Gone

My SuperDan

 

Dear heart, my Daniel, born at home in a stock tank filled with water, you nestled into our family seamlessly.  Tucked into bed with me, your brother beside you and your Dad snuggled against him, you gave us one of the most beautiful moments of our lives.

And now you are gone.

Right after you were born your sisters had head lice and we spent countless hours picking nits out of their hair as you calmly sat in your car seat nearby.  Just as they loved your brother Al, and later, your sister Annie, they held you and you melted  their  hearts.  Lovely and gifted young women, even then, with far too much emotional stress to cope with.  But holding you brought them peace, as it did for anyone who knew you.

And now you are gone.

I watched you learn to walk, observed (amused) as you potty trained by watching your brother stand up to pee.  You wanted to be like him and yet you were so divinely your own.  Toddling after him (he was impossible to keep up with), sitting in Megan or Melissa’s lap to hear stories, to cuddle – always such a cuddle bug.  You gave all of your sweet self to us.  You guarded over your little sister like a lion cub, playing with her and soothing her when she fell and skinned her knees.

And now you are gone.

Every teacher, every nurse, every medical person who cared for you over the short 20 years we had you, fell in love.  How could they not?  You were made of love and it shined from you like the warm sun on a spring afternoon.  Your strength and bravery humbled us all.  You never complained and you never wallowed in self-pity.  You just went courageously from one challenge to the next, as if to say, “Bring it on bitches! You can’t break me.”

And now you are gone.

When Kevin and I were married, you walked down the steps with me, holding my hand.  You spent countless hours video gaming with him, playing scamper, telling jokes at dinner, and running to the edge of the field with your brother and sister when one of you burped at the table.  You and Kevin, your second father, who read you stories at bedtime in those tender moments before saying goodnight.

And now you are gone.

There were so many people who treasured you. Your grandparents, aunts (ring tone radio – check it out), uncles, cousins (Noah and Jonah helping you body surf in Lake Michigan) and especially Matthew Rush, your brother-in-law, who gave you such an indispensable gift by gaming with you over the internet those nights in the hospital, where you often felt so isolated and alone, after he put his children to bed, never mentioning his 4:30 a.m. wake-up call to get to work, never playing down to you.  Just talking “trash” like gamers do.  It was especially hard that you died on game night.

And now you are gone.

I fight the urge to smash every piece of medical equipment that remains in the house, the machines that both sustained and restrained you.  I am angry that A-T took you from us so soon.  When you were gone from those moments of pain and struggle, I removed each artificial device from your still body.  I wanted you wholly yourself again.  Humbly and with deep gratitude, I gave you your last bath and put on your favorite Dragonball shirt.  I promised you, my love, my heart, that I would bring you home.  Born at home, it was your deepest desire to return here before leaving us.

And now you are gone.

The agony, oh Dan, the agony of the silence, of your absence, feels unbearable.  If the depth of our grief is in any way a measure of the love we felt for you, of the unbreakable bond we shared, then know that with every beat of our hearts, with every cell that makes up these bodies, we cry out for you to return.  Just one more hug, one more joke, one more eye roll at my constant singing to you.

And now you are gone.

Be at peace darling one, and know that you are as close to us as our breath, and you will see, through the eyes of those who loved you, every precious moment of this life. We can never really be separated, we are a part of each other.

Yes, you are gone, but always, always you remain here in our hearts.  Our superhero, our Wolverine, our Dragon Dan.

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4 thoughts on “Gone

  1. LORRIE MacDonald March 18, 2018 / 10:42 am

    Tell me more. I want to hear every story of boundless love and exquisite pain, I want to travel with you through the memories. Your words, brilliant as stars and jagged from grief, bring Dan to life those those of us who missed it. Tell me everything.

  2. Janet E Wheeler March 18, 2018 / 11:17 am

    Janet, your beautiful words keep him alive.

  3. Patricia Kopac March 18, 2018 / 12:09 pm

    Oh Janet you captured every thing I feel and have for 12 years now. We all loved Dan and you for your strength and courage. Sending love and prayers, my friend and if you ever need to yell scream or just talk about our boys who were so much alike you have my number. I am so sorry you had to join this club, but you have all your sisters in pain with you!

  4. Carol Ulrich (Kevin’s Cousin) March 19, 2018 / 8:07 am

    What beautiful words that give such honor to your sweet son. You have a true gift of writing. Sending prayers of comfort to you all.

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