Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Birthdays

I found this video the other day.  (I tried to embed it but for some reason that didn't work, though it should have.)  If you don't want to go to YouTube and watch the video yourself, it's a video of David, Jeri and Paul, sitting on the couch (holding pictures of Tom and Ned, who couldn't be there) and singing "My Favorite Things" with lyrics I rewrote to commemorate The Pinata Group. That's David on the guitar.

I had all sorts of mixed feelings watching it. I thought I would be emotional and yeah, emotions welled up.  But one thing that struck me very forcibly was something I said to David shortly before he died.

We were joking about all the photos and videos I take and I told him "that's OK--you can die and I probably won't even notice because I have so many videos of you around." In retrospect, that was a terrible thing to say, given that he was dead not long after.

But as I watched this video, I realized that maybe it wasn't so bad after all.  Here they were, alive again, singing together with Jeri.  The video made me smile and though I wish to heck they were here, the videos are a comfort because for a few minutes, they are back, alive, whole and the family is all together again.
We're coming up on Birthday Time.  Paul's birthday is tomorrow and David's is a week later.  Paul would have been 46 and David 43.  They are permanently stuck at 30 and 24.  

I look at Ned's grey hair--actually he's getting white hair.  He has more than I do.  And I see the look of a middle aged man.  I wonder what his brothers would look like at 46 and 43.  

Paul was planning to move to L.A. with his wife and become a movie star.  What would he be doing now?  Waiting tables?  Working in the post office?  Or would he be one of that small percent that actually work in the business?  We'll never know. I feel cheated because I always wanted to watch him win his Oscar and stand there and thank his mom for all her support.

And David.  He was in the process of getting his life together.  He had tried Sacramento City College and Chico State and gave up.  After a period of working bagging groceries, he was talking about moving to Santa Cruz and going to school there.  He still hadn't figured out what he wanted to be when he grew up.  But what a mind that kid had.  If he found the right path, he could have done anything.

Instead the two of them are lying in a grave in the Davis cemetery and it just seems so unfair that life has moved on without them.

After so many years (19 and 16), the birthdays and the anniversaries aren't as wrenching as they were in the beginning.  You never "get over" the death of a child and you do, as people wanting to say something comforting after they died, "remember them" (as if you could forget!).  You are forever changed.  They become a part of the person you are now and you go on about your business.  You don't wear sack cloth and ashes forever, you don't shut the curtains and assume the fetal position for the rest of your life, but you laugh and have good times and bad times while a piece of your brain includes them in all family activities, though you don't really talk about them much.

We'll probably go out for sushi on Paul's birthday.  We've been doing that for 16 years now.  Who knows what we'll do on Dave's, but we'll raise a glass of wine...or water...or whatever and toast them.

And then we wait until the death anniversaries roll around a couple of months later.

Happy birthday, guys

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