Serving students and faculty since 1971

Today is the day I remind my son.

The first time I didn’t believe what I saw. When he walked in the door I thought my pain and grief must have caused me to see things, that I was on the brink of madness. Only when he wiped away my tears and apologized for his torn pants did I realise that it was him. After all this time.

The first few times I tried something new each anniversary; to give him the best experience I can for the short time we are together. But I later learned a routine that never fails. I buy the macaroni three days in advance. I get his favorite cheese from a special store in Pontiac, after our local grocer discontinued it. 

I used to keep him up until daybreak, but I now put him to bed and let him drift peacefully to the next anniversary. I learned how to answer all his questions. He once asked where Daddy was. I told him that Daddy missed him so much that he couldn’t wait to see him any longer. I’m never making that mistake again. 

Today is the day I buy my son ice cream and try to hold back the anger. I know it’s unfair, but it always comes. I’m angry I only see him 9 ½ hours every year. Angry that he always wants to play with his friends, that I have to explain to him every time why he can’t. Angry that I didn’t do anything to stop it. But the anger never bubbles over. Just weeping. Every year he tells me that it wasn’t my fault. He tells me that he always insisted on walking home alone, that Mr. Lebowitz should have paid more attention to the road. I hug him and thank him, but I never believe him. I can’t.

Time is getting ahead of me. The last few years my son recognized me only by voice. I’m getting old. I sometimes think about when I’m gone, if anyone will be there to remind him every anniversary, or if I’ll be with him and won’t have to remind him anymore. 

The mail just came. Shouldn’t be much longer now.

Today is the day I remind my son that he’s been dead for 47 years. I’m ready.