Stepping back from my writing yesterday afternoon, I surveyed my surroundings: treacherous mountain trail ahead, steep canyon behind. I did the only thing I knew how to do: I continued forward.
The anger I felt about Micah’s death slipped away into sorrow. I’m not angry at anyone for my loss. This was no one individual’s fault. I’m upset that I don’t have my son to hold, to watch and listen to, to encourage, to nurture. I’m upset that I have a goalie bag filled with gear that he will never again use…nor will anyone else.
I cannot see ever passing along so many parts of Micah that I still hold dear. Trinkets. Tools of a trade no longer practiced. All the same, the contents of that goalie bag, my pictures and videos, his Gandalf hat — they are all I have left of my son.
Sure, I have memories. I can close my eyes and see them–good and bad. But I’ve learned that I have little control right now over which memories appear when my eyes are closed. Will it be the huge grin and hug from a happy 12-year old Micah having just won the State Championship, knowing he’s on his way to Nationals, or will it be viewing the physical remains of my son as we prepared for his funeral? Will it be the handsome young man that just performed at the ACE Festival in Mesa, or the helpless young man in his hospital bed, needing me or a nurse to clear the drainage around his nose as he struggled to take his next breath?
Tonight, I responded to an email asking which Broadway show Micah’s former choir classmates should see in April on their Carnegie Hall performance trip. Micah would have been so happy–a chance to see the Broadway cast of Jersey Boys or Wicked. He would be asking me to bribe every voting parent to make sure he got to see one of his favorites. I can see Micah, walking with his choir down Broadway towards the theater, trying to get everyone to sing background vocals as he belts out the opening chords of Sherry. But now, that too is relegated to the time with my eyes closed, dreaming of what might have been.
“Dad,” he’d ask, “do you think, if I get my grades up, I could maybe get into Julliard? Well, if not Julliard, how about Arizona?” He would walk by the Richard Rodgers Theatre and beg me to go inside to see if I could get tickets–or even just a playbill for Hamilton. With one earbud in his ear, he would be messing with his phone to get Keep It Gay playing as he passed the marquee for The Producers. For five solid days, there would be no mention of hockey at all–just music and theatre. I would see his heart glowing right through his chest as he beamed at the thought of performing at Carnegie Hall with his classmates–with Colton and Ally and Sydney and Jared and on and on and on.
But there won’t be a Broadway trip for Micah. He will have to sing through the hearts, souls and voices of his classmates instead of the microphone standing next to them. It is not the same. It will never be the same.
There’s a million things he hasn’t done.
Just you wait.
The waiting is painful…and never ending.
Will I wake tomorrow
From this nightmare?
In tribute to Micah, here’s a playlist of many of his favorites…