Today is a day that stands out in my parents mind. It is the Friday before Labor Day. This weekend has had a very specific feel for a very specific reason for my entire life. I know when I was in college I asked my parents to tell me the story. I know I wrote it down and it was an essay for a class I was taking. Now I sit in T.J.'s office with 8 little floppy discs in front of me and a computer that no longer has a place to insert a floppy disc. I know bits and pieces of the story. I have heard certain things in different context than ever in an actual timed outline of events. I know that it all started on the Friday before labor day, so I will try and put the pieces that I have in my mind down on "paper" and I hope I do it justice.
I know that evening my mom and Dad and my sister and brother, Mikey were eating Drumsticks. I know that he was fine and playing, acting as any normal 2 year old would. I am not sure if it was late that night or early the next day that Mikey vomited. He did it again and then he became lethargic. My mom took him to the doctors office and from their they took him to the hospital. I know he went from a perfectly healthy boy to a very sick boy in a very short time. I don't know much about the next 2 days. I know he spent them in the hospital and had many tests run. As far as I know they expected him to recover until he went septic. He was only sick for three days when he died on the 4th. He died on Monday, labor day, 1978. He was 2 months shy of 2 years old. He left 2 loving parents and a 4 year old sister with a very vivid memory. To this day sis can tell you about the day he died. My dad came to pick her up at a close friends house and when she went to hug him there was a bee on his back and she got stung. My dad has told me the story of how in her 4 young years she announced at a party at the friend's house "you'll never guess what, Mikey is dead".
My mom has told me things like that she does not remember the funeral. My dad said she passed out and he counts that as a blessing. They talk about the grief, the fear and about certain things that happened. I know when he got sick, it was in a glass measuring bowl, hence why I have never and will never use one. I know he ate a drumstick before he got sick. I know my mom still wonders if he ever got any of the pond water from their back yard in his system. I know my dad was not in the room when I was born because he was there for Mikey's and not my sister's. He said the only child he saw enter this world he saw leave it and he would not do that again. I know Mikey had a little push toy that was a taxi and that he had a game called pass the nuts. I know that my mom had taken him and my sister to get their pictures taken and he died in the time it took to pick them up. When she went back to get the pictures he was gone. I know that I have always held a special spot for Mikey in my heart. I used to question whether or not I would even be on this Earth if he hadn't died. My parents have always said that was silly, of course I would be....but would I be? I was born after he died. My father had a vasectomy reversed. They had the perfect family. One boy, one girl. Then that world ended. I have always grieved for my brother. I have missed who he would have been. How our relationship would have been. I used to think of him as a baby, until I had a 22 month old and I realized he was a person. I used to feel bad for my parents, until I lost a baby and knew what losing a child felt like and bad couldn't begin to describe it. I used to think this was a bad weekend, until I watched my best friends lose their son in a similarly freak and sudden way. Now I see the pain that my parents went through 33 years ago in the eyes of a dear friends. I can feel the dread of the days as they linger and the thoughts of what and where they were and what if anything they could have done to change it. As I grieve Austin and watch his mother deal with his impending "season" I feel like I am finally realizing a little of how my parents have been feeling for the past 33 years. 33 flippin years and this weekend still sucks. It still takes them back to the days, the hours and the events. I pray they find a little peace as they take this journey once again. I know they have helped not only me and my losses, but Rob and Jamie as well. It is an amazing gift and a curse to have parents who know your pain. To have the people you love, respect and admire more than anyone be in the same "club" none of us wanted to join. Something I would never wish on anyone, but I feel blessed to have as well. Mikey you know I love you and I know some day I will finally meet you and I know you will be waiting with open arms. I will end this with a quote from a song that has always been my song for Mikey. I have always wondered if he would still be 22 months old if he would look the same and if he would know who I was. I have only known him in pictures and stories I have always wondered....
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?