I recently completed the game Death Stranding, which won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but I really loved. There is one thing quite interesting about it though. Without going into the whole plot, it’s about the worlds of life and death getting intermingled so these ghost like figures start being on the earth. In order to be able to sense these beings, people, including the main character Sam (as portrayed by Norman Reedus) wear BBs (Bridge Babies) on their suits. That’s because they say this is the age where they straddle between the world of the living and the dead. These bridge babies come from “still mothers” or mothers who are braindead, and, it specifically states in the game, they are taken out at about 28 weeks (which is true for Max as well). So, the BB-28 in the game reminded me a lot of Max! They even look alike (though I think that’s true for most babies). It didn’t make me sad or anything, I actually liked it.
The Leftovers on HBO ended up being one of my all-time favorite shows and the best meditation on grief I’ve seen in TV or movies.
The third and final season of it concentrated on the upcoming seven year anniversary of “The Sudden Departure”. The seven year anniversary has particular importance to various communities in the show, with a great importance put on that number. What will happen on the seventh year? Will everyone come back? Will another rapture happen?
Now it’s seven years for Max, too.
Does it get easier? Well, does what get easier? Life? No, no it doesn’t.
Things change. You change. The world changes. You make decisions. You move further down the path. New things, both sad and wonderful rise to the surface. But no matter the forks in the road, trace it back and it comes back to that fork. That change. That thing. No matter what happens ahead of that, it’s there and it will always be there.
After five years I thought I’d know everything there was to know about the gifts Max brought into my life, yet each year I’ve continued to grow in new ways that tie back to those beautiful 16 days we had together.
2012 was all about resilience, 2013 about empathy. 2014 came and went and with it, the return of peace. In 2015, I got incredibly honest about what I wanted from life.
And yet, since Max’s last birthday I’ve realized yet another and it’s my favorite one of all…love. A capacity to love that I thought was reserved only for Max. A boldness to love completely: in spite of impermanence, in the face of uncertainty, and perhaps most importantly, without fear. If there were just one gift I could keep with me forever, this depth of love for my family and friends, old and new, would be enough.
Some strange coincidences with Mad Max Fury Road.
A. It comes out right at Max’s 3 year Bday.
B. It’s awesome like Max.
C. When Max wore his mask in NICU, I compared him to Bain, played by Tom Hardy, who ended up playing Max.
And yes, watching Road Warrior on repeat in college is one reason I loved the name Max. The warrior Max.
I was thinking yesterday evening how unbelievable it is that it’s been one year that Max went to the giant crib in the sky.
A year. That’s 585 million miles that the Earth has traveled since then.
Max has been such a major part of my life this past year. Every day without fail I look at his pictures and kiss them and just marvel at how perfect of a creation he is.
So many people love him and miss him, and it’s my largest hope that he’s somewhere in that celestial cloud looking over us. And I have absolutely no fear of death in me, because that’s my one chance to see my baby boy again. I love him so much, and am glad when other people do too, by doing nice things like decorating his stone.
Spin, pinwheel, spin.
View from Max’s stone.
Visiting his stone, it’s crazy to see how many new graves pop up in BabyLand. As sad as it is, I think all parents of kids there take solace in the hope that somehow each one represents a new friend for their baby. There will always be the “Why us?” and “Why him?” questions, but there’s slight comfort knowing that we’re not alone.
A year. Can’t believe it’s been a year since I would come in to the NICU and talk to my son and he’d find me and look at me right away. Eye to eye. Just two dudes saying “what’s up, man?” One positive I try to keep hold of: that’s how I’ll always remember him. We never had an argument, or a fight, or a disagreement, or a squabble, or a “ugh, why is he crying?” moment. Nothing but pure love when looking at him, and I hope for him looking at me.
Miss you so much, my Maxy boy.
We ordered Max his nice tombstone yesterday.
We got the proof in today, it’s going to rock the party.
The quote is from the song “Holland, 1945” by Neutral Milk Hotel.
It’s an indie classic, and Pitchfork voted it 7th best song of the 1990s, though most non-indie-hipster-types likely have never heard it.
I’ve known the song for years, and was listening to it a bit after Max went to Heaven-land, and the quote seemed perfect.
In other news, I was attacked by shingles, so I haven’t been able to get my tattoo. Hopefully I can get it on before August 13, when I go to Chicago for 6 months. I plan to put Max-based graffiti up as much as possible.