from here on out.

Tonight he also told me that he thinks he's addicted to adrenalin. He gets a rush by causing a crisis. Sheesh. I have a lot to learn about the best way to thrive in our marriage from here on out. But I've learned a lot in the past 2 days.

Pack has been dreaming about you a lot, spending time with you. I would like that. He talked about the day they found you. When you were lying on those rocks, he and Saul were not far away, above you at the top of the cliff. Pack said the air felt thick with death, oppressive and heavy, but he didn't know you were down there.

Your dad shared some of our struggles with Dr. Puterbaugh today. The doc says he has an elderly patient whose husband shot himself 10 years ago as a "favor" to her, to spare her from having to take care of him. That man did not realize how much harder her life would be because of what he did. Even after 10 years the doc says she still has a hard time. If you had known how devastating this would be, I have to believe you wouldn't have done it. I guess the lesson is that most of us have no idea how much our lives affect each other.

In our family a gigantic tragedy has plunked itself down right in the middle where our sweet Henry used to be.

By the way, your dad's check up was good. His lab results were all improved, and he lost a little weight. The dizzy spells are probably caused by dehydration.

Now I must turn in. Don't know if I'm going to work out tomorrow. I have rehearsal from 7-10 tomorrow night.

My arms feel empty, Hen Ben.
Love, Tired Lady Mama

Monday, 4/16/07 10 p.m.

Dear Henry,

Patrick and I went to the suicide survivors support group tonight. We heard some hair-raising stories. There definitely are people out there who understand what we're going through And we are not the worst off. For all our struggles, we do have a lot of support. And we get to talk about you as much as we want, to each other and to our customers. Not many people have it as good as we do. We didn't tell "our story" tonight, but I think we will next time.

Saul was going to come but he didn't show. He and Pack are not doing well together.

Here's a piece of big news: today we got a letter of condolence from ____. She asked for forgiveness for hurting our family. She seems to have found God. She's been following our family on the internet, but only found out 2 days ago about your death. She didn't leave a return address. Her letter made me cry. I wish we could write to her. I'll put her letter in your memory book. It's written beautifully, and she says a lot of nice things about you. I love to read nice things about you. My sweet, precious Henry. How could this happen? How? It was such a mistake. You did not belong on that cliff. Remember Sesame Street? Three of these things belong together...what's wrong with this picture is Henry doesn't belong on that cliff. He belongs back here, hugging us, playing with Isaac, flashing that charming smile, wooing Courtney (or not, whatever), playing games with Pack, making stellar lattes, leading the prayer at LIFE group...growing mature, learning how to budget, overcoming the regular problems everyone faces. Drawing, painting, writing. Looking spectacularly handsome.

Only 26. Come ON. Stupid prozac. Stupid me.

Gotta go to bed.

By the way, our concert went well Saturday night. We had one encore and a standing ovation. It was my favorite so far.

I love you, Sweet Hen Ben.

Friday, 4/20/07 9 p.m.

Hi honey,

I can't write long; I need to be in bed. My day was 12 hours long today, and I'm bushed. It was a trying day, hard to cope after the sorrows of the day before. Private, personal stuff, worries about Saul....

How can I carry on if I lose another boy? Your dad wrote him an email, and I called him to tell him it was coming. It was a loving letter and a no-uncertain-terms letter. We have yet to hear anything back from him.

The store is busy. Sometimes I want to scream at people to stop coming in. Right now it's too much. Hard to take.

There was a tragic shooting in Virginia this week. 33 people killed, including the shooter who took his own life. I'm grateful nothing like that happened to you.

I miss writing to you..don't have as much time as I used to. I hired two new people, though, so things should loosen up a little in a few weeks. One trouble: ____'s work is going south. She and Michael are not getting along. Going to try and have a store meeting on Tuesday.

Sweetheart, I miss you. Can't believe you're not here to put your arm around me and say something to make me feel better. You always did that for me. "Don't be sad, Lady Mama."

I love you,

Sunday, 4/22/07 8:15 p.m.


Tonight I am feeling better. Saul came to see us today. He arrived about 5 minutes after Myra and Sophie left. (Your pop took Myra out for lunch and shopping at Whole Foods Market for her birthday while I hung out with Sophie.) I believe Saul was pretty straight with us. It was a good time, turned out better than I'd hoped.

We also decided that as a family we are going to the Neakhanie Lookout place on June 7th. We'll close the store that day. I'm not sure why I want to, but it seems like I need to do this. Your dad says he doesn't want to, but he would never stay behind if the rest of us were going.

Thank you God for bringing Saul back this far. We want to hold him close in our family circle, keep him safe, and help him trust you.

God bless you, Henry. God bless us.
Missing you,
Mama Pajama

Wednesday, 4/25/07 9:30 p.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

Once again I'm staying up too late. I am so tired most of the time, but I hate to go to bed early enough to get the rest I need. I just wanted to take time to tell you I love you before I turn in.

Yesterday it occurred to your dad that he was the last person in the family to see you alive. He was standing out front of the shop talking to Pete when you walked by on your way to CFO (we thought). He wanted to talk to you about some ways to make extra money at Jim and Patty's. He thought, well, I'll talk to him about it tomorrow. Watched you walk across the street to your car.

Tonight he cried as he told me about seeing a father with his little boy in Costco.

There is a sweetness to our grief, Bridgie, because it flows out of our love for you.

I want to reach into that other dimension where you are, grab your hand and pull you back. I keep thinking you must be right there, just right over there. Yes?? I love you,
Lady Mama

Monday, 4/30/07 8 p.m.

Hi Punkin,

Today I heard about a movie called "Numb." It's about a young man who suffers from a kind of anxiety that makes him feel like he's watching himself instead of being himself. I feel like that a lot. I wonder if you did? I'm sorry that I was so lame when it came to understanding your panic attacks and your anxiety. I didn't know how to help you and I just didn't "get" what you were enduring.

The last few days I have felt numb.

Saturday night both Isaac and James spent the night. I invited James at the last minute, thinking his presence would keep Isaac from getting bored. It more or less worked out. They had their moments: James was the "good" kid and Isaac was the "naughty" one. Isaac is such a little imp. They both got to make a couple of videos of their own, and we enjoyed watching them on the big TV.

Isaac ate his dinner and breakfast pretty well this time.

I showed him the photo album full of pictures of you, but he most certainly did not want to look at it. "No!"

Tonight I participated in a film Rosa Colquitt is making for Mother's Day. She interviewed me on camera. I talked a little about what it feels like to lose a sweet Henry the way we did.

My heart aches to think about Isaac growing up without you. I hope one day he will ask us to tell him all about you. We will help him understand how much you loved him, and that if you'd been able to ditch that prozac you never would have left him. How very badly you wanted to be Courtney's husband and Isaac's dad, a man of integrity and the head of the household. I promise to do what I can to help Isaac through the rough spots.

I think your sister is having a rough time. The poor kid looks so stressed and sad. I wish I could spend more time with her.

Sometimes I feel like I'm hanging in suspension, waiting for the rest of the world to collapse. Last night I dreamed I had to set off a nuclear bomb. No choice. And it was in front of our house. What was that about? I was glad to wake up.

I miss you, Henry. Don't leave us like this.

Sunday, 5/6/07 9:30 a.m.

Hi Precious Bridgie,

Well it's Sunday morning and I finally have a few minutes to write to you. My life is so hectic right now. And, as for my grief, I sem to be on a hiatus. I "don't go there," as people say. Your dad, though...he told me he has sobbed over you every day lately. Patrick visits you in his dreams every night (or you visit him??) so he's feeling ok right now.

Last night Pack and I and Amanda and Joel went to a benefit dinner for ALS. Ann was a master of ceremonies, along with Matt Zeffino. Theresa spoke. It was good.

Yesterday was a new sales record for us (except for the Umpqua Bank day) For a while there was a line all the way back to the bookshelf and a second line at the door. Not sure how that got resolved. Your poor dad is knocking himself out trying to make enough goodies.

Yesterday I was thinking about all the bad things that happen to people, and how we all have the ability (thankfully) to shrug it off and move on. The big news story these days is global warming, and what that boils down to, it seems to me, is that we're all gonna die. That's mostly what we talk about. What's my point? I don't know...I guess I need to think about what my contribution is in between my birth and my death. Yesterday (or the day before? it runs together) a customer told me her son took his own life 1 1/2 years ago. All I know to do is to try to make connections with people that help a little. I share her sorrow.

Today there's a news story about E. Howard Hunt's death bed confession that LBJ killed JFK via the CIA. Man.

I need to work on my QB project today. But you know what else I want to do? Work on your art scrapbook. Not enough hours.

I need to focus on building hope in my soul and being grateful for all my blessings. My blessings are bounteous.

Precious one, I love you. You are one of my blessings. I pray God is holding you now, and that you are restored to joy.
Love, Mama

Tuesday, 5/8/07 8:45 p.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

LIFE group is all done, soup's put away, dishes are done, your pop just went to bed. Time to write to my Bridgie before I hit the sack too.

I kind of wish I didn't pick out this particular journal. The design doesn't feel right - too bright. Dare I say it? Too cheery. Not that I go around all the time with a long face. I do my share of laughing and cutting up. But just a little way under the surface the color deepens, darkens. Just under the skin is deep sorrow, and this bright cheery journal cover doesn't "go." Oh well.

I love your hands, your long fingers. I always thought they looked like fatherly, capable hands.

I re-read your dad's prayer today. Maybe I'll read it out loud next time we go to the support group.

Here's a triumph: I solved my computer problem yesterday. I called QB help and was able to get the data onto my laptop. YAY. That is a load off my mind. Now I just have a lot of back tracking to do, but I'm working on it. And the nice thing is, I can do it at home now.

I'm a-wearied tonight. Thinking of you constantly, hugging your shirt at night. Loving you.

Friday, 5/11/07 9:15 p.m.

Dear Hen Ben,

My eyes are drooping, but I can't go to bed without writing a few words to you first. How will you keep up with the family doin's if I don't write about them?

For starters, today is my father's birthday. He would be, wow, 89.

For another thing, your grandad dodged another bullet. We really thought he was on his way to heaven. Couldn't breathe, lungs filled with fluid. but they gave him medication that helped drain the fluid, he got better, and they sent him home today. The doc says he shouldn't be alive, that he has an aortic aneurism in addition to the torn aorta. He certainly won't be around much longer. He is a good man.

Pack has a new girl friend. She is a Christian, very cute and hyper. She says she's never been kissed. She baked him cookies. They will wait to go on their first date until she returns from a mission trip to Argentina.

My thoughts are turning constnantly to you and to your last few weeks with us. I am sad.

We sent Courtney flowers for Mother's Day. Last year I remember you were disappointed because we didn't get together that Sunday. I was too tired and I thought your dad didn't need the extra work of cooking for everyone. I remember also that you took Courtney flowers for Mother's Day, and you were not happy with the conversation you had with her at the time.

Honey, I miss you.
Love, Lady Mama

Sunday, Mother's Day, 5/13/07 11 a.m.

Dear Henry,

We're at lovely Salishan, near the end of our stay. It was short this time - we didn't get here until 6 or so, and we were so tired we both went to sleep at 9:30. I was rooked out of my traditional late night reading and writing time.

We were so tired because we had a record day yesterday. We even beat our bank day record. Amazing. We have lots of kinks to work out, and we made progress talking about things over breakfast.

When I woke up this morning it was as though someone had just asked me how many children I have. I woke up answering like this: we have 4 children, Myra Saul, Henry and Patrick. They all live in Portland except Henry. He lives in heaven.

I've had tiny glimpses of some kind of feeling of peace over the last few days. Perhaps I will be able to think about you someday without feeling such wrenching pain. Make no mistake: I will not ever get over this. I'll never ever give in to you on that. If I get over this it's like saying to you that what you did was ok because we got over it in the long run. You'll never catch me saying that. But I might give myself permission to feel some acceptance of the situation, since I can't change it.

Come back! We cried that over and over. Did you hear us? Did you want to? Oh God, there's that knife in the gut again.

How I love you, Henry. How much I love and care about you. You are infinitely precious to me forever.

Dad says hi. (Not really. I made that up. But really, he does, always.)
Love, Mama

Wednesday, 5/16/07 6:15 a.m.

Hi Bridgie,

I'm closing today because Michael wants me to teach him all my expectations for a good close. So, I am writing to you, relaxing at 6 in the morning.

I decided I want to plant forget-me-nots at your grave. Sarah gave me a cloth to cover the area and kill the weeds. Maybe that will be a good project for Sunday.

When we got up Monday morning we found a rose plant and a card by our door from Courtney and Isaac. Courtney wrote some kind things. Also Saul and Phin left cards and flowers. Saul did a homemade card that is really sweet. "I love you thiiiiiiiis much."

I want to get your art book finished, and include the cards you made for us over the years. There is so much to do, especially since the Computer Crash and Consequent Data Loss. So much to do, and yet so often I just sit here like a lump.

We are not going to close on the 7th after all. Dad got to thinking that if he doesn't come in and bake he won't be ready for the weekend. So the plan is for him to do the baking and leave around 6 a.m., and the rest of the staffing will be covered by our employees. I think we can pull it off.

Your dad is not going for any reason except to be with us. If it was up to him he'd never visit that spot. I feel conflicted about it. I don't want to honor or romanticize that place. That was just one weird blip in your life, an anomoly. A mistake you now regret, I'm sure, at least on some level. But something in me wants to experience the place, to see the view you saw, and to face the horror of it.

Did I tell you I found the letter that we wrote as a trick to get you to stop tormenting Patrick so that he'd be late for school? The one from the "Juvenile Department"? So funny. I'll never forget your reaction when we told you that was a fake. You were, like 21 or something. You were shocked, unbelieving, stupefied. Ho ho.

I need a picture of you here. Gonna go get one.

There. You and your seester at Meg's house. I think that was the summer Paula came for a visit a couple of years ago. You and Myra have a lot of love for each other.

I'd better go now and get the depahtment tidied up and myself ready for work. I love you sweet Hen Ben. Come Back.
Love, Mama Pajama (literally)

Tuesday, 5/22/09 10 p.m.

Hello Sugar Biscuit,

I've been looking forward all day to writing that. Sugar Biscuit. I've added a new nickname to your already long list.

It's been a while, huh? Usually I at least get to write on Sunday, but we were gone to Lebanon - took most all the day. We sat with Grandad and Grandma, Julie, Joe, Adam and the funeral director and planned Grandad's funeral. Not something you do every day, but it was ok.

Adam and I had a long hug and a cry.

I laid out the weed cloth and mulch over your grave, held in place by some nice rocks. It looks really nice. Your little hemlock tree is doing fine. I think I may only bring potted plants and flowers out there so that the weeds stay under control. I don't know...we'll see. Anyway, it looks much better now.

Pack and I are going to sing at Grandad's funeral. What hymn should it be?

I finished a book called "The Shack." It's about a man's encounter with God after losing his daughter to a serial killer. Quite a vivid description of God's love, and a dream/vision encounter with his daughter that rang true.

I feel resigned and disconnected right now. Why is that? It puzzles me that I could feel so detached from you, from my grief. I feel matter of fact about it. Weird.

I didn't go to the Suicide Survivors meeting last night. Pack forgot about it and made plans, and Saul was too busy.  I didn't want to go alone.

Myra is at the shop tonight doing baking prep jobs. Cool, huh? She's going to work 4 evenings a week so that your pop can keep up with the increased demand for his food. Poor Mar, she accidentally set off the alarm tonight. I hate that.

We bought a new cash register because the old one kept freezing. Today I gave the old one to Sophie and James. They'll have fun with that, eh?

I finished the catch-up reconciliations today! Yay!! All the lost data has been recovered. Now I can relax. We've ordered a printer for the laptop at work. Things are coming together.

Sweetheart. I love you. Don't forget us. We're still your family. We all love you.
Lady Mama

Monday, 5/28/07 9:45 p.m.

Hen Ben,

It's been quite a weekend Lots of ups and downs. I feel drained. Can't really talk to you about anything right now. Just wanted to say hi and remind you that I love you. In case you forgot.
I love you,
your Lady Mama

Wednesday, 5/30/07 9:30 p.m.

Dear Henry,

I keep staying up too late, either reading or playing with our family tree on ancestry.com. I'm sleepy, but I hate to go to bed.

There's so much going on..if you were here you'd be in the thick of things for sure. We're thinking strongly about moving J&P's to the new space next door. Also, the old CP location in Tigard wants us. It makes my head spin.

Your dad and I are struggling to get along these days. We are on edge or something. We both sometimes want to give up. But we can't. Too much love.

I still don't pray. What am I, stubborn?

Saul hasn't smoked for 2 weeks. He's working out too. He looks good. That is a happy thing.

I still feel numb, Henry. I must have a protective shell on. Like an M&M. I make plans to pray, I just don't follow through.

Feel like a loser tonight.

Friday, 6/1/07 6:45 p.m.

Dear Henry,

Darcy gave me a quilt today. She made it herself. It has scriptures embroidered on it that she says God told her to give me. Here they are:

Psalm 73:23-24 / Psalm 63:8 / Psalm 1:2-3 / Psalm 42:11 / Psalm 116:7 / Galations 6:9 / Psalm 119:89-90 / Isaiah 43:1 / 2 Cor 1:3-4 / Psalm 100:2-3 / Psalm 6:6-10 / Isaiah 40:28-31 / Isaiah 41:9-10 / Isaiah 46:3-4 / Isaiah 49:16 / Psalm 114 / Jer 11:7-8 / Psalm 126:5 / Matt 11:30 / Psalm 101:28-30 / Psalm 119:10 / Isaiah 40:11 / Isaiah 63:8.

Saturday, 6/2/07 10:30 p.m.


After I looked up all the verses I was overcome with sleep. I laid myself out on the big green couch and crashed until 11:30. Seems like days ago now.

I finally prayed for real. I think it was Thursday night. Then it was hard to fall asleep. As we get closer to the 7th I'm having all those sad images and feelings crowding my head and heart again.

We got such a lovely card today from a customer. Her name is Lynne - June capp for here, Saturday mornings, with her friend, Wally latte. Remember them? They remember you.

Remember Amanda's friend, Janaki? Her mother died suddenly last night from a heart attack. She was in her late 40's. Very sad.

Tonight I finished your art book. I still want to make a title page or something on the cover. "by Henry" or "Made by Henry" or...I'll figure it out. Doesn't matter so much - the inside is the juicy good part.

Dad is still up!! He can't stop exploring ancestry.com. He found out I'm related to lots of famous people, like JFK, Sir Isaac Newton, President Bush...Maybe I'll print the list and stick it in here sometime.

Today was not so busy but it seemed like a hard day anyway. I had a headache all day. And Pack was late - I had to run in early and didn't make it until 5:40. Forgot to bring the change bag. That kind of thing. Then we had about 60 trays of pastry leftover. Oh well. Our slow days now are still way busier than we used to be.

Sometimes I see your face in my heart and it snatches my breath away.

Not many tears though. I'm a stoic old girl. Guess this ol' heart is locked up for a while.

Sweet Ben Bridge, I love you.
-Mama Pajama

Sunday, 6/3/07 9:30 p.m.

Dear Henry,

Yur dad's blood sugar reading is over 500 tonight. I'm scared to even write that. I've been thinking he was doing better because he's been on a new medication and losing weight. It scares me.

We had a good day otherwise. Got the kitchen and living area cleaned up finally. Jeff's sermon was really really good today. Did more research on ancestry.com. No fighting today. I'm not sleepy - wish I was. I must pray for your dad. I love him. I love you. I miss you, HenBenaroony.
Love, Lady Mama

P.S. Dave called today.

Monday, 6/4/07 9:30 p.m.

Dear Henry,

After spending time with my new addiction, ancestry.com, I worked on your art book some more. I pasted photos on the inside cover and I pasted blue-sprayed-with gold letters on the cover. It says, "by Henry..." Do you like it? I'm going to take it to work tomorrow to share with our customers.

Your pops went to the doctor and got some different, more powerful diabetes medicine. I feel less worried now.

Thursday we will close at noon; Janaki's mother's memorial is at 2 that day. This way Michael can go. And since it's a shorter day, I'm hoping I can get Pack off entirely. So that will be ok.

I'm a sleepy mom.

You are related to Norman Rockwell. Dad thinks you look like him.

Kisses and hugs sweet Hen Ben. I would flap your ears and kiss the top of your head if you were sitting here right now. A year ago you were sitting here, right in the chair where I am.
- Broken-hearted Mama Pajama

Tuesday, 6/5/07 8:30 p.m.


I'm trying to be real honest with myself here. I think one reason I don't want this anniversary to come and go is that I don't want to get far away from what happened to you. I don't want to get used to it. After a year I'll be expected (by whom? myself?) to just put "it" meaning you behind me and carry on with life. It's a vast empty landscape rushing at me. I want to stay in this special spot of grief, love, pain because it's closer to where I last saw you and held you. Or, maybe I just like it when people feel sorry for me.

I'm sitting under the "comfort quilt" Darcy made me. It's a cool night. I'm still flabbergasted that she made this.

I brought your art book to work and lots of people enjoyed it, some you know and some you don't. Everyone is amazed at your talent and heart. Pack is especially proud. Whenever someone is looking at it, he wants to look too.

I'm tired. It's hard to sleep lately. Thoughts of you.

Come back, Hen Ben. Just come back.

Paula sent me a photo of you holding Andrew with Myra looking on. Sweet children. (Note: Paula's son Andrew died of SIDS at 3 1/2 months in 1987.)
Love, Mama

Thursday, 6/7/07 5:00 a.m.

Dear Ben Bridge,

I had arranged to have this day off, but your pop got behind in baking yesterday because Michelle didn't come to work. So I'll go in a few minutes and help him get the display done, etc. The goal is to leave for Manzanita with all of us in the truck by 9:30 or so.

Manzanita. How we teased you about that place when you were a kid! You loved it so. Naturally that's the place you were drawn to in the end. If only our thick skulls could have figured that out we might have found you in time. We have a lot of "if only's" Hen Ben.

Anne and Goat read your book today. Goat was in tears. They brought flowers and a card. Several people read it, and I mean every word. They are all amazed at your wonderfulness.

I'd better get my shoes on and head out into this sad day. I love you, Bridgie.

Thursday, 6/7/07 8:15 p.m.

Bridgie, we did it. We went to your spot. We don't know exactly the place, but I have a hunch I know. I saw the rock, easy to get to, no one could see you from the highway, and it stuck out a bit, with brush underneath. Ah, it hurts more now, now that we're home. At the place today it was less climactic than I expected. Part of me wishes I knew every tiny detail of what you did there, but that would probably just add more what if's and if only's.

Pack just went home. We got back around 4 or so, but he seemed to want to hang out with us for a while. He and Saul got past their initial awkwardness. They haven't spoken to each other in months.

Henry, I hate for time to pass, taking me away from your last times here with us. I don't want to "put it behind me and move on." I want to live there, with you. The kids told me they feel that way too.

I do want to make things the best they can be for everyone. I want to minimize the damage. If there are any kernels of good to come from it, I want to find them.

I'm really really tired. I still feel unplugged. I didn't cry today. What am I, a cold unfeeling monster?

Packy said you told him, "It's too late," when he begged you to "come back, don't do it." Did you mean because you took all the pills and figured you were already a goner? Or that your problems were too great, now that you'd skipped work that day and spent money you didn't have - all that "failure" stuff?

Are you watching us now? Guess what? I love you, my skinny son Henry.
-Lady Mama