Where do I find my son? Where can I talk to him?

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Sometimes it hurts to look at pictures, to remember how happy we once were.

Andrew and I used to talk to each other often. Whether it be over the phone, via e-mail, texts, or whatever, we communicated a lot. I loved those father/son communications. They made me feel part of his life, made me feel that I was needed, and that my advice was sought after by my son – something any father can appreciate.

That has all changed. The communication is now one way, and I am not sure if it is actually communication anymore. I talk to him, but does he listen? Does he know what I am saying? People are going to tell me he listens and he knows what I am saying, of course, but who really knows? I still have the need to talk to him, I still need to tell him what is going on in our lives and, most important, what I am feeling.

Where do I talk to him? Where do I go visit him? There are a few places.

One is in temple. That is probably the hardest place. It is in the sanctuary that I last gazed upon my son’s beautiful face. It is where we had his funeral, where I last talked to him face to face. It is also where we had happy events: his pidyon haben when he was born and welcomed into the Jewish religion, his Bar Mitzvah when he became a man, and his Hebrew school graduation. It is where we went for his friends’ Bar Mitzvahs, and for the High Holidays. We spent a good amount of time in that sanctuary – all of it happy until the very end.

PG3_2120I stop by the temple once in a while to sit there alone, in the dark, and gaze at the front of the room where his casket once sat. I talk to him. I tell him how I miss him, how we are doing as a family, and ask him how he is. Dorothy and I go together to temple Friday nights, but there are others there, and the mood is much different. I look over at Dorothy once in a while and see a tear in her eye, and I know what she is seeing and what she is thinking…without saying a word. I enjoy going there; I recall things there that I cannot recall anywhere else.

I also visit him where his body now lies. He is not there spiritually, but his body is at peace at the cemetery. It is where I can see his name inscribed in granite: “Beloved Son, Brother, Grandson, Father.” I am reminded of the cold truth that he will not see his son grow up, of how much his grandma and bubby miss him, and how much his sister’s life has changed since he is gone. I also know that he is at peace there, alone but for a few other graves nearby, listening to the stream just a few feet from him, and that Daphne, sitting next to me, knows that something is special about that spot that we visit. I think it is only his body there, not his spirit, not who he was, but it is still nice to visit that small plot of grass that is forever his.

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Andrew’s Garden

Where is he that I can talk to him? I think I connect to him most in our backyard;  what is now called Andrew’s garden. Andrew and I sat out there many nights during his last summer home, built a small fire, and talked. There is nothing out there that was his, nothing with his name on it, nothing that he played with or held dear. But what is there is the memory of how close he and I were. He told me all about his life, about how he learned so much from the therapist he was seeing in NY to cope with his anxiety. He told me how much he looked forward to his senior year in Boulder, and how he was thrilled to be a psychology major now. We talked about everything, including what I do for a living, how much I enjoy my work, and what he wants to do for a living, and hoped that he enjoys his life’s decisions as much as I do. He so much wanted to help others and knew that one day he would. He asked me about the cars I drove growing up, and how he loved to drive his stick shift. There was no topic that was off the table. It was truly a special summer talking to him by the fire for hours.

The last place I talk to him is in his bedroom, which is right next to my office, and pretty much the way he left it. Of course we have cleaned it up a bit, and we have gifted or donated some of his possessions to people who mean something to us, but it is still the way he left it. We gave Andrew’s desk and his suits that he only wore once to Guillermo, who told me whenever his grandson wears them he thinks of Andrew and says a prayer. We gave Todd his snowboard, so we know it is being used by someone who was Andrew’s closest confidant. We gave away little things here and there so that the memory of Andrew lives on in other places, and with other people. But there is so much more of him in the room.

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Andrew’s guitar. He taught himself to play because he loved to create music.

I go in the room and sit on his bed. I smell his pillow, and I run my hand over his guitar. I look at the pictures of him, and at the things that he held close. I see his glasses that he loved to wear, his Rubiks cubes he loved to solve, his hockey trophies, his team jackets, and his other toys. I sit there and I ask him how he is, where he is, and let him know how much we all miss him. I ask him why he is not here anymore, and that he really should be here. It kills me that he is gone, that my son is not with me anymore, that he will not grow up any more – and I tell him that. But my pain falls on deaf ears.

But as I said before, the conversation is one-sided. I talk; that’s it. Sometimes I look up when I talk and ask questions in the hopes that he sees my face from above…and remembers me, and sees my love for him. Other times I hold my face in my hands to hide my streaming tears. It is different every time.

But I still talk to him, I still talk to my son, every single day.

 

18 thoughts on “Where do I find my son? Where can I talk to him?

  1. Howard Sklar

    Perry,
    Everything you write allows me the pleasure of knowing all about Andrew and your loving relationship with him. It makes my relationship with my son more dear to me each day and for that I thank you and Andrew.
    All the best
    Hoard

    Reply
    1. Lynette Santiagi

      Perry,
      Your writings grab at my heart deeply. I have always appreciated my daughter and shown her love, but after reading your writings, I appreciate her EVEN more. The love you shared with Andrew ran so deep that it has manifested into these powerful writings. People who have never experienced a sudden loss will never understand why you continue to write and speak about Andrew. I thank God a million times I have not lost a child but do understand the profound loss of losing someone suddenly/tragically and I can only imagines it becomes MAGNIFIED when it is a child as they are NOT suppose to go before their parents. Thank you for putting all your pain into words that can send a message to people. A message that those who have lost a child are not alone and those that have their children, to cherish them with more intensity.

      Reply
  2. Sally Klein

    I am hoping Andrew has appeared or will appear in a dream sometime, Perry. It will help you alot. Meanwhile, definitely keep talking to him as I feel very strongly he does hear you!

    Reply
  3. Joanne Frizalolne

    He’s with you and hears you every day. As crazy as it sounds, I am certain there is a response…in a gentle breeze or some other manifestation. If you are acutely aware, you will feel it and it will bring you a bit of comfort. I know thiis and you will also. The journey has many surprises.

    Reply
  4. Laura

    Perry, Andrew is listening. He is all around you. My son Andrew passed away on March 21 of this year. He died peacefully in his sleep from a drug interaction that caused his body to shut down. He was only 29 yrs old. I am still very raw and still quite shocked. I hate this life alteration that has been forced upon us but I try my best to get out of bed every day and keep moving forward through the grief. Some days are horrendous and others are tolerable. Every day is still so full of tears. I miss talking, texting and seeing my sweet Andrew’s face. I miss the bond that we shared. I miss every tiny little thing about him. But I still talk to him all the time. And I believe he hears me because I can feel his spirit all around me. Most nights while lying in bed reading I can feel him next to me, putting his head on my shoulder like he did as a small child. Keep talking and talking and talking to your Andrew. And listen with your heart. He will hear and respond to you. Thank you for sharing your grief journey with us through this blog. God’s blessings to you and your family. ~Laura~

    Reply
  5. Dorothy

    Perry,

    What a wonderful story. It really touched me…

    Andrew is listening to you in his own beautiful way…

    Much Love, Dorothy

    Reply
  6. anonymous

    Thanks got sharing, I did not read all of your posts but the parts I read touched my heart. Reading this will make me appreciate my relationship with my kids. I can see that you had a beautiful relationship and there no way that you will ever forget. I also believe that you will see him one day.

    Don’t loose touch he is listening.

    Reply
  7. Dru West

    Perry, I add my sorrow for the loss of your wonderful son, for his loss, for yours, your wife’s and all your family. My daughter Julia died two years ago and I too talk to her both out loud and in my thoughts. All we can do is hope that they hear us. Our children are part of us, always and forever. This is not what we ever imaged for their lives or ours.

    Reply
  8. Susan wallace

    Perry,

    For reasons I can’t explain, I stayed away from your blog for awhile. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t handle all the pain you experience, and there is nothing I can do or say to help… But, the other day one of my colleagues stopped by my classroom and said she somehow stumbled upon your page through my FB account. She went on to tell me how touched she is by your posts, her eyes filled up, and she wanted me to let you know how strong she thinks you are. I decided I need to be strong too, so I’m back. Back to read your beautiful words, understand your thoughts…

    I am hopeful that Andrew hears you and listens to your words. The cemetery is a special place to go, and you are right – it’s his place, somewhere his body rests. I find your words inspirational as always… Facing things that are unavoidable and bring back sad memories. But you power through; you find a way to put s positive spin on it.

    Andrew was a lucky man to have the relationship he did with you… Nothing can ever change that. My heart is with you always!

    Reply
  9. Choo Nyuk Lin

    Hi Perry,
    I could resonate with how you are feeling as I have lost my son Kenny six years ago in a road accident; he was 22 then and was finishing his engineering degree. I too, find solace at his resting place, and inside the small 4wd that he used to drive.
    My heart goes to you and your family.

    Reply
  10. SUSAN BEHLKE

    When our Darrin, 31, first died I would dream about him a lot. But, he was always walking away from me, I would never see his face. But now, the last couple of months, I see him. He is gone 13 years. So Perry, we all have messages from God waiting for us. I think I’ve gotten mine. Look for yours, your beautiful Son is Happy in his new place, just waiting for you. Be strong, and be happy. I know that’s what every body says, but it’s true. You have to live the time you have left, and then meet him where you will glorious together. God bless you and be with you.

    Reply
  11. Don Begier

    Thank you for the post. I too talk to my Beau. I feel the same way you do. I talk to him in a variety of places. I still miss him so! Peace to all of you!

    Don

    Reply

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