Francine took this picture in out front yard the afternoon of Sunday June 21. It was Pablo's birthday. We'd just wrapped up his small birthday party at Silverlake Park, which is at the bottom of our hill, about five houses away. Even though the party was a handful of Pablo's friends and very close friends of ours (having the usual hugemungous bday shindig was too daunting for us), there were tons of gifts to open.
One of the gifts Pablo loved was the Police uniform that the Dangerbird staff bought for him. That's what he's wearing in this pic. Pablo was so proud of his teeth. He was so happy to have lost four teeth and to have bagged to $5-a-pop loot from the Tooth Fairy. Pablo was so happy to rub his tongue up against the new top teeth that were coming in. Jo Ann, Grady and I—everyone in our circle of close friends—were so happy about his new teeth coming in. To say 'were coming in'—I am still not used to that. I do not want to be used to that. I do not want to get used to that.
This photo was on the front cover of the funeral program. Many people have told us they have the programs from memorial and the funeral hung up in special places in their houses—on the bedside table, on the refrigerator, on the bathroom mirror—so that Pablo's memory and all he means to them and their families is not ever dimmed with the passage of days and weeks and, eventually, months and years. This morning, I saw this photo pop up in my IN box. A friend of Jo Ann's is a columnist for the New Orleans daily paper, the Times-Picayune. She's written a column on Pablo and needed photos. Sending pics—the actual assembling of the email and writing of captions—was a highly charged act for Jo Ann. To hear me say it, you might think 'Of course it was emotional for her.' Where we are, sometimes tasks like sending a picture to someone appears to be a simple and safe thing to do. Until you do it. And then the high voltage wire of emotion plants itself in the base of your spine and you light up like the Fourth of July. And then you remember, 'Oh yeah, I have to be more careful. Nothing is normal anymore.'
As our home turns into a packing zone for our three week trip to Paris, four cities in Italy and, for the final week, Peter and Brie's amazing cabin on Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire, we are talking through our feelings. The two main emotional pillars: excitement for getting our first holiday in 14 months on the one hand, and absolute fear + terror about how it will feel to leave our home at 2 p.m. tomorrow without Pablo. For the first time without Pablo. Another first. And this one we see coming. We can't anticipate how we will feel in 25 hours' time. But we can talk about how it feels to embark on a key phase in the process of moving on, letting go. How it feels to feel the wheels of acceptance start to crackle on the gravel beneath us. And how it will feel to put pressure on the accelerator. How it will feel to put a block between us and our house, where we lived with Pablo, where Pablo was born and then lived and then died. Seems so unfair. I want to cry.
I know that if it were I that had passed away 26 days ago, I would know that Jo Ann, Grady and Pablo would be embarking on a trip just like this. I would want them to have fun. To put one foot in front of the other. To bring me along by remembering me, celebrating the fun we had, the life we lived together. And that is precisely what we will do on our trip. We will bring Pablo with us. He's here. No doubt. Pablo is here, as I type, watching me, as he always did when he was here physically, teaching himself to type by watching his Mommy and Papa. And he'll be with us tomorrow on the 5:35 Virgin flight to London, his Papa's favorite for his business trips. The one he always wanted to go on with me....
Today, Pablo is celebrating Uncle Scott's 44th birthday. There is no doubt those dudes are hammering through the best birthday cake ever—right now! Happy birthday Scott!