Today is my son David’s birthday. He would have been twenty-nine years old. It is also one thousand days since he died. How do I know that? Well, sometimes I do strange little math games while I’m walking/jogging in the mornings. For a while, I tallied each day as it passed, but sometime after one hundred I got lost. More recently, after several days of trying different ways to calculate it, and each time coming near a thousand, I found an online calculator and plugged in the dates. Yep, one thousand days…
Nine hundred and ninety-nine days ago, or nine hundred and ninety days ago, or nine hundred days ago, I don’t think I could have imagined surviving to one thousand. It sounds like such a long time. So many days, so many nights. So many tears. Such a piercing pain. But I have survived. Am I “over it?” Never! But the fierce pain isn’t there all the time any more. It still comes back. I can be back in that ICU room in an instant. But sometimes I can be happy, and mean it.
My Mark has been a rock. I’ve cried so many tears on his shoulders. My Annie has been my co-traveler in grief.
So, today is his birthday. I want to try to remember good times…
When David was a little tiny guy, he wanted to be a chef! Like almost all toddlers, he liked playing with pots and pans.
He also wanted to cook!
When he was four years old, I think, he was a chef for Halloween. Easiest costume ever! I made a huge chef hat from a white posterboard for the band, and a big circle of shiny white wrapping paper gathered and taped to the band to make a big pouf on top. I got white sweats, and safety-pinned wooden spoons, whisks, plastic spatulas, etc. all over him! Fun!
And, as for almost all kids, big cardboard boxes were an endless source of entertainment. For a while, every box had to be made into a stove! He would draw burners and knobs and dials on top, and an oven door on the front. In the oven, on every box, was a birthday cake! And on every cake was a flaming candle, with smoke rising from it! So cute! I looked for a photo of one of his stove-boxes. I couldn’t find one; I don’t know if there are any.
I had taken one of his stove drawings and transfered it to a sweatshirt, then traced it with that plastic-y shirt paint that was so prevalent then. I even had his photo taken in that sweatshirt, (although he didn’t think much of the toy cooking gear; he wanted the real stuff!)
And then, I remembered! I still have that shirt! Thank you, Mom, for saving it for me!
Two birthday cakes in this oven, and probably macaroni and cheese on the stove! 🙂
Drawing stoves eventually went by the wayside, as did playing chef. But David still liked to cook. He stayed with us for several months the summer before he died, and he helped me make dinner almost every day. He grilled, he chopped veggies for salads. We got some Hatch green chiles, and made green chile salsa. One day we made kebabs, and he was so proud of them that I took a photo.
The last birthday photo I have of him is from five years ago, on his twenty-fourth birthday.
Happy Birthday, David! I’ll love you forever!