Remembering Henry

There was the little boy with the impish smile and the sunny disposition who would entertain people while waiting in line at the post office and who would hang out with women in hot tubs and introduce us to "Sally. She's 40 and nice."
There was the Henry who gave his sister a black eye with his rattle. Ouch!
The little boy, who at 2-1/2, insisted on walking all over Chaco Canyon because he was a "big" boy and big boys don't sit in a stroller and who fell asleep on the drive back out on the 20 mile long washboard road.
The Henry with the broken bone in his foot (the one and only break) he got from jumping off the sofa on to a little Fisher Price toy. We watched lots of videos and read many more books for 3 days until he was allowed to put weight onto that foot and learned to use the walking cast as a weapon.
The Henry who loved karate, who at age 6 won his first place sparring trophy, a trophy taller than he was. Who wrote an essay that was part of the preparation for the junior black belt test that showed just how excited he was about the whole thing. The interest disappeared towards the end, possibly due to the leg injury that prevented him from training properly for the full black belt.
The Henry who told me in 3rd grade he'd never leave me even when I explained to him that leaving was part of growing up ............... but who, in 5th grade, would hide behind the shelves in the library whenever I worked there.
The Henry who loved dogs even though the year we adopted Maggie all his Tshirts had holes along the hem and who learned to climb trees just to get away from her and who wanted to be a vet for many years until computers became his great passion.
The Henry who loved computers and computer games and was quite fearless with them, the way kids are when they grow up with them. Who taught himself C++ one summer, rebuilt a better computer (with a little help) and was going to study computer engineering at UC San Diego.
Who was the designated PowerPoint presentation preparer whenever there was a group project to be done at school.
The Henry who didn't like car rides as a baby but loved to drive once he passed his driving test on the 3rd try. And how come somebody who was so good with computers wasn't that good with cars? There was the incident with the car alarm in the school parking lot :-)
There was the Henry who grumbled about having to visit and interview a woman in the Veterans Home in Yountville throughout junior year but then decided during summer vacation to visit her one more time just to say good-bye.
The Henry who hammed it up big-time during the Christmas play (by falling over, popping back up to wave hello to the crowd and then laying back down).
There was the Henry who developed an appreciation for the Daily Show, the Colbert Report and conservative talk radio. The latter amused him greatly.
The Henry who took trig at the JC so he could skip a year of math in high school and take calculus during senior year.
Who could do a full lotus without even trying hard but insisted that yoga wasn't for young people. Who lifted weights during his last semester and was becoming nicely ripped - even if he couldn't see it. Who, at 6'1", was towering over everybody else in the family.
The Henry with the dry sense of humor and the unexpected wit who was such fun to talk to ............ but who also had already learned the fine art of the grunt.
The Henry who loved to read Goosebumps and Harry Potter in grade school, loved video games and could happily spend hours in front of the computer, who loved hanging with friends who would hook together several TVs and video game consoles and destroy bad guys all night.
The Henry who was the only person I know who could eat triple decker hamburgers with cheese and bacon and not gain a single ounce. Who loved Pringles and could eat a whole cannister - again without gaining a single ounce.
Who would have serious theological discussions with his CRE teachers but turned into an atheist once he started Catholic school.
The Henry who fell asleep during meditation in world religion class.
Who wouldn't eat vegetables but willingly tried psylocybin.
Who graduated with highest honors - except he wasn't around anymore to accept his diploma.

The Henry who has been gone for a whole year and whom I miss so badly. Sure, he was a teenager and teenagers don't really talk to their parents. But there was always the promise of more conversations, interesting and fun conversations in the future. We'll never have those. We'll never have the pleasure of seeing Henry grow up completely. We'll never know if he would have stayed with computers, invented something terrific or decided to change careers some day. There'll never be grandchildren. There won't be anybody drinking milk straight out of the bottle anymore, driving off with a big roar, listening to his music with headphones. We'll never find out whether he'd develop grown-up tastes in food.
But there'll always be the big question, "Why?" What made him decide to try drugs? Was it rebellion, peer pressure, curiosity? Was he looking for something he couldn't find any other way? And what was that?
Somebody just told me that May 8 isn't the 1-year anniversary of his death, but the first birthday of his new life. I'll try to look at it this way but it is pretty difficult to do.


Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog and it broke my heart. This can happen to anyone, any where, any time and it is sad and frightening. My heart goes out to you and your family.

KatieLiz said...

My heart is with you today.

Anonymous said...

I had chocolate cake today to remember Henry.

Henry's Mom said...

Thank you for your kind words.

Henry's Mom said...

Thank you, Katie!

Henry's Mom said...

Thank you, Marilee. I think he would have liked that.

maia said...

Doris, I've been thinking of you all week, but especially today. Please know you are in my heart.

Henry's Mom said...

Thank you, Maia!

GraceBeading said...

Doris - my heart aches for you, I'm very sorry for your loss. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and memories of your son.

I will hug my son just a little longer the next time I see him in honor of Henry, because I can and because your tribute to Henry reminds me that I should.

This is probably a hard day for you, please know that my thoughts are with you.

Henry's Mom said...

Thank you, Grace,
Yes, it's a hard day, it's been a hard week and a hard month. I hope the second year will be a little easier.
Thank you for your kindness,

Dayna Whitmer said...

I'm glad that you have the strength to share Henry with everyone. The great photos and stories. They can never go away. We lost our son, Matthew, to the bridge Nov 15, 2007. We never recovered his body. Mattie has a myspace account that I will open someday and add to his life on cyberspace. People need to remember that the suicides off the bridge aren't just numbers. They were people, with families who loved them dearly and we will never stop trying to raise those rails because these are feelings you don't wish on someone else!
Kudos to you for posting the BRF notices! I hope people read them.