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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
That is all we can do.