Back in January, I often commented that losing Micah just did not feel real.  He was just at a friend’s house.  He was just at the rink.  He was just out with his girlfriend.  He was not really gone…

No matter how many times I walk past his bedroom door, look at his pictures in the living room, or see his goalie sticks in the garage, it still just feels surreal.  I’ll be driving somewhere in the car with Cynthia in the passenger seat and Avi in the back, and suddenly feel like I left Micah at home.  Even just thinking about making vacation plans, buying tickets, getting a restaurant reservation–it’s a party of four–three.

This morning, I woke up, as I often have especially over the past few weeks, with tears in my eyes.  I must have dreamed about Micah again–but none of the dream has carried over to my waking consciousness.  Maybe it was my brain’s idea of saving me from an even harder morning–blocking out whatever it was I dreamed about Micah overnight.  Maybe it wasn’t a dream at all–and just memories of our last moments together.  Whatever might have taken place during my restless night, I definitely woke up thinking about Micah.

I thought of Micah in such a focused manner that I got up and went looking for the folder from the cemetery.  This was the week that I planned to get Micah’s monument designed and ordered.  I’ve had it on my calendar since the week after he died.  I was told that it would take a couple months to make and deliver the headstone, so mid October seemed the right time to order the monument, the headstone, so we would have it ready to install and unveil for a memorial service right before MLK Weekend–the one year anniversary of his death.

Sometimes I find that just being cold and rational about things helps me divert my attention away from the pain and loss.  That must have been what I was thinking about back in late January.  This morning was a different story.

I took out the single page information guide to monuments and headstones and punched the first monument vendor’s name into my browser.  No sooner had I hit enter than the tears started welling up in my eyes.  I was getting ready to design and buy a headstone for my son’s grave.  Not deciding on a hockey jersey number, not putting together his concert program–figuring out what to write on his monument.  Not thinking about Micah singing Walk Like a Man, but Stairway to Heaven instead.

I spent 45 minutes looking through monument builder websites, reading up on Jewish burial and monument customs, and constantly wiping the tears out of my eyes.  I don’t want to do this.  I don’t want to order a marble slab that says Micah ben David, born February 7, 2000, died January 15, 2016, Beloved brother, son and friend.  I want to see Micah’s name on a hockey jersey.  I want to hear Micah’s acceptance speech for a Tony or a Grammy where he talks about how his beloved sister, parents and friends helped to get him to this day.

But it matters little what I want.  My wishes are but sorrowful thoughts and memories of what might have been.  My task now is to prepare for the final step in finishing his body’s final resting place.

I sat at my desk at work this morning just staring off into space.  What was I doing?  What could I even think about?  Micah.  Preparing to stand at his graveside to once again say goodbye.

Now it’s too real.  Now it’s too painful.  Now it’s time to face that pain and prepare to again spend a January afternoon at the cemetery with Micah…