When I picked out a picture to pair with this post tonight, it occurred to me that eventually I will run out of pictures. Eventually I will have seen every picture of James, have used every image in one way or another. Because James is gone, a finite number of pictures exists. The supply is limited, and it cannot be replenished. I wonder what happens when we run out. I wonder what he would have looked like in a month. The shock of dark brown hair he was born with was slowly being replaced with new, blond hair, a concession to me as in every other way he was identical to his mother. His mother's nose, his mother's lips, and cheeks. Even his eyes were closer to her shade of blue than mine. He had my short, stubby legs though. Poor boy. I was always pleased he looked like Kara. The hope was he inherited her personality as well.
We took different paths today. I went passive and Kara went aggressive. I went asleep last night and slept for nearly eleven hours, and did not want to wake up. Kara slept not at all and attacked the day early and often, calling and setting up James' fund, attending to flowers (we're only doing flowers for the casket spray- no others), and dropping off James' clothes at the funeral home. We decided to bury him in a polo shirt, shorts, and puppy shoes. We didn't want somber clothes. James was never somber. Kara bought the polo last summer, when she was pregnant with James. It matches one of mine she also bought. We matched a lot- even on one of his last days, he wore a seersucker set of overalls that matched my seersucker shorts. We'll send him on his way with a few giraffes as well.
We met with the minister and finalized plans for the service. We're hoping it will be upbeat, a tribute to a boy who hated naps and loved people. Kara will wear a giraffe print dress, while I will wear a jungle themed tie with giraffes and an orange shirt. Although we mourn James, we feel overwhelmingly that his life was joyful in every way, and should be celebrated as such. To mourn seems inappropriate. Even with three IV and a brain tumor, James wasn't big on mourning. Too boring.
To prove humor still exists, Ferragamo actually makes a giraffe print tie. I called or had someone call everywhere in Texas that would have this tie. I could not find it. The closest thing was a jungle print tie that includes giraffes at Neiman's. The tie was $170. This will instantly make it the nicest tie I own. I've bought whole suits for less than that. Without thinking, we also bought an orange shirt there. We just picked a random one. It looked nice, but you know, a shirt is a shirt. When we checked out, we got a little sticker shock. The shirt was $500. Brioni. Chastened, we purchased a similar, cheaper Ralph Lauren shirt at Dillard's and returned the Brioni shirt. Which just goes to show you that my father and I really have no business shopping off the rack at Neiman's. We laughed.
Often, Kara and I pass each other in our grief process. She'll be mad when I'm barely speaking, and vice versa. The process lacks any kind of structure. It's more a free form disaster. The stages feel more like moods. That is not to say we do not believe James is healed- that he beat the tumor. We do. But we miss his presence, just his being there. We miss his smile and his silliness- how much he loved to fly, he was a bit of a thrill seeker. Throw him up in the air and he'd cackle all the way down. He got that from me. I always expected one day I'd try to take him skydiving and Kara would arrange to have the plane destroyed the night before. We miss the future we never knew.
Very early tomorrow, we will bury James with our family, in a place I'd never been before Sunday and where Kara hadn't been in years. We will put him to rest and say goodbye. That afternoon, we celebrate his life. After that, I have nothing more to "do." We'll see what happens then.
Your continued support and prayers are deeply gratifying. If you can, please consider making a donation to James' fund. We certainly are. I think we'd rather do that than buy a few Brioni shirts. Rhabdoid tumors are a relatively new type of tumor- until recently they were misdiagnosed as another type of brain tumor, and Doctors were simply confused why some patients diagnosed with the other type of tumor did so poorly in comparison to others. In the words of our oncologist, they are "orphans" when it comes to research funding. Gains are being made. We hope to contribute to that.