cc licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

An actual lifetime ago, April 1987, I was perhaps likely forward to an upcoming 24th birthday but also the trip that summer that would pack up my east coast life for transplanting in Arizona. But on this day, I got word my brother passed away. The fragments of the story slip through the fingers, as yellow as the old tape that holds photos in the books.

A happy six month old baby
A happy six month old baby

In his baby book, now in my care since my Mom passed away, at 14 months, the book has a blank page for “Anecdotes: amusing incidents may be recorded below”.

Incidents of amusement, I wonder how my parents dealt with the mixed bag of joy, appreciation, but overwhelming concern to be parenting a mentally retarded child. I can only wonder.

March 20, 1953 - "First piece of cake. Grabbed a handful of cake and pushed in his mouth. Loved the chocolate, Barry [cousin] helped him"
March 20, 1953 – “First piece of cake. Grabbed a handful of cake and pushed in his mouth. Loved the chocolate, Barry [cousin] helped him”

A piece of cake, huge incident. Finding the joy in every little crumb of chocolate.

The pages for age 10 are blank; 1963 was the year I was born, and my parents made the wrenching decision to put David in an institution, Rosewood State Hospital, a place I will never go back to.

david-book-age-10-blank

There was no birthday party. I am fairly sure my parents paid him a visit, they were good about that. But nothing noted in the book, not guests, no gifts, the book painfully put away on a bookshelf, a book meant to mark the progress and development of child. David would never develop much farther than the amused by cake mental age.

I can only wonder and speculate of a different universe where David lives a full life.

For now, I only have this one. I do this yearly so I keep my memories as fresh as the old yellow tape and fading photos allow.

cc licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

That is all we can do.

The post "David’s Chair, Empty Now for 27 Years" was originally pushed out of the bottom of a purple jar of Play-Doh at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2014/04/davids-chair-empty-now-for-27-years/) on April 9, 2014.

5 Comments

  • Stephen Hurley

    Powerful…very powerful!!!

  • Sandy Brown Jensen blogs.lanecc.edu/mindonfire

    Another heart breaking story from the Naked City…

  • Judy Levine Griffith

    Alan, you always have a wonderful way to remember our brother. There are painful and joyful memories. Our parents did wonderful things to try to give David the love and affection that they gave to Harriet, you and me. His birthday reminds me of the little boy who loved rocking in that chair. I can still hear the sound of it and see David’s smile as he loved that chair.

  • Harriet

    Brings back so many memories. I’m glad you keep Mom’s calendar going.

  • Chris L

    Wow. Powerful. The juxtaposition of the three images alone are heartbreaking and inspiring.

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