Particularly after the end of Open Salon, I find there are people I speak to here who don't know me well enough or long enough to be aware of the biggest event in my life during the period I've blogged, since I believe early 2010. I am referring of course to the unexpected death of my son.
It comes up sometimes. When people learn of it, I don't know if they're curious or being polite or don't want to ask me about it for fear of dredging up memories. I am perfectly willing to talk about him which those who know me better have probably figured out given how many times I've posted about him or, perhaps more accurately, about being his father.
Given that J (shorthand for my son; I don't use his name for privacy and then I turn around and forget and use it occasionally in the posts) had cerebral palsy, which thank God did not affect his intellect but which affected his body with extreme severity, the experience of being his father was not a typical one, and so there are things people learn from some of my posts, about what such an experience was like, what the experience of losing a son is like, and a little of what Jewish ritual is involved when it comes to the death of a family member.
And so I will try to remember to collect links to all the posts, all of which I've transferred to Our Salon (and some of which were double-posted here to begin with). I doubt I'm finished writing about him. I have no idea what will trigger another post. In only one case, the first post, mostly written two weeks after his death and published a few weeks after that, will I include the original Open Salon comment stream. Or a slightly truncated version, as some of those who commented eventually left OS for one reason or another and so their comments disappeared. Those that came late enough to be double posted have their own Our Salon comment streams which are active rather than part of the post itself.
I won't say "Enjoy" as that's probably inappropriate, though not all the posts are serious.
For convenience, because I'm basically lazy, rather than linking to the titles I'll simply put the link up after the title. It will get you there just as fast. The post just won't look as pretty. But, unusually for me, at least I've included a couple of photos with this one. I'll include a short note about each post. These are not completely in chronological order. Original post dates are included with each. I do, however, start with the first and end with the most recent.
I will update this post as I add more Tales of J posts.
Reply to a Friend Checking on Me (2/24/12)
Originally written as an e-mail to Lezlie, L in the Southeast, two weeks after J's death. Includes most of the original comment stream.
18 (about J) (4/9/12)
On what would have been his 18th birthday. There’s no term equivalent to Widower for what I am.
J Would Have Turned 20 Today (4/8/14)
How the outside world seems so normal in the aftermath of something that feels so momentous
Tales of J: A Rookie Parenting Mistake (4/11/12)
He was two. I accidentally swore in front of him.
Tales of J: Medical Communications (8/15/12)
Nurses and doctors know how to treat, but they often have no idea how to talk to us. Also, the biggest scare I've ever had.
Tales of J: The Empire State Building Story (8/19/12)
My nine-year-old son triggers a street protest in Manhattan
Tales of J: An Unveiling, a Yahrzeit, and What Felt Like a Cosmic Gift (1/12/13)
Strange things happen on some of J’s birth and death anniversaries. This is one of the cooler ones. And what it’s like to finally get a headstone after visiting an unmarked grave for a year.
Tales of J: A Strange Yorzeit Occurrence (1/8/15)
The kid lets me know he’s there on the most recent anniversary of his death. At some point, I can’t write this stuff off to coincidence any more.
Tales of J: On Becoming a Disability Civilian (8/22/12)
A day in the life. Really, the first part of a morning in the life. J, or more particularly his disability, kept me busy.
Tales of J: Going to Summer Camp Then and Now (6/25/13)
J started summer camp at five years old on, of all places, Martha’s Vineyard. Cool place, camp.
Tales of J: Broadway Music at Friday Night Services (4/21/13)
A fun tradition that started completely by accident. Sometimes I still do this. Less now. Fewer people to serve at the Jewish old age home.
Tales of J: Two About Politics (9/7/12)
The kid meets Candidate Obama (picture above). The kid talks to Sec. of State Albright at dinner when he’s four years old.
Tales of J: Dinner in his Honor (4/8/15)
A couple of weeks before I posted the index.
Tales of J, or in this case, really me: Reacting to J's death at the time (4/23/15)
I didn't initially react like I expected.
Tales of J: An Unexpected Time Capsule (7/16/15)
Cleaning out the closet in J's old room, I run across his backpack. The contents show what was going on then.
Tales of J: Halloween (10/31/15)
How do you make a good Halloween costume for a kid in a wheelchair?
Tales of J: When My Father Was My Age (6/10/16)
Being out of town when J was born.
Tales of J: a summer camp doctor describes an encounter with J (6/30/16)
The doctor at J's summer camp describes an encounter with him.
Tales of J: Yorzeit, it’s been seven years (1/8/19)
Includes a link to a video of an electronic musical New Years card with him in it three weeks before his death