Four days of family now passed.
Personal family: my wife, my daughter, my son.
Hockey family I: my friends, my confidantes, my community.
Hockey family II: my friends, my coworkers, those that make gameday tick.

Family time spent in joy,
In frustration,
In pain,
In laughter,
In sorrow,
In success.

Sleep need not apply,
But takes its measure regardless:
Ask the sleepy stats girl,
Ask me after a late night performance and long drive home.

My shield of frenetic busyness
Showing cracks at times of pause.
Memories, images, remembrance…
Bringing tears to dry eyes.

Do I cry out and spoil others fun?
Do I weep silently and choke back the noise?
Seeking comfort and compassion–
An awkward need in
An awkward place at
An awkward time.

So I ponder,
I wonder,
I bury it deep.
Eventually I will find my keyboard,
And let my fingers weep.

After another exciting Roadrunners win, I arrived home around 11:20pm from my 85 minute commute back from Tucson to Gilbert.  Physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted–but needing the release of my blog–I attempted to sit at the computer and type out my thoughts.  Forty minutes later, I found myself asleep at the computer, having typed nothing.  Off to bed I ventured…

While I did have some difficulty rising from my rest this morning, I figured I would fight back the emotional tide and head into my office for the day.  This notion was short-lived, as my wife discovered that one of Micah’s friends had apparently gone to the cemetery over the weekend and taken a picture of Micah’s headstone–and shared that picture this morning on Facebook.  Cynthia let out a loud cry and showed me the picture–and the glass supporting wall of my emotional stability shattered.

Neither of us was ready to see the headstone.  It marked something truly real–final–about Micah’s death.  Sure, we knew that the headstone had been delivered to the cemetery.  We were aware they would be installing it sometime last week or this week.  We had an idea of what it would look like, as we designed it back in November.  But now–to wake up to find a picture posted on Facebook like some political meme or cat photo…it was too much to take.

I spent much of the morning wiping tears out of my eyes, trying to focus on anything else to get those thoughts out of my head.  It wasn’t just that we saw the headstone–it was the idea that we just scheduled an official memorial and unveiling to mark the end of this first year of mourning and dedicate and reveal Micah’s final marker–and now the air was out of the balloon as everyone could see the marker on Facebook three weeks ahead of the unveiling.  I was genuinely angry as well as hurt.  I have not experienced much anger with regards to Micah’s death–it was very unsettling.

A little hockey tournament conversation with a friend helped push back those thoughts for a while, but shortly after the call, I found myself feeling the downward slide.  How strange the sensation–feeling like you’re actually sliding downwards into sorrow and depression.  Middle of the morning, sitting alone, feeling yourself falling…

But something else was at work.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I just did not feel right.  Despite that, I pulled myself together to grab some lunch, head to the bank, and grab some essential groceries for the family for the week.  By the time I got home, I felt as though collapse was imminent.  Before system shutdown could take place, however, it was time to go to the cemetery with Cynthia and Avi to see Micah’s headstone for myself.

This was the first time I had been back to Micah’s grave since he was laid to rest almost one year ago.  I felt lost.  I was standing next to the marker that would forever point us to Micah’s final resting place.  I was staring at his way-too-brief lifespan.  It was real.  My son is gone, and here is where we can now find him.  I cannot truthfully find the right words to express what I felt at that moment–what I have felt all evening since that moment.  As cliché as it sounds, there are truly no words.

After a little retail therapy–we decided to comfort ourselves by stopping into a highly recommended music store, Asylum Records, in Downtown Mesa, and add to our vinyl collection.  On the plus side, I’m now the proud owner of a semi-official bootleg recording of Pink Floyd’s The Wall concert from Nassau Coliseum in 1980.  I shall cherish this particular vinyl more than most…

We grabbed some dinner and headed home, where I discovered that I was running a mild fever.  Lucky me.  Hopefully the Nyquil will help break the fever tonight, so I’m functional enough for a two-thirds day of work and my final journey to Tucson for Roadrunner hockey this week…