Sunday, August 16, 2009

Letters From Pablo's Grave+Pablo's Garden+Pablove Wall

Shirley cut roses out of her garden Saturday morning and brought them to Pablo's grave.

Pablo would love this. We're flying home on Virgin America, and for $12.95 we're surfing the net on the on-board wi-fi. Of course, if Pablo were here, we'd be watching 'SpongeBob' snippets on YouTube, and I wouldn't be writing a post about people who've visited his grave this week.

As I write this, Clint, Rachel and Jonah are having a picnic at Pablo's grave. I know that from Clint's Facebook status. Our friend Thais from New Orleans went up to see Pablo's grave at breakfast time last week. Gigi and her mom went up, too, after visiting Gigi's father nearby. You can see in the photos above that Shirley clipped gorgeous roses from her garden and brought them to Pablo. We're happy she sent the pics. They make us happy, and make us feel like we're there, sitting in the grass with her. We've received notes from others, but I can't access them on my laptop, cramped in this airplane seat.

Earlier this week, Carrie, our friend who arranged many meditation circles in support of Pablo, brought her sons Miles and Dexter to Pablo's Garden, across the street from our house. Miles was one of Pablo's best friends. They met as tiny tots in Music Together class in Silverlake, and always had a great time playing. Carrie and Miles' dad Dan have told us many times how Miles' experience around Pablo's illness and passing have deeply affected him. Carrie describes one remarkable statement from Miles in the note below:

From: Carrie
To: Jeff and Jo Ann

We went to see 'Pablo's Patch' (that's what Miles calls it) today. It was so amazing. Miles, Dex and I sat there...we left a little toy and Miles said, 'Pablo you're the best.' He did a couple of Geronimo jumps off the wall, too.

Miles told me that Pablo visits him every night and leaves Pirate Treasure for him under his pillow.

We really miss you guys and hope you are enjoying every minute.

Love you!

The last letter I want to share with you is from Mike Hickey. His wife Penelope is a nurse at CHLA day hospital, and became one of Pablo's guardian angels on his innumerable hours and days there. She also performed a very special duty for Pablo: she came over week after week, for months on end, to give Pablo Neupogen and Neulasta white blood cell booster shots in his thighs. She also taught Jo Ann how to do it. Penelope did this to be of service to Pablo and us, not as part of her job. It still blows me away.

I know how far I have to go in the trenches of grieving cos when I type these words, my eyes fill with tears and the center of my body tingles with anger and fear and longing for Pablo and guilt over why my little boy had to go through all that pain. Guilt asking why it wasn't—why it couldn't be—me who went through the pain. Pablo's shots were pain on top of the pain. The shots never came at an opportune time for Pablo, despite the fact that their function was highly opportune for the inner workings of his body.

When Penelope would ring our doorbell—often accompanied by her little girl Helen—Pablo would be knee-deep in an episode ('ep' in our jargon) of 'SpongeBob' or one of his movies. Sometimes without protest, he'd tap the PAUSE button on his touch-screen remote, and step into the living room where Jo Ann and Penelope would be readying the alcohol pads, syringe and a huge selection of Band-Aids. Pablo's trepidation about getting stuck was always diverted by his ability to choose a Band-Aid with a cool character on it. When all that was over, Pablo and Helen would play while their mommies chatted.

That's the background on the note you're about to read from Penelope's husband Mike.

PS—the photo Mike refers to didn't come through on the email. I'll post it soon!

From: Michael Hickey
To: Jo Ann Thrailkill
Subject: Hello from Helen...

Hi Jo Ann,

I hope this message finds you well, with healing heart and healing soul. I just wanted to drop you a note on behalf of Penelope, Helen and I to say hello, to let you know we are thinking of your family and sending you our best of wishes. I want to share with you a picture of Helen in front of the magnificent Pablo mural outside the Dangerbird building. We were out and about one day strolling the Junction and we wanted to show Helen the mural for Pablo.

She studied it intently, asking what all the words said and what they meant and we explained to her their meaning and that it was a piece of art dedicated to Pablo. She said she wanted to say hello to him so she walked over to the heart, put her hands on it, stood there for a minute and then said some words to Pablo. She brings him up a lot. Together we look at the blog daily to see how you are all doing, at night before bed she asks me for my phone so she can look at Pablo pictures from the blog. In the car we blast Garbage 'Witness To Your Love' and we all scream along. That song is in super heavy Helen rotation, I have a recording of her singing along with it in the that is hilarious.

I just want to let you know that your family has had a profound effect on us. It is very hard for me to explain, I am not a word guy, but it is there, it is beautiful and it is felt by all of us, and we are truly thankful for it. Thanks to you, Jeff and Grady for letting us in by way of the blog, for giving us insight into your world and for sharing with us your pain, your joy, your tears, your courage. You are in our thoughts, in our hearts and we hope you find peace to help you heal.

Mike Hickey


Elizabeth said...

Dear Jeff, Jo Ann and Grady,
I do not know you and never had the pleasure of meeting Pablo. Nevertheless your family has had a profound effect on my life. I read the blog everyday, and feel so grateful to have access to another's experience of love and loss, so pure and real, full of pain and hope and rage and desire. While the words may have been overused by now, your strength and courage are inspirational. Unfortunately the magnitude of your suffering turns "I'm sorry" into such a puny phrase. I keep you all in my thoughts and heart everyday. Your willingness to share your experience in such an honest way has helped me in my own grieving process. I want to say thank you. Your family gives me hope. I think we could all learn something from how passionately you love and how honestly you grieve.

Anonymous said...

just when i think my heart can't break any sad. jeesh.
sharon o.