Thursday, April 5, 2012

I need to talk about Kevin

When I met you, you were seventeen. I had just finished university and was dating your cousin R. You were such a sweet, attractive, gentle boy. And so warm and loving.

I felt an immediate connection with you.

I was surprised to find that you were very physically demonstrative. I was not expecting that from a member of R's family. You freely, and lovingly, would sling an arm over my shoulder or (in a special show of affection) tickle me behind the ear and call me by a pet name - Michie. I called you Kebbe which was what your maternal Japanese-born grandmother, now our grandmother, called you.

I felt your love for R and for me. I knew that you cared for me as I cared for you.

When our daughter J was born you easily shared your great capacity for affection and love with her - visiting her when your mother babysat J in the early years of her infancy; baking J not one, but two or three, special cakes or pies for her birthday (you were an exceptional baker); always generously remembering J at Christmas and on her birthday. Always demonstrating great love for her. What a tremendous heart you had! You loved children and they absolutely adored you. It saddens me immensely that you never had children. 

Did we love you enough? Did we show you that we loved you enough? Did we take the time to do that?

Lest I be accused of shining your halo too brightly let me say that even though we saw you as kind, gentle, lacking in malice, there was an element in you that was mysterious, unknowable, triste. I feel that we did not know you in your most private self. You were reticent, withdrawn at times. We were reluctant to prod into your private affairs.

In the last few years J said that she thought you looked sad ("un-Kevin-like" was her expression). I wish we could have shared your burdens, your troubles and worries. I wish you felt you could trust us with your sorrows if you had any.

On the night after the first visitation at the funeral home, I dreamt of you. The dream was not about you but you were there in it, standing in some cavernous, dark place that housed ... what? A restaurant perhaps? You were standing there with the rest of us, R's side of the family. It might have been one of those large venues that my husband's family favors for celebratory meals every so often. Now when I think of it, yours is the only face I remember in the crowd.

You were standing there with that slightly sad expression of ... what? Again, it was enigmatic, unreadable. It could have been sadness; it could have been stoicism. You were there, as if nothing had transpired, amongst us that night. Waiting. That's how I want to think of you. That you will always be there amongst us. Waiting.

Good night sweet boy ... 


Christine said...

So beautifully written.

Michelle said...

Thanks love!

Cheryl said...


Michelle said...

I find myself returning to this post, it's tortuous. I want this week to be over.

Craig said...

Thanks Michelle.

Christine said...

Returning to the post is part of the remembering process I think. I am so sorry for your family's loss.