That day is a blur. I recall bits and pieces…some more vividly than others. As I walked to where he laid, it felt as if the room circled around me. Each leg felt as if they bore the weight of the world. My body was fighting me. My heart was screaming out in anguish, my soul crumbling with each step I took. This is not a walk I ever want to take again….this not not a walk any parent should take.
Though I didn’t want to look at him, that is not the way I wished to remember him, I do recall gently and so lovingly caressing his face. I was thinking that it really didn’t look like him…this was only a pretend shell…a doll of sorts. Yet, I knew this was all that was left of my baby. I gently laid my head on his chest. My husband put his hand gently on my back, bent over and whispered in my ear not to press too hard. He mumbled an explanation as to why but I refuse to remember what he said. As I turned and walked away to my seat, my gaze slowly took in the football jersey and helmet which were proudly displayed in his honor. Football was his life! He ate, breathed, sweated football! That’s is all he wanted to do…play ball. He was the high school quarterback, the captain, the star. You couldn’t turn on the TV or opened the sports section on Saturday with out seeing his face or name. I recall going for the first time to a new dentist. As he introduced himself, he gazed at my chart, smiled and asked “Are you related to Joey Palacio?” “I’m his mom” I answered. With a huge grin he said “WOW, I feel like I am working on a movie star’s mom’s mouth!” We laughed. He continued to talk to me about the upcoming Friday night game and how much in awe he was of Joey’s talents. He vividly, and animatedly, recalled a recent play that led to a win. He asked about his future plans and gave advice as to where he should attend college. I just laid back in the chair, my heart swelling with pride. My son is a star, I thought, yup, a star! I knew in that he would continue to be a shining star.
Now, as I gaze out at the night sky, I look for him…the brightest star I can find.