|I picked up my kids Sunday morning and
headed back to Mom's. Ollie and Joshua were there and
were exhausted. Joshua was very tired. The had been at
the Boston airport at 5 in the morning. One of the last
planes out before the blizzard came back in. I hadn't
seen him for several years. He is 15 now, stands about
6'5", and is on the other side of 250 pounds. They
left soon after we arrived and went to Michael's
apartment. Joshua had wanted to stay there. That was his
Seattle home. Roger went with them and said that a load
lifted off of Joshua's shoulders when he walked into
Michael's apartment. It was the right thing.
We spent the day at Mom's. Making arrangements. Georgia working on the obituary. Mark making grilled cheese sandwiches for everyone. Ted called to say he would be honored to take Michael's ashes out on his boat. When Terry talked about ordering flowers from the family Mom got agitated and said she wanted to order some just from her. A few minutes later she motioned me in the back room. She told me that, when we lived in Medina, Michael would come over and bring her a single red rose. She would put it in the pass through between the kitchen and the dining room to be able to see it often. She wanted to buy a single red rose for Michael for his journey but was afraid that people might think that a single rose would be cheap. I assured her that nothing could be more perfect and that Michael would want no other flower more.
We made arrangements to have the memorial on Tuesday at the recreation hall at Mom's trailer court. I think Mom was having a little trouble with our somewhat non-traditional approach. We didn't want a funeral home service. We celebrated all our family events at Mom's. The birthday's, Thanksgivings, Christmases, high school graduations. We wanted to celebrate Michael and we wanted to do it where we celebrated all our family events. We agreed to contact a Coast Guard Chaplain for the service. Michael was not religious and he certainly did not count his time in the Coast Guard as an entirely positive experience but I think Mom was happy to know there would be a military chaplain. Even if he was really Navy.
I took the kids home. It was raining and dark. The girls were in the back seat apparently asleep. Robby was in the front seat. I looked over at him and his head was back and he was quiet. I took my eyes off of him to check the road. When I looked back he was leaning forward. I rubbed his hair. He was crying. "I'm going to miss him."
I went to work Monday but left early to go over to Michael's to see Ollie and Joshua. Roger and Missy were there as was Terry and Mark. Chris, a niece of Ollie's, was there. They left and I spent the evening with Ollie and Joshua. Sandy, an old friend of Ollie's from the 70's came over. She had been with Michael and Ollie when Joshua was born. I hadn't seen Ollie since 1986. I had never spent any time with Joshua. But I knew Joshua was into computers and we had a good evening connecting. Talking about the internet. About William Gibson and cyberpunk. Gave him my e-mail address. He had been on AOL but had become a little addicted to the chat sessions and Ollie had taken him off. He is going to get a SLIP account with an internet access provider when he gets back to New Hampshire. We will be in touch. We went through Michael's books. We found some science fiction that he had sent his dad. He gave them to me. About 9 o'clock Mark called. A chaplain was arranged and he was going to come over early tomorrow, before the memorial, to put something together about Michael. We didn't want someone who did not know Michael to write something about him. I finished writing a eulogy for Michael after midnight. Crashed on the couch I had slept on a few months ago when I had spent the night at Michael's after a Phish concert.
I got up at 7:30. It was Tuesday. Joshua was still asleep. Said good-bye to Ollie. On the ferry I started writing the poems. A poem had been rattling around my head for several days that I wanted to read at the memorial but another poem came out first. One that I wanted to read on the boat when we spread his ashes. Got off the ferry and pulled into a near by park to finish the poems. A park that I had watched my daughters play softball. A park that I had played on the swings with my kids. Both poems were done by 10:00. Went home, put the poems into the computer and polished them off. Read them and re-read them to get the rhythms and phrasings down. I couldn't read them all the way through without crying. Didn't know how I would be able to read them to the ones I love. Couldn't not read them.