We want you back in our life not as a memory but the real dude: hence the subject line. The past 20 days have torn us apart and we linger in between these two worlds of what was and what is. And it hurts so much. Last night was not much different than all the previous nights with replays of the film in repeat mode.
Yesterday, we visited the UO campus again for the first time since you died. I had guessed that, Labor Day Sunday would be quiet; summer school was over and fall quarter not started. Maybe a few international students straddled between school schedules and American traditions. Locals having arrived elsewhere and not yet en route back. A perfect day for a reflective visit. You could throw a bowling ball down the lane of the main mall and not even hit a squirrel.
You remember Tim, don’t you. Maybe not, given you were born an Oregonian. He’s my best friend from elementary school, kind of like the Kevins, Scotty, and others with you He was in town and we were on a walk about to show him the campus. I was on a community re-integration program. Sorry, but I just can’t hole up in your forest-yard monument at home.
We wandered through BRT. What a beautiful place. This office collection of people and lives are family and have been with us spanning decades. The seats at desks are people with their own families and collections of kids, horses, goats, gardens, adventures, and lives that have merged with our family. It was just right except walking by the area where you and Sev worked on projects. Now, when she looks to the left, her wingman’s seat will be empty. Not even you in the SPM program is there now to bridge your transition.
Campus is an arboretum with sidewalks platted crisscross. Huge Maples. A cemetery of old Doug Fir. Parking in the furthest corner of campus allowed plenty of football passes and routes to see the mighty Ducks take on everyone. Diagonal sidewalks gave you and your friends the play routes for long passes. Home games with season tickets ensured us guy time together. You had a mighty arm even back then with a 50 yard pass not impossible.
We showed Tim the different buildings, highlights of campus history and development of programs for students who wanted a small, intact campus, land locked to about a square mile. The College of Education with its mighty reach into external funds and a national reputation. The Lundquist Business School where you were enrolled in a Portland program. The Knight Library and Knight Law School, the soon to be Knight Science campus, and the Matt Knight Arena. This last building is what joins our family with his. Every year, I write a letter to Phil and Penny, thanking them for endowing me with a professorship. This year will be different. It will sadly note that, we now join them in being in a small group of parents who have laid a child to rest. It makes us cry.