Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Drifting

I should not have asked the question, but I did. All of our modern technology has put the answers at our fingertips, and I am sometimes unable to resist the temptation. It is not healthy. I am holding my phone in palm, sheathed in the plastic comfort of LifeLock. It's an iPhone cover that is meant to be waterproof, and it largely is. It makes for a neat party trick, dunking the phone into  glass of water, the horrified and reflexively wincing faces of the guests all turned towards you in sympathetic shock. Of course, this is not why I have the LifeLock. The intuitive appeal to me, despite the cloud, was that it preserves the photos of James (now backed up into multiple formarts and independently maintained locations) so that I may never lose them. But that's not what I'm worried about now. Despite my paranoia I now have a new phone, after a year the previous one died and the cloud saved James, just as I'd hoped. He is here now too, as though he never left, his face fixed in an ever curious and joyful smile on my background. The technicians at the store remarked that I had a beautiful son when they loaded the backup. I did not correct them.

The new phone has Siri, and I've just asked her a question even though I know the answer. "Siri, how many days are between October 29, 2010 and July 16, 2011?" Siri's reply is prompt and wolfram apha branded. "260." "Siri, how many days between July 16, 2011 and today?" "407." There are some questions I should know better than to ask.

The disparity is surprising, even now. It seems like a lopsided and uniquely unfair bit of math. Yet it has passed so quickly. I am reminded of visiting the beach, tossing a bottle in the water and watching it intently for a while. Inevitably you are distracted, friends make conversation, drinks are refilled, sand castles built. When you look up it seems as though no time at all has passed, but the tide has inexorably drawn the drifting bottle farther and farther away from view. It is surprising, and you are struck by the fact that it did so much while it seems you did so very little. I often feel this way about James. It seems like such a short while ago we were laughing and playing together, crawling from the living room to the kitchen. But when I turn to look again I realize that it was longer ago that I thought, that the days have gone faster and without as much deference to my preference as I had hoped. I am reminded yet again of what sometimes seems a great injustice, that James should have so little time with us. I am not as angry as I was. Each of those 260 days was an enormous blessing. There is nothing in my life that I would trade for being James' father. But I sometimes worry that like the bottle he is drifting away from me, slowly floating far enough out that I can not reach him. The steady rhythm of time bears him farther and farther out.

On one hand, this is not all a bad thing. I'm not watching all the time anymore. He's always there, but I'm less obsessive than I was. That's good. On the other, I feel like as he goes away I am losing still more of him, silly as that seems. I miss him of course, all the time. The tears are still there, on demand. I never feel as though I'm losing him. I just worry sometimes I'm losing sight.

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers.

37 comments:

  1. Hi Matthew, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I still think about you and Kara and James, and wonder how you are doing. Your parallel between the drifting bottle and your feelings about time marching on, farther from James, makes alot of sense, and is really so insightful. I know you probably don't care about being "insightful", but for me, reading your words helps me understand better. We all have things we grieve in this world, and walking through this with you through your blog has helped me. Again, thanks for sharing yourself and James with us.

    Christine in Atlanta

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  2. You and Kara are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  3. I began reading your blog about six months ago, maybe less. I remember the first time I was linked here, I had no idea whether James was still alive or not and I was so hopeful he was. There is nothing I can say or offer that will ever make James' death better, but his life has touched mine, the joy in his eyes in every picture taken of him brings me happiness without fail every time. I truly hope you and Kara are doing well, especially knowing that James' smiling face is looking down on you. You and your family are in my thoughts.

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  4. I admire you and your courage. I've been praying for you throughout this terrible journey, and still am.

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  5. You have such a gift with writing. It always puts me in the moment and smiling about his sweet life as your little man. I continue to pray and think of you both so very often. Blessings for peace and healing.

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  6. Hi
    My name is Jenna and I came across your site. Precious angel James, was a real fighter, and he fought with all his might. He will always be remembered for his courage, his smile, his inspiration, and the love he gave. I know James was full of love as well. He is and will always be a hero. He will always be thought of. I am praying and thinking of your family,

    I was born with a rare life threatening disease. I have developmental delays, and 14 medical conditions.
    http://www.miraclechamp.webs.com

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  7. Praying for you and Kara. Jamesie made me smile today.

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  8. Ugh! So, I read this post weeks ago and managed to not ask siri the same question for my son. Well, this Wednesday would be/is his 2nd birthday and I caved. He lived just 115 days, and on the 19th, he will have been gone 617 days! How did this happen? Crap this is going to be a hard week

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  9. You, Kara and James are still in my thoughts.

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  10. Reading some of your posts made me cry sooi much and I can't stop. I am really sorry about little James but he is on better place now and you will see him one day and hug him, I know you will. You should start writing novels because you are really good at writing. I will think of your family every day and you are my inspiration!

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  11. Just stopping by to see little James' beautiful smile! I think of him daily and I want y'all to know that he will live on in the hearts of so many. Sending happy thoughts and prayers y'alls way!

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  12. Until today I have never commented. But I wanted to let you know that little James has changed my life in so many ways. I stop by every day to look at pictures of your beautiful son! I'm sending prayers your way!

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  13. Continuing to pray for you and your family. I miss your posts and hope you are doing okay. James is so handsome and his smile lights up my heart. Many blessings.

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  14. It's been awhile since I've seen your posts, and I just wanted to let you know there are lots of folks out here still thinking about you and still checking in. Hugs.

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  15. Just wanted to reiterate what Kerrie and Meredith said. I still check in and hope you are doing okay. James will never be forgotten.

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  16. I miss your posts and hope you are doing well. Please don't think just because you're not writing right now that I'm not praying for you both right now. I am! Just remember you are loved and thought of!

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  17. Still thinking and praying for you guys!

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  18. Been missing your posts!!! It's been so long since you or Kara have posted! Makes me worry about you guys!! Still praying for you constantly!!!!!

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