Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Letters to Henry, Part 6, 6/8/07









Friday, 6/8/07 5:30 a.m.

Good morning, precious child,

I am holding you in my heart. I'll always love you. I'll never forget you. It will never be too late for me to love you.

-Mama

Picture inserted, Henry playing with Isaac.


Friday, 6/8/07 9:45 p.m.

Hi Bridge,

I read your note again tonight. You really wanted Dad and I not to blame ourselves, didn't you? In capital letters you wrote "NOTHING YOU DID CAUSED THIS." It was a kind thing to say. We cannot help asking ourselves, what if...? I know you didn't want to hurt us so much. You weren't in your right mind.

Yesterday we tried to reconstruct what might have happened that night. We don't know when you drove to the coast, but Pack and Saul found a bunch of Marlboro Lights near where your car was parked. You were there a while. We think you took all your Prozac - no idea how much, but it caused your speech to slur. Then you wrote the notes to Courtney and Isaac, Ben, Amanda, Scott and Beth. Your handwriting was pretty clear in those notes. Don't know whether you were in your car or not when you wrote those; then you called Pack. Your speech was slurred, you didn't say much. "It's too late...." When you talked to Pack you were outside - Pack could hear the wind. Then you must have hung up and recorded your goodbye message. You left your phone and wrote the notes to us, Pack, Myra and Saul. (You quoted Pack, so it seems clear you wrote after hanging up.) By now your writing is almost incoherent. You put the notes in your car and go back to the edge. Then you either jump or fall, probably around 7 or so.

A couple of weeks later somebody found your phone. They called Julie. That was a shock: "Henry Roberts" on caller ID.

I had your fifth grade "Spotlight on You" framed as a surprise for your dad. It was going to be for his birthday, but I couldn't wait. He loved it. Now I have to think of something else to get him.

Marianna talked to your dad about you today. Your pop was telling her about ancestry.com, and how as far as he knows he's the only dad in 20 generations who has "failed his child" in this way. Then he began to cry. Oy.

I'm so very tired. I'm a heap, a pile, a mountain of tired.

I love you. Hope you don't get tired of hearing that because I'll never stop saying it. I love, Henry.

-Lady Mama


Sunday, 6/10/07 10:30 p.m.

Dear Bridgie,

Yes, I'm up too late. I went to Myra's right after church to help her set up for Sophie's b-day party and didn't get home until after 6. Then I was determined to clean up a little, so I took out all the trash, cleared off the table and cleaned up the office. Now I'm good and tired, so maybe I'll sleep ok.

Last night I dreamed that we hired a detective to find you. Hen-Ben, I must still be fighting the fact that this really happened. When I got home from work I felt really fed up, like - come on, this is ridiculous, how long we've been allowing this charade to go on. It can't be true.

At church I finally broke the tear barrier. You probably thought I didn't love you anymore, it's been so long since I've cried over you. They showed a video clip from the Mathew film series of Jesus hugging and tumbling around with people, having compassion on them. I cried because I want him to do that for you.

Your dad gave a magnificent communion talk. He spoke about the "cup" we are given, and the cup that Jesus had to take. It helps me to think about what's happened to you and us as the cup we are given. I'll see if he can print it out for me. Maybe I'll paste it in here so I can read it whenever I need to.

Packah didn't come to church or Sophie's party. Hope he's ok.

Karl called tonight- left a message that he loves us and is thinking about us. I called back at Meg's but he wasn't there. I appreciated that call.

I saw Isaac and Courtney today; they came early to the party because they couldn't stay. Isaac is so tall! I got to wrestle and play with him for a while. He's so sweet and mischievous. Saul and Phin were there too. It was a good time.

Almost eleven...better turn in. The alarm goes off at 4:15. Hugs and kisses, precious Henry Benry. I love you bunches, as Isaac used to say.
Love, Mama Pajama

Monday, 6/11/07 8:45 p.m.

Dear Henry,
I'm super groggy. Didn't sleep - watched the clock all night. __ called in sick again, so I had to stay til close, and it was quite a busy day. Now I'm rock bottom tired. Don't know what to think about __. Maybe she's a hypochondriac. Maybe she really is sick. Either way, I can't depend on her. Gonna have to find someone new. Meanwhile Michael wants O.T. hours, so I guess I'll let him. Don't want to use myself up completely.

I really am having trouble believing this whole Henry death thing right now.

I'm also so sleepy I'm almost incoherent. I guess there'll be no more fun for me tonight. To bed with me.

I love you, I love you, I love you my sweet boy Hen-Ben,
Lady Mama

Wednesday, 6/13/07 9:30 p.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

I love writing to you because it keeps you close to me. Sort of.

Janaki's grandma, MJ, came in yesterday. She had that dazed look, that look you have when you've just lost a precious someone, a precious child. Her child was 50 years old. She told me she got out Kathy's baby shoes and her baby book. She looked so lost, so stricken. I know just how she feels.

Henry, I can't believe you are gone. I'm worn out. I worked all evening on the bank reconciliation. No time to play. Saul and Phin were supposed to come tonight, but Saul had a meeting.

Bluh. Exhausted.

I love you and I really really really really miss you, Hen Ben. Do you miss us? Why did you leave us?
Love, Mama


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

Hi Hen Ben,

Too much work lately, not enough time to write. My eyes are so heavy in the evening. Lots of news though. Maybe next week. There'll be more time then.

Just called to say I love you.
I love you,
Mama


Sunday, 6/17/07 9:45 p.m.

Dear Hen Ben,

Well, it's the close of the 2nd Father's Day since you left us. There was no truck washing today. Your pop rather suddenly decided to make a surprise visit to Lebanon. I spent the time trying to figure out how to print a sheet of photos for Theresa's collage. you'd think with a mac such things would be easy...

Myra brought your dad a bunch of coral gladiolas and a very sweet card. Pack came to church. Saul stopped by the church parking lot to find out what was up. I told him we're getting together next week for your dad's birthday, so he called today instead. Kind of an uneventful day, in a way, but not really, because of the Lebanon trip.

All days such as this seem oddly empty without you around. There's just a weird MISSINGNESS.

Looks like we may sign the lease next week, and the fella seems to think we could finance a condo too if we wanted. Wouldn't that be awesome? I hesitate to think that might really come true.

When we do leave this place, it will be hard because this was where you lived at the end of your life.

Scott Tiley Sr. died last night.

Happy Father's Day, Sweetheart.
Love, Lady Mama


Tuesday, 6/19/07 8:15 p.m.

Hi Sugar Biscuit,

Today I was remembering how you used to say "cool beans." When I remember this, it makes my heart clench.

I'm super frustrated that you are gone. I still can't believe it. Is that dumb??! I still want to scream noooo! You, our beloved, sweet, gifted, precious, cleft-chinned, cool beans Henry cannot be crushed and broken, dead and buried, lost in an instant, gone forever.

There's so much going on that I long to share with you. But I can't. These letters are just pretend. I'm not sure why I write them.

I have been avoiding the grief pit for a long time. It's like this...drawing of a stick figure facing away from a black hole...I turn my back on it. I stay away.

I'm tired.
-Mama

Wednesday, 6/20/07 9 p.m.

Dear Henry,

I'm a little less "stretched" tonight. I got to leave work about an hour earlier than usual, and that made a difference. I worked on your dad's birthday present tonight, got it wrapped up. I'll tell you later, just in case he reads this before present time.

The condo thing is going away. Turns out we'd need 30-40k for a down payment. But, your dad pointed out, we could probably start saving $100 a month, or close to it, and in a couple of years, we'd have a down payment. That is true. So I just have to be patient. No problemo.

Dr. Puterbaugh decided it's time for your dad to start doing insulin injections. Seems scary, but I guess it will do a much better job controlling his diabetes, and he will feel better, eyesight will improve, etc. So I guess we need to look on the bright side.

You know what surprises me? I'm surprised at how well I can compartmentalize my emotions regarding your death. To really think about it and take it in, is way too painful. It is too much. It makes me want to die. So, somehow, I stick it on a brain or heart shelf of some kind and walk around like nothing's wrong. How is this possible?

Horror is the word that comes to mind. June 7, 8, 9....2006. Horror. But then, perhaps you're in God's arms, all sorrows past. I pray it is so.

Now I must get to sleep. 5:00 work in the a.m.

I love you, sweet Hen Ben. Miss you. You are Cool Beans Henry Bones.
Love, Lady Mama


Friday, 6/22/07 9:15 p.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

It's your pop's birthday. We're going to have his party on Sunday - I think we're going to Outback. Wouldn't you love that! Today I brought home a new Tommy Bahama shirt and some sunflowers. I think he truly loves the shirt. It's a good bet - your dad loves to dress nicely, and nowadays I'm taking his shirts to the cleaners so they're neatly pressed. He's earned it.

Meg called tonight. Steve is becoming increasingly delusional due to the lack of oxygen. It won't be long before he'll be needing 24 hour care. For Meg's sake, I hope he goes soon. It will be a kindness all around.

I finished Ken and Theresa's collage tonight. I think it's pretty good. I hope they like it.

Tomorrow is BIG WORK day. I'm still plagued by the stuff I haven't gotten done....like an ad on Craig's list. But now, it's rest time.

I love you and miss you, Ben Bridge.
-Lady Mama

Sunday, 6/25/07 9 p.m.

Dear Henry,

I'd best be getting my little self to bed soon, but I hate to let Sunday go. We really had a nice day today. The only negative was that Myra couldn't come because James is sick, but at least Sophie got to come - Saul picked her up. I think your dad had a really good time. The presents were sweet and thoughtful: Myra gave him a nice bottle of chianti and one of Chandon champagne, and a sweet card signed by all; Pack gave him Firefly and a Playstation remote; Saul gave him a dvd player and Holy Grail and Ferris Beuller. I gave him the other present, a frame containing 2 photos of you on either side of an original copy of his poem, The Newcomer. I'm afraid it made him cry big-time.

Saul, Rabecca and Phin came to church. It was a great sermon about how the real work of Jesus is not done in the church but in the world. While Jeff spoke I was so overcome with a thought I almost went forward, just so I could share it. It's just this: as Christians we don't get a pass that gets us out of hard times. We have to take the good with the bad just like everyone else. What we do get is a solid foundation of a standard, a way to live, recognizing what is good and what is bad. Plus we get Jesus who shares our sorrow. He knows, and god knows just how I feel and he feels it with me. That is big. I don't think I appreciate yet how really big that is, but I want to get there.

Outback is not open for lunch, so we went to Applebee's. Oh well. Sophie got ribs, which was a High Goal.

After everyone let, your dad and I went to get the collage copied (unsuccessfully) and to get some shorts to go with his new shirt. We also found Thomas's birthday present at Tommy Bahama: a set of Mojito glasses. He and Myra love Mojitos. We'll get the ingredients to go with the glasses and that will make a dandy gift, I hope.

I'm kicking myself because I forgot to invite Courtney today. I'm sorry, Henry. At least we get to have Isaac over next weekend.

I'm still hiding from the horror. I'm afraid of it.

I wish you could visit me in my dream, and I would wake up and remember. I wish you could reassure me that you are alright. I ache with love for you. I'm helpless.
Love, Mama Pajama


Thursday, 6/28/07 8:00 p.m.

Dear Henry,

There's a nice rain falling. This is good because I've been worried that your little hemlock tree is thirsty. It's getting a sweet drink now.

Gosh, Henry, we've been so busy lately. There's so much to do, I'm there 10-12 hours every day. That's all good, but we don't get to see much of the family anymore, especially Isaac. Courtney emailed me today, and I think she's feeling as bad as I am about how little we see each other. I have to find a way to add Isaac and Courtney into our routine.

Your dad did his first insulin shots today. He thinks he already has improved eyesight. I'm really hopeful he'll keep getting better.

I'm tired Hen. My eyes keep rolling back in my head. There's lots to tell you. I'm just too zonked.

Please know how much I love you and miss you.
-Lady Mama

Monday, 7/2/07 8 a.m.

Hen Ben,

I'm at home today because Pack's working for me. He wanted to so that he will not be broke when he asks out a girl.

Yesterday your dad and I had the worst fight we've ever had. I'm still reeling. Should we break up, throw the whole Jim and Patty thing in the toilet? Wouldn't you know, it's time to decide whether to sign the new lease.

We made up yesterday, but I'm obviously not there yet.

Yesterday at church Dan preached about David, about sin and consequences, and then __ got up and confessed ____. It was a sad, sad day all around. Life is very tough. Very.

Love, Mama


Wednesday, 7/4/07 10:30 p.m.

Dear Bridgie,

Yes, it's late. I should be in bed. But I did sleep in til 8 this morning. Fireworks are going off, and it's pretty hot still.

I'm feeling better than I was last time I wrote to you. Your dad hasn't agreed to go to counseling with me, but now he supports my going. We decided to go ahead and sign the lease at the new place. A big step. We came pretty close to chucking it all, just giving up and closing her down. But we decided to keep hope alive. And, today, I'm glad we did.

Sam and Pack and I visited your grave today, along with Sam's girl friend. The grass is long around your grave, but no weeds have intruded. Next time I'll try to remember to bring hedge trimmers along.

I still feel disconnected from you, from my grief over you. I still feel disconnected from God. I just feel sort of disconnected from life.

Saul called today and told me he's dreamed of you every night lately. Makes him sad, missing you...

Well, tomorrow is coming on like a train. Better go to bed.

I love you, precious child.
Mama

Thursday, 7/6/07 5:30 a.m.

Good Morning Bridgie,

I have a few minutes before I need to leave for work - a little time to write to you.

I've been thinking about writing to God also. I have trouble getting myself to pray beyond a few words mumbled in my head before I drift off. I wonder if I'd get confused writing to both you and God? Sounds silly, but both of you are sort of "imaginary." I know you once existed and I hope you still do in heaven, and I hope you can receive my letters somehow. I know God exists in some incomprehensible way and I hope he hears my prayers. But both of you are in my head. Maybe I should write to Jesus. I'd like to be able to really love Jesus. Maybe he would save me.

When I got home yesterday your dad was sobbing. That picture I gave him with the poem is nearly too much for him to bear. He said he saw a young man in Trader Joe's yesterday who looked like you from behind, and he felt his arm reaching out. We so long to hug you and hold onto you, Hen Ben.

We signed the lease yesterday. Or, your dad did. I'm not on it.

Hugs, Ma


Friday, 7/6/07 9:00 a.m.

Bridgie,

I'm too tired and blue to write much today. At least we got our air conditioner installed today. Doug did it.

Why is there no answer when I call out in my heart for you? Because you are GONE. That's why.

I read a line tonight that seems true: "You can love someone so much, but you can never love someone as much as you can miss them."

I miss you, Bridgestone. I do miss you. Henry Abram Roberts. Henry Abram Roberts. It's a really good name. H.A.R.

Love, Sad-Faced Mama

Monday, 7-9-07 9:00 p.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

It was another rough Sunday. I seem to have a full-on deep dark case of the blues. Took a long walk in my flip-flops (Cook Park and back, plus an hour there reading under a tree). Sore toes today. I just wanted to get away and be sad. Your dad was sweet to me. He made me a gin and tonic in the middle of the night. Neither of us slept at all.

I miss you, and it's a brick wall. The world is a-kimbo and I can't get it righted. I'm lonely for you. I need to see your face.

Those damn pills killed my Hen Ben. picture of Henry and Isaac, and Henry and Courtney, and a drawing by Henry...

Wednesday, 7/11/07 8:15 p.m.

Hi Hen Ben,

Saul, Rabecca, Phin, Sophie and James just left. We had them over for hot dogs and root beer floats - kind of a hot-weather-summertime party. Isaac was going to come too, but Courtney remembered a prior engagement. It was a nice time. Next week hopefully Isaac can come.

Courtney talked to your pop yesterday and told him Isaac hiked over 4 miles at Silver Creek Falls. He also caught a snake all by himself with his bare hands! That boy is really fascinated by creatures and bugs.

It has been over 100 degrees the last two days. Our apartment stays pretty comfy though.

Pack did an imitation of you imitating Big Mike the other day. Remember? You'd walk stiffly to the counter, stick your finger in the air, say "soda please" and hurry like a robot to the couch. It was a precious memory, a new one to add to my bank.

Right now it seems like it would feel right to let loose a long string of super crunchy expletives. That's how I feel about you being destroyed. My mood today has been on the ragged side.

No one is sweeter than your dad to me though. Through thick and thin. We're in it together.

I love you, Baby-the-George.
Lady Mama


Sunday, 7/15/07 8:oo a.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

I've caught a cold over the last few days, and felt too tired to do anything in the evening but crash. So, I haven't written.

Your dad and I were talking about yawning - how interesting and mysterious a thing it is. One reason people yawn, apparently, is nervousness. We remember how you would yawn for that reason quite often.

I still sleep with your shirt. It is as close as I can get to actually hugging you. Sometimes I drape your shirt over my neck as I sleep. This is as close as I can get to getting hugged by you.

Our new landlord, Richard Larsen, had a best friend growing up whose brother killed himself. Then, one by one, all five children killed themselves, including his friend. How did the parents survive such a thing??

We are consumed, or at least I am, by thoughts of moving. One of the condo owners is interested in selling us his unit on a contract basis. It is so small, it truly would require a major change for us. I've been wishing for more room, not less, as the grandchildren get bigger. But it might be a good opportunity for us ex-chapter 13 folks. What to do??

How do I learn to live with this? I have to quit fighting it somehow. I have to accept what happened to you.

That's a tall order, Hen Ben.
Love, Mama Pajama


Sunday, 7/15/07 9:45 p.m.

Dear Sweet Bridgie,

I just read through all the cards we got from our customers. How precious they are! People don't know how meaningful those expressions are, especially those that talk about how wonderful you are. Words like "gentle," "kind," "happy eyes," "cheerful," "tall, lean and bright." And there's Tim's "endearing sly gentleness."

Didn't get much done today, but I did rest a lot. And I worked on new menu pricing ideas. Met Patrick's new date at church. Jessie is her name. Her father killed himself 2 years ago by jumping off the Fremont Bridge. I told her today how sorry I am about her dad, and said maybe sometime she could tell me all about him. I did that because I wish people would ask me to tell them all about you. No one ever does, though.

Jessie seems nice, and she doesn't seem to be a "hottie," if you know what I mean. I have a tiny hope this might work out well for Pack. I'll keep you posted.

Your dad and I have been getting along well. I don't feel the need to see a counselor. He says this is because he just decided to be nice to me. Well.

I need to get sleepy and hit the hay. How does one "get sleepy?" Glass of red wine, 3 aspirin for my headache. That's my toolkit. Hope it works.

Tears for you today. Love for you today. Hen Ben, please, please, please come back.
Love, Mama

Wednesday, 7/18/07 5:30 a.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

I have about 15 minutes before I need to leave for work, so here I am.

Is my voice fading? Are you fading? Don't go, Hen Ben. We need you.

I finished a great book last night: Just In Case. I wish you could have read it. A boy goes mad because he feels trapped by fate. The answer is, don't think in such broad strokes. Break it down. This piece of that piece is enjoyable. In between bad things, good things happen. And not every bad thing happens. We could have enjoyed talking about this together.

Last night Saul changed our menu pricing for us. Today should be interesting.

I couldn't sleep last night, 2 nights in a row. Your pop has been taking Ambien and it works like a charm. Maybe I should give up and try it.

Yesterday Bede went to see Mike about his "vote" on ___ future status at SW. Of course, he wants him to stay. Mike says that they've heard from a lot of people, and it's evenly divided. A lot of women are outraged, feel betrayed. So, either way, a lot of people may leave. I'd rather disappoint the unforgiving ones. If I must disappoint someone.

I haven't been working out for, let's see, a month and 1/2. Getting soft. I've lost my gumption: even on the odd days when my schedule would permit me to go, I just can't find it in me. Rather curl up in bed.

Guess I'd better get my shoes on and boogie.

I love you,
Lady Mama

Saturday, 7/21/07 10:30 p.m.

Hi Sugar Biscuit,

Look at me, I'm up late and not sleepy! What's going on, you ask? I didn't have to be at work until 8:30 today. Got up at 6, did a few chores and then put in a day's work. Somehow, I didn't get so worn out.

My cousin Debbie (Aunt Beth's daughter) surprised me by showing up at the shop today. She had her son Jason with her, who lives in Portland. It was fun to see her. She said she'll be visiting Portland often, so we'll see her again.

I got Jamie a Game Boy Advance and 2 games for his birthday: Kirby and Warrio. Pack got him Cars. I also got him a jar with pretend twinkling lightning bugs in it - this is coming in the mail. Too bad he's missing out on Uncle Henry's gift. He was always exited about your presents - they were so cool, every time. James had a special bond with you, Henry.

A man came int he other day and told me he's a member of the same awful club I belong to. He lost his 22 year old daughter 10 years ago on her birthday. She lost her balance and fell out a window after receiving an exuberant birthday hug from her friend. Good grief. Where on earth does that expression come from? Good grief? What an unearthly shock that must have been.

I went to visit Meg and Steve after your pop went to bed tonight. Steve's birthday was July 13th, so I brought him some irises and tulips and a box of donuts. I know, what a weird birthday present. But I figure donuts are always appropriate, and it's hard to know what to give him. He seemed pretty well tonight - Meg bought him a laptop, and he's been really loving it. I felt encouraged by my visit. I brought your art book and they enjoyed looking at it.

Today when I came home (or was it yesterday? Yes, it was yesterday) your sweet pop was sobbing over you again. He was watching "In America" about an Irish family in NY during the 80's, struggling to survive. Their son Franky dies.

I was so tempted to turn right out of Meg's neighborhood and visit your grave. I've never been there at night. But, home was beckoning.

I love you, punkin.

Oh yeah - I saw Courtney and Isaac and her mom today. They stopped by the shop on their way to see Whitney and her new baby girl, Hayley. I'll see Isaac and Courtney again tomorrow at Jame's party. I'll tell you all about it. This much I'll say: he's TALL and GOOD LOOKIN. Like his daddy.

Hugs,
Lady Mama

Tuesday, 7/24/07 10:00 p.m.

Hi Bridgie,

I'm up late, huh? My schedule is beginning to loosen up. I'm getting home earlier, and sometimes go in later. Like, tomorrow I don't have to get there til 6:30. And next week I've scheduled Tuesday off! I'm a little at a loss about what to do with so much free time. Part of me just wants to sleep.

We had a really nice party at Myra's on Sunday. Jamie had a good time and was his usual gracious self, so that we all felt we'd chosen exactly the right gift. Isaac gave him 3 transformers. Pack brought Jessie. We acted out Sophie's play, Baba Yoga, and Jessie played the part of Natasha. Jessie seems to be good for Pack so far. He seems to be drinking and smoking less, and he looks more relaxed and happy than I've seen him for a while.

Your dad had a vivid dream of you last night. He saw someone in the pick-up, and when he approached he saw a young man who looked a lot like you - a different sort of beard. The young man said that a friend had loaned him the truck and he was returning it. Jim asked, did you put any gas in it? The man blushed, ducked his dead and said no. Then he got out of the car and ran off into traffic, almost getting run over. By now Jim realizes it's you, and he yells, be careful, don't get run over now! He said you acted like you didn't quite know who Jim was.

He said the dream made him happy, made him feel close to God - to want to pray. And he really felt like he'd seen you.

He said he doesn't realize how much he misses you until something like that dream happens.

I don't know why I don't dream of you.

I fasted yesterday in participation with SW and the elders' decision regarding ___. I want them to reinstate him. If he wants to stay, that is.

This is a tough old world, Henry. Really really tough. I know there's good stuff going on too, but man. Well, I guess that's no surprise.

I was remembering when we sang hymns to my dad; he couldn't speak, but he cried. Those are good memories.

Henry, we love you so much. I pray that you are at peace.

Love,
Mama

Thursday, 7/26/07 11:00 p.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

It's your melancholy mama, up too late. I wasted a bunch of time tonight watching Pretty Woman. Can't shake the malaise enough to do anything productive. Let's see, I did the dishes, did 2 loads of laundry, cleaned the floor by the front door, and rigged a bag of vinegar water to soak the shower head. That's about it, other than the normal work day.

Now I need to get sleepy.

Myra's making cupcakes tonight. It'll be fun to sell those tomorrow.

I'm just kind of sad, Bridgie. Especially when I'm alone. I sigh a lot.

Yesterday your dad had a really good talk with Jeff. I'm so, so glad. Jeff told him many things - it seems Jeff and Sandy are more like us than we ever knew.

Saul, Rabecca and Phin were over last night. Phin slept the whole time. We had a good time talking though.

Better go to bed, honey. I miss you. I pray you are alright. I have a very large heart ache, for you.

-Mom

Saturday, 7/28/07 11:50 p.m.

Dear Henry,

Kinda late, huh? I'm still living in Dullardsville, not able to shake the blues or get motivated. Sigh.

I was given a tour of the guy's condo who wants to sell to us on contract. Sure is tiny. Can't stop pondering the challenges we'd face fitting in there. I guess it's worth talking to him to see what kind of deal he proposes.

I feel worthless tonight. Maybe God needs to pick me up by the loose skin at the back of my neck and give me a good shake. But then, I might fall apart completely.

I don't really know what to do.

Goodnight, honey. I miss you.
-Mama

Tuesday, 7/31/07 9 p.m.

Dear Hen Ben,

Wow! What a day I had! It was a beautiful day off, and I got so much done! I started last night: went to Safeway and bought some red and white carnations, then took them to your grave. I've never been there that late before - it was around 8 or so. It was nice, cool, breezy, quiet. I've never seen anyone else there. Then I stopped at Toys R Us and bought Isaac's birthday transformers. Today I got the apartment cleaned up, re-potted some plants and planted some new ones. Rosemary, oregano, petunias, heliotrope - it smells really nice out front.

Sunday was a nice day too. We went to the Farmer's Market, and did a little shopping at Washington Square. Your dad bought an ambient sound machine - it helps him sleep. I bought a blouse.

I've been trying hard to shake the blues and have a little fun. I know you don't want me to be sad all the time. It's hard, Henry. But I'm trying.

I'm relieved that the apartment is clean.

Did you know that if you put a piece of paper on your forehead and write your name on it, you'll write backwards? Hmm.

I wish.....you know.

Hugs,
Mama Pajama

Wednesday, 8/1/07 10:15 p.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

I get to stay up late because I don't have to be at work until 10 tomorrow. That's because I have a doctor's appointment in the morning. I finally gave in to your dad's pressure and scheduled a check-up. Lab tomorrow, office visit Monday. I will have to do all the gross things people must when they're over 50.

When I snuggled into our clean sheets the other night I remembered how blessed I am. So many people don't have a bed at all. People are struggling for survival. In spite of the pain our family bears, we are still very blessed. Woody Allen in Annie Hall says life is divided between the horrible and the miserable. I guess so. There are some bright spots too.

I had the photos removed from my iMac today. Cost 5 bucks. I'm relived to have those safely copied.

Today a bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during rush hour. Very scary.

Sometimes I wish I could sit by your grave all the time. I know you're not there. But your bones are.

Love,
Mama

Tuesday, 8/7/07 8:45 p.m.

Hi Honey,

It's been almost a week since I wrote to you. I think of you, I see your face, your long lanky beautiful body in my mind's eye, my heart clenches up. What a familiar pain it is.

Today I truly did have a lazy day. Did a few errands, but mostly I played games, watched Firefly and munched. A nice day off. Two in a row would really be rich. Someday I guess it'll happen.

We had a nice time with Isaac Saturday night and Sunday, although I was so wiped out after our record day Saturday that I could barely function. Isaac was very cooperative and pleasant. Sunday at church Packah took care of him while I was on the singing team. Courtney hung out with us at Isaac's party and seemed to have a good time. I'm really glad she still feels comfortable with us and wants to keep up with us.

I started my doctor check-up process. I'm healthy as a horse except for my thyroid, apparently. Mayhap I'll live a long time if I don't get hit by a truck or something.

Pack's gone 2 nights without drinking. I pray he makes it tonight too. I told the doc how worried I am about him. He said, sounds like he needs a good woman.

Think I'll go play a round of mahjong.

I love you, sweet Hen Ben Boy.
Mama

Thursday, 8/9/07 10:45 p.m.

Dear Henry,

I was busy tonight: first I reconciled the account for July, then I made a detailed closing checklist for work. You would be pleased, I bet - you liked things to be orderly at J&P's. Tomorrow we'll give the list a trial run.

July sales were down a bit from June, but I think August will be our best month yet. We're in for some lean times, maybe, with the move coming up. I hope we won't have to be closed for long.

Pack has gone 4 nights without drinking. He says he feels a lot better, but it's scary. We ordered an ambient sound machine on line yesterday - he thinks it'll help him sleep.

I've begun to pray for something specific, and I promised God I would pray every day for this: that is, for your dad and Stan and Dan to work together to spread the Good News. I think this would truly give Jim a satisfaction, give him a feeling that he is using his talenst as he should.

Of course, I pray for you, that you are happy and free. And for Saul and Pack and Mar and the little ones. And Courtney. And Jeff and Sandy. For everyone I love.

Are you happy and free? Oh heartache.

Hearts for you, my Bridgie,
Mama Pajama

Saturday, 8/11/07 midnight

Dear Sweet Hen Ben,

I don't feel like I get the juice out of Saturday night unless I stay up late.

Henry, since you left I'm sad. I guess there's no other way to put it. I can ignore it pretty well until I'm alone. Then I have to play stupid games or watch stupid TV to avoid it. When it wins, I feel empty, and like a loser. I can't seem to do anything useful or creative. I don't feel so good.

Last night I dreamed of you. You told me something, but I don't remember what. I have this theory, based on my dream of Mother, that if I can't remember, it must not have been a real vision, just a dream. It wasn't really you.

Seems like a lot of nonsense sometimes. Until I remember that dream. Mom's smile, her beautiful young self, her body through the screen door. Her comfort. Not nonsense.

Henry, I'm so so damaged. I have to figure out how to rebuild myself so that God's purpose for me can happen. It feels like trying to build a house around a dark hole.

I must be tired. Don't mean to be so dismal. Forgive me, honey.

Pack is still sober. Not smoking as much either. There is a blessing.

I love you. I really love you. (I love you too.) Yeah, but I REALLY love you.

-Mama

Tuesday, 8/14/07 9:15 p.m.

Hi Hen Ben,

Today was kind of a Big Day for me. It was rather well-rounded. I did a little housework (the kind that makes a big difference: clean sheets, clean patio doors, vacuuming). I revised some of my old stories and printed them. I did a little J&P paperwork. I worked on my Samson and Delilah lesson. And I played games on the computer. See? A good day.

Oh yes, I did one more Big Thing. I ordered a framed print of Rembrandt's Prodigal Son. This is for you.

Yesterday evening I went to the cemetery, around 8-9 p.m. I sat with your bones as the sun went down. I didn't cry. In fact, I haven't cried for a few days.

Sunday we saw a boy who looked like you in an odd way. Baseball cap, plaid shirt, hands in pockets, baggy jeans. I felt myself starting to think, "I knew it!"

Looks like Doug will be a partner in our company. We are coming up short on cash for the build-out, and he is willing to make up the difference in exchange for a share. If we're going to partner with anyone, he'd be the best choice, don't you think?

Dad made bouillabaise last tonight. Wow. You would have LOVED it. Hopefully God is serving you Perfect Food right now.

Another summer without you is winding down. I miss you, precious boy. And I love you.

-Mama Pajama
P.S. I am glad I can trust God to love every single person in the world.

Wednesday, 8/15/07 9:15 p.m.

Hi Sweetheart,

Troubles...Saul is having such a hard time with Denice. He did a hair follicle test that came out positive for cocaine, so now she's filed an emergency motion to keep Phin completely away from him. He swears he's never taken cocaine even once in his life, and there seem to be many reasons for a false positive. Saul's going to have to find a good lawyer. Whey is Denice being so hard on him? I can't understand. It's awful and cruel to Phin and Saul.

Things get pretty ugly down here, don't they? I hope it's better where you are.

I'd better try to get sleepy now. Not enough sleep last night....

I love you, Hen Ben.
-Mama Pajama

Thursday, 8/16/07 7:45 p.m.

Hen Ben,

We need to thank God because Saul found a lawyer he likes who will go with him to court on Friday. Even if he loses this battle, at least he'll have an advocate. I feel better.

Just wanted to let you know, because I know you love your brother. By the way, Pack is still sober! Yay!!

Love,
Lady Mama

Sunday, 8/18/07 8:30 a.m.

Dear Henry,

We've been talking about you a lot. Your dad has many very clear memories of you as a child. I don't. You slipped under the radar so much, staying out of trouble, doing ok in school. Remember how I left you behind so many times? I'm so embarrassed about that. I hope the memories will return. I'm desperate for any little scrap of Hen Ben that I can hold secure.

You called Patrick to say goodbye. To me that is more evidence that your condition was a result of the Prozac. Most people who are about to kill themselves don't do that. You were still reaching out to your family, not fully wanting to break the tie.

Hey, Saul won the battle! Denice's motion was denied. Yay! So Phin's party is "on" this afternoon.

I prayed about this. Thank you, Father.

I had my thyroid ultrasound Friday. Wonder what it takes to be an ultrasound technician? Seems like an interesting job.

It's raining this morning. Nice.

Love,
Mama

Tuesday, 8/21/07 9:45 p.m.

Dear Henry,

I keep falling into Blueness. Today my day off was less fun and productive than I'd hoped. I did get my brakes fixed (Brake Team, as you advised), got my FH card renewed and made a dentist appointment. That's about it, though. Part of the trouble is that I insist on reading a book I bought yesterday that is very badly written. It sucks, but I'm reading it anyway. Dumb.

So, I'm blue. I wasted my day. I feel fat and ugly and unproductive and weary.

I suppose tomorrow will be better. Work. Am I happier at work? That's dumb too.

I'm sorry. Why do I pick up my pen just to complain at you? Not very nice.

I do feel like a puddle of goo. And, it may be an illusion, but it seems like if you walked in the door right now, all my blueness would vanish. I'd be free.

Saul's second hair follicle test came back negative. What a relief! Phin's party was nice. Courtney and Isaac couldn't find Saul's apartment so she met everyone at Chuck E Cheese. Dad and I didn't go to that part.

I should go to bed. I love you. Big news, huh?
-Lady Mama of the Lowlands

Saturday, 8/26/07 9 p.m.

Dear Hen Ben,

I'm sitting in the bathroom while Isaac takes a bath. He's being so good tonight, and talking clearly about many things. He looked through your baby book. He's more interested in talking about you than he has been. "My daddy, my daddy.." It's good to have him here. The cloud of sadness has lifted a little.

He found a bunch of your check stub envelopes I'd stuck in the pocket of the book. "These are letters my daddy made for me," he told me.

I saw on TV about a company that makes pillows in the shape of a person with a photo of the parent on it who is in the military overseas. I wonder if it would be good in the case of a parent who has died?

I still sleep with your t-shirt. I don't know if it's "good for me" to do that, or even if it comforts me, but I don't want to stop.

Our Prodigal Son painting came. It's hung over the fireplace. I love it. I want to absorb it.

Tomorrow I teach my class on Samson. I have prepared myself and all my toys. Saul made me some beautiful foxes. I'll let you know how it goes.

Also tomorrow at 10:00 there will be a meeting at SW when the elders will announce their decision about __.

I keep playing out the scene at the cliff. Only I throw my arms around you and drag you back. Or there is a safety net just over the edge. Or an angel catches you partway down. I keep seeing this.

Isaac is really cute tonight. You must be bursting with love and pride. Like I am over you.

Love and hugs,
Mama Pajama

Sunday, 8/27/07 10:45 p.m.

Dear Hen Ben,

I'm staying up late, trying to get sleepy. I'm finally getting there.

I just wrote a card to the Lupers. In a few days it'll be the one year anniversary of their son's suicide. Also, this month is 10 years since Robbie Israel died. I found a note in a Beantalk about it that I'm going to send to Bob and Sarah.

Isaac was really well behaved until we got to church. Then Naughty I-Man was revealed. But it was ok. Myra came over for hamburgers after church. She was alone: kids in Seattle, Thomas at work. My Samson class is postponed until next week.

Well, Hen, they decided to fire ___. I was a little surprised. It's sad. This is a tough deal for his family. They're ging to face some hard times financially, maybe. __ is so talented, but I'm sure he's feeling very low right now.

Dave called today and talked to me for almost 2 hours. He is sweet. I feel less depressed tonight and I think I owe that to Dave and Isaac.

Now I'd better get some sleep. Five o'clock shift tomorrow.

I love you, Punkin.
-Mama

Wednesday, 8/29/07 9:15 p.m.

Dear Henry,

I wonder why I have no tears for you anymore? I'm just sad. When you died, I think your sadness needed to be borne by me. I couldn't save you, but at least I can carry your sadness. I own it now.

If only we could talk.

Someone smashed Pack's windshield and side rear window last night. Poor kid can't seem to catch a break.

We're gonna close Labor Day - Sunday we'll visit Grandma and Grandad. I'll bring your book to show them.

I'm sleepy, love. Better hit the sack.

Jim bought me flowers today!

Dentist and haircut yesterday - gettin' stuff done.

Love,
Mama Pajama