He would have been 22 years old today. Brandon Lee Gordon was born on 12/22/1992.
The number 2 he claimed as his special lucky number. Ironically, he died on 2/22/09.
Yet another of the February deaths in my life.
Keaton and I met Brandon and his mother, Julie, at MD Anderson when Both boys were battling the Osteosarcoma monster. Keaton had just had a thoracotomy lung surgery, and Brandon was hooked to an IV backpack of a particularly nasty chemo undergoing therapy for a relapse.
His mother wheeled him in sitting in a wheelchair, but Brandon didn't stay seated for long. That boy was the epitome of energy. He was up and bounding all over the room, literally bouncing off the walls, while Keaton and I looked on in amazement.
He had the broadest and most infectious smile I have ever seen. That smile lit up the whole hospital, like a ray of sunshine in the midst of the gray faces and desperate trials of so many fighting for their lives.
His mom, Julie, was one of those strong, determined women, willing and able to do whatever it took to save her only son.
They were from the northern state of Michigan.. A long way from home. Hockey is a popular sport there, and Brandon loved and excelled at hockey. His team number on his shirt was of course...number 22.
When I read his mom's caring bridge post this morning, I found my memory filmed over, a dull shadow coating the faces, making those days and those moments a blurred and faraway scene. As if looking at misty mountains from far away..hard to tell if they are really there.
And my Keaton's face, also, fades and shimmers..turns into a collection of still photographs. The fact is that loosing him was so overwhelming..so devastating..so unacceptable.. That I still can not get think of him very closely without plummeting to the pits of despair and depression. Because all I want is just to have him back. To have him beside me right now..experiencing this life right now with me and his family and friends.
And sorry, but being reunited in the next life, does not touch the pain of missing him and knowing what he is missing in this life.
So between two equally difficult scenarios, I truly do not know which is best. Keep my thoughts shallow, don't think too closely or too often about the past... Keep it a far away misty unreality..keep the pain at bay. But in doing so, will it eventually fade into obscurity altogether?
Will I forget my son's face, his smile, his being?
I don't want to forget. But I am tired of hurting and longing for things I can never have again.
But right now.. This day..I dredged up the memory of Brandon, polished off the film, and that moment shines bright, as a happy moment, a good thing in the middle of the bad. And as I remembered that vivid smile of Brandon's, suddenly flashing clear and sharp in my mind, was my own son, my Keaton looked at with me with his sweet smile, and I smiled back.