today is a difficult day for my family. particularly for by my brother. nine years ago today, we lost our angel, nick to leukemia, he was only 12. much, much too soon. it remains a fresh scar in my brother's heart, honestly i don't know how my brother does what he does. he is one of the strongest men i know (the other strong man is my other brother). my big bro has taught me so much and been my protector my whole life.
i have struggled with guilt over not being there enough for my sweet nephew. big bro reminds me that nick spent about five years of his short life in the hospital. oh yeah right, i was also caught up in the insanity of corporate america. i hope someone reads this and decides not to make the choices i did. yes, kids grow up too quickly......but god forbid...sometimes they don't grow up. big bro was with him every step of the way, cleaning up puke, making him laugh, loving him......either of us would have taken his place if we could. the loss of a child is more than any human should ever have to bear. for me it challenges every faith and philosophy that i hold dear. i cannot make any sense of it. except for maybe the song, "only the good die young." but that doesn't even work for me. i miss him. i didn't have much time with him. but those times i did have with him were nothing short of profound. he was a wise soul. indeed, an angel.
to parents who have struggled with that which should not be struggled with, try this: write down everything your angel said to you. you will find every word is profound. i now believe after much gut wrenching prayer and meditation, this: the shorter the life, the more important the message. my nephew was a sage, who taught me so much and was instrumental in melting my icy heart.
i feel nick every where. i see his name every where. when he passed i was sitting on the sofa in my apartment, alone. i felt a chill on my right side and was instantly comforted. i knew it was nick. i said, "nick, shouldn't you be with george?" i heard him clearly - he said, "there is enough to go around." there is enough to go around. there is enough to go around. i get chills to this day. that is a lesson we could all learn. it applies to so many situations.
picture taken in pittsburgh by peggy
i know it sounds crazy, but i feel him all the time. and i see his name everywhere. what does this have to do with the humble flower pot above? once i was at target admiring flower pots. particularly thrilled to see the vietnamese pots, which were rather new to the country at the time. (see previous post here). i couldn't decide which vase to buy. i stood before the pots, in a daze. kind of dreamily staring. nick popped into my head, always a pleasant experience. i picked up this beautiful pot and looked at the bottom. the name of the manufacturer was Nikki. i got chills, no brainer. thanks for making my decision for me, nick. this pot went home with me and is now my favorite possession.
another time i was getting off the bus after a long hard day. i was miserable and hot. it was july 1. ahh, it was nick's birthday. how old would he be? i was angry with myself because i was too tired to do the math in my head, dammit. i was mad at god, nick would be such a fine man. i walked toward my apartment and spied my car in the distance. oh shit! there is something neon yellow on my windshield. a ticket?!!! for what? in a huff, i went to grab the ticket and my anger was immediately diffused. it was a pamphlet. from a place called Nick's Diner. i shit you not. i stood there in chills and awe. he was with me again, and he reminded me that all the stupid shit i worry about doesn't matter. thank you nick.
a pic of the sidewalk by my previous apartment. like i said, i see your name everywhere....
and miss you so much.
here is a bittersweet photo of nick and i. sorry for the poor quality. (pre-digital, if i can get a better scan, i will update). this is about 10 years ago, i believe near his birthday in july. we were celebrating his remission. by september he was in full blown relapse and spent most of the short time he had left in the hospital. his courage never ceased to amaze me. i could not have gone through what he did. he was a trooper and so talented. i think he would've been an actor had he grown to adulthood. he was also a skilled poet/writer and rapper and so, so funny. nick, i thank you for the lessons, thank you for always being with me and i miss you so much.