Hi Team Ewan!
It’s been a long time. I think of you all so often. I grew weary of saying out loud, ” I miss Ewan.” So, I stopped. But I didn’t stopped missing him. I miss him terribly. And I miss you. This year+ long experiment in safe, physical distancing has been long and lonely. I miss seeing people smile and reading their lips as they talk. I miss not feeling like I need to rush to get out of the room and clear the space. I can’t keep up with the ever-changing protocols on how to connect with loved ones anymore. This week, a constellation of connections came together like one great, big dot-to-dot, as if to spell out Ewan’s shimmering name in the sky. Many beloved people were suddenly and unexpectedly woven back into my world. A gentle swoosh of wind, swooped in and scooped me up, as if to whisper, “We are all still here.”In the course of this week leading up to the anniversary of Ewan’s death, I saw the following friends:
Sam, the last friend Ewan ever had a play date with. They played Uno on May 6th, 2018. Ewan loved the game so much we cremated him with a hand of Uno cards folded in his pocket from that last deck.
In Starbuck’s, while waiting to order my AM earl grey tea, I looked up from my app and realized I was standing next to Ruth, Dan’s mom. I am so delighted to hear Dan still loves LEGOS––one of the many passions he and Ewan shared.
A very special pediatric oncologist, Dr. Molly, reached out this week to chat and see if I would co-present with her at an upcoming meeting focus on what it means to have a good death. She hoped I am willing to talk about Ewan. What the heck, yes!
Our Scottish Deerhound pup, Mac, got tangled up, in a good way, with the dog of Ewan’s chess buddy, Dani. The furry beasts romped and had crazy fun. It was a joy to watch and catch up with Gloria in her backyard.
Michael and I shared our first date night dinner out in a year, with David and Blair. The vibrant, iconic calaveras of El Cantino, in Ballard, couldn’t help but remind me of mi angelito precioso. I was also reminded of all the ways Blair and her family have helped our family over the years. Like when Blair hand-strung one thousand colorful paper cranes to hang in Ewan’s hospital room.
During dinner, I spotted my former boss, Grace, across the restaurant. She embodied her name when I phoned five years ago to say I didn’t know when I would be back to work because my son was just diagnosed with leukemia. It was lovely and touching to catch up with her and her family, ever-so briefly, over enchilandas. One of her sons, about Ewan’s age, was holding an origami boat.
Maggie Tai spied me at the crosswalk near Ewan’s bench.
Dropping off a pressure washer, I was awash in joy to see two of Ewan’s friends running and playing in the yard: Daisy and Vox. Vox was the first friend to visit Ewan in the hospital when he was initially diagnosed.
I’ve come full circle in this week’s fairy light string of friends and blazing bright stars of faces. I wonder if it is the universe’s attempt to offset a week bookmarked by the most searingly, severe memories or just the COVID cloud lifting. There has been more. All week, cards from loved ones came in the mail (a new mailbox finally replace the one that was run over by a delivery truck). Sweets texts made a pleasant ping sound on arrival. Even my phone offered up extra love by surprising me with buried treasures of Ewan from its For You folder that I didn’t know existed until this week. Yesterday, a forgotten photo snapped on Whidby Island made me smile. Elena and Ewan are eating humongous ice cream cones. Ewan’s arm is wrapped lovingly around her shoulder. Today’s win is a video of microsoccer with friend Alex. There were many more phone calls and face-to-faces (you know who you are and thank you for remembering banana Danimals and chocolate milk).
It has not been a winning streak all week. We had plans to tuck ourselves away in Leavenworth this weekend for quiet family time. Plans got cancelled because of marching band, but I could not bring myself to get in line and lock-step with a roaring weekend kicked off by a drum roll, followed by brash brass tunes and tons of cheering. We compromised and made new plans: Michael and Elena are at the MIHS stadium; Wesley, Mac and I are nestled in a tiny library room with a potbellied stove. Ponderosa pines hug us on all sides. We are waiting for them to join us this evening.
Often, when we go away, we do hard things – hike difficult trails, visit places he had no interest in or had not been… do things that Ewan would not want to do so that he does not miss out and so that the new memories formed do not erase old memories. I always carry Ewan’s ashes, but it is not the same as “taking him with us.” I am surprised to experience the comfort of knowing he would like it in this little reading room.
He’d also like watching his sister perform in the marching band. Mostly, he’d love to see his friends and play in the yard with them. Yes, Ewan is missing out – that is the rub with death, but maybe the new memories formed do not erase the old ones. The new memories connect us back to the old and the lines formed trace the outline of something we love. I see it in the eyes of his friends and family––like I am carrying the stardust and bone that was him, they are carrying Ewan’s memory with them. We are taking him with us, Team Ewan.
Much love to you all.