I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
After Timmy died, I found it hard to go into his bedroom. I could still smell his scent – the body wash, deodorant, and even his musk and sweat on the sheets. I could almost hear his laughter from when he would be watching Robot Chicken on Cartoon Network, or saying “Oh my God!” when he was watching Walking Dead or Super Natural. I would walk in and see the constellations I put up on the walls back in 2001, after his mother painted the room in a cobalt to resemble the night sky; how sick I felt – feeling dizzy because I felt I was in space. I wrote Timmy’s name in the remainder of the glow-in-the-dark stars. I told him a great person has his name written in the stars. Over the years, as he grew into a teenager, there were the names of the Bionicles, lines from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, and the proverbial Spider-Man stickers. On the wall, next to his bed, hung a zombie calendar for 2011 – frozen, for at least until today and open to May 2011.
Over the past twenty-one months since he died, if I wanted to watch one of his many movies on DVD, I would go in and select one. I would find myself saying “I just wanted to watch a movie Monk. Want to watch it with me? I’ll bring it back as soon as it’s over – I promise.” I did this several times. I would look at his stereo that I got him for his 13th birthday, with five CD changer filled with CDs either I burned for him, he burned himself, or I bought him – Green Day, 3 Doors Down, Rise Against, The Beatles … the list continues. I found my copy of American Idiot in the carousel.
I wondered, many times, if it was the last CD he listened to when he drifted off to sleep May 16th. I remembered I had to explain to him that Wal-Mart refused to carry the album because of the title alone – missing the point and exemplifying what Billy Joe Armstrong wrote the song about “Now everybody sing the propaganda.” How excited he was on a trip to New York with his 8th Grade class, noticing on Times Square, to see the flashing LED screen displaying an announcement for a Broadway show based on Green Day’s songs. He asked several times if we could go see it…he wanted to see Green Day in concert as well.
The night of Tim’s death, as I went to lie down in his bed and cried myself to sleep; Jun, my brother, partner, friend, and appointed care-taker for that time, threw a blanket over me. I woke the next morning feeling guilty for sleeping in my son’s bed. I remembered how excited he was when he graduated from his toddler bed that his grand-father, John, built to the “big boy” bed we purchased with a tax refund. I bought Spider-Man bed sets and fleece blankets, and whatever movie was his current favorite – Bugs’ Life, Toy Story, and etcetera. His room was his domain – soon he had his Play Station, DVD player, VHS player, toys, games, books, and art kits taking up nearly every inch.
I was envious, in truth, because I never had my own room – at least not since the age of 18 months after my sister was born – later having a brother and step-brother to share bedroom space with growing up in Ventnor. Space was a commodity in my mother’s home raising eight children; privacy was a premium.
So now, our house is being renovated. Tim’s room has just been demolished to be rebuilt. Despite agreeing the necessity to do so, to give my daughters their own room, I’m feeling like I am erasing a part of Tim – even though I know I am not. Still I’m feeling anxious, trying to stifle tears, and feeling nauseous. It’s not exactly guilt…more like a panic attack as I’m sitting, looking at a picture I had taking of his name written in glow-in-the-dark stars the night before. I tried several times the night before attempting to take a picture of the stars, with the lights out, just to capture the effect – my camera didn’t agree with me. I know nothing is meant to last forever – change is sometimes needed, even if it is painful. I only know the love I have for my son hasn’t changed.
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
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