October 2, 2021
My dear son Martin,
Nine months ago today, you left this world and moved into another. I wish I could say that writing this on the nine-month anniversary of your death was something I had planned, but it isn’t; it was purely coincidental or serendipitous. I seldom mark the 2nd day of any month, usually realizing a day or two later that it has come and gone. But today was different. The realization of the date, and the significance of nine months came as I was preparing a cup of tea. The fact that this realization was also within 20 minutes of the time of your death also seems odd; perhaps it’s all more than a coincidence. I don’t know. And, really, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is this: For the past nine months I’ve been promising myself that i would write your story, but I’ve never known exactly how to start. I thought I might do it as a series of letters, and that might be the best, perhaps the only, way I can do it. It only matters that I do it. And maybe it only matters to me, but I have a strong determination that you be remembered. I will write your story, Martin. As l carried you in my body for nine months, as I have carried my grief for nine months, I will carry you to the world for as long as I live, and I will leave a legacy of words that tell of you – the real you, not a faultless, glorified version, but a real human being. Someone who loved and is loved, someone who could leave me exhausted and exasperated; but also someone who could make me laugh and who was never embarrassed to show love for me and for all of his family.
As I wrote that last sentence, I remembered this about you: When you and Jason were in high school, I drove you there each day. As the two of you got out of the car, you never failed to give me a kiss and say, “I love you.” At a time of life when most kids are embarrassed to even admit they have parents, you didn’t care who saw you kiss your mom as you began your day. I’ve always treasured that long-ago memory.
I will close this, my first letter to you in many years, with that precious memory. I love you, son, and I hold you in my heart.