Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The Original Timmy
I was a boy. I was a boy who played hard. I ran and I jumped and I rode my bike in the street. I played with snakes and frogs from the creek and my dog, Darby. I loved. I loved my mother and my father and my baby brother. I loved my friends and my babysitter and all my family. And I was strong. I was as strong as I needed to be. I had to fight a disease, a man's disease, not a boy's disease; a disease the doctor's said I was born with. So yes, mother, I'm glad you don't blame yourself anymore. It wasn't your fault I was born with this cancer. I fought tooth and nail for two years. I didn't like the chemo, and what it did to me. I didn't like the vomiting in the car coming home from the hospital and I didn't like having everyone stare at me when I became bald as a billiard ball. But I could laugh about it, like the time I won those devil horns at the arcade. I wanted you, mother, to walk either far, far in front of me, or way, way behind me as we entered the hospital. And then I licked those suckers and stuck them to my bald head and strutted down the hallway with my chest puffed out; I watched people take a double take at me- a 7 year old bald devil head walking down the hall...all by himself. I'll never forget that.
But I fought because I didn't quite know what I had to lose. I guess that's what's great about being a kid. There's nothing to worry about. I once asked you, mother, what God was like and you said that you didn't know. You asked me, "what do you think?" And I said, "I think he's a very nice person." We never went to church, but I knew in my heart. I guess I was born knowing. I knew heaven was a beautiful thing, even though no one ever described it to me, but I wasn't sure there was going to be birthday parties there. You told me that there probably would be a party for me. You were right. We have birthday parties like you dream about.
I knew I would teach you all something about living. I knew I would teach you that kisses are sweet and life is short. I guess I was born knowing that too, that I would make you stronger, in the end, with all this knowing.
I'm glad my baby brother is a hero. He probably likes being close to death so that it reminds him of his own life. Because everyone needs to be reminded that they're alive every once in awhile. I'm honored that he wanted to name his first born son after me. I was hoping that would happen so that his only memories of me wouldn't be wrapped in a white sheet, carried down the stairs by our father, at the end. Now, he has a breathing, feeling, warm thing to remind him of our bond. And wouldn't you know the second Timothy Raymond is his buddy. More his buddy than the other buddies.
And I'm glad that good things actually do come of tragedy. I know I'm missed. I know lives would be drastically different if I were there and not here. But I did make you all stronger. I made you who you are today. What a gift, huh? I know. You can all thank me when you get here. I'll be the bald kid in heaven...wearing the devil horns. And I'll be surrounded by friends. You'll have to push hard through the love to find me. It's thick. But remember, I made you strong for a reason.
Remembering Timothy Raymond
Paul Bunyan's Older Brother
August 7, 1970-December 6, 1977