Times Revisited

Andrew ready to fence - must be five years ago

Andrew on his riding mentor's bike in 2007

To distract myself this morning, I sat up in bed and asked my husband to read to me from the Vegetarian Times magazine that  I’ve been getting since September. It brought back memories, recent memories, of lively dinner table conversations.

Florentina and I, the vegetarians of the family who had read books like: Food Politics; Food Revolution; Animal, Vegetable Miracle; Skinny Bitch and others, often jumped on our high horses and recited a long list of all the evils of a meat diet, meat producers, agribusiness, dairy industry and on and on.

But Andrew loved his meat, and beans, he said, didn’t agree with him; as for tofu, the texture was too slimy.  Still, in July we had all gone to see Food Inc.

“It would mean a lot to me Andrew, if you came to see this movie with us, and if you could could talk Robert into coming too.” He studied the pleading- bargaining look on my face for a moment, then he agreed to come.

I knew that that approach would work.  He had used it on me a couple of weeks earlier.

“Mummy,” he had said coming into the kitchen.  ” I am going to get a motorbike. And it would mean a lot to me if you could give me your blessing.”

When he first talked about getting a mototorbike, I was horrified.  I did everything I could to dissuade him. I told him that motorbikes are dangerous, I told him that I didn’t approve.  Better to save up for a car, much more useful.   But he wanted a motorbike. I hated the idea, I was terrified that he might get hurt, or worse.

But I saw how he smiled when he talked about it, when he explained how bike drivers are like a family. They have a sign language with which they communicate with one another when they pass each other on the road.  He told me how honorable bikers are and if they see a fellow rider is in trouble on the road they stop to help.  I was moved by his genuine and powerful portrayal of this extended family on wheels.

It was then that I told him, that when I was even a few years younger than him, I had driven a bike.  It was a friend’s Kawasaki. My friend must been out of his mind to let me drive it, because straddled across the bike, my feet couldn’t reach the ground and we had to drive in a sort of tandem.  I changed the gears and everything else, and he held us upright whenever we had to stop.

“But that was then,” I told him.  “And I am not going to do it again.  And it was dangerous.”

Andrew looked at me wide eyed and chuckled and I knew that I had scored a few brownie points in his estimation.  And yes, I did give him my  “seal of approval” about getting a bike, and when he found the right one on Craig’s list I drove him to pick it up.

I watched him inspect it, test it, negotiate the price and finally shake hands with the seller.  He was so happy.  I prayed that he’d always be safe.  He looked as dashing in his riding gear as he did in his fencing clothes with his mask under his arm, saluting with his foil before a bout.  I often thought of him as one of the knights at King Arthur’s round table.

He named his bike Loki, after the Norse God of Fire.  But now Loki is sitting in the drive, like a horse waiting for his knight to come ride away in the wind and sun.

As for me, darling Andrew, I would give up asking you to come to the Veggie Pride Parade in Manhattan dressed up as a carrot.  Not only that, but I am ready to light up the B-B-Q and cook you a nice juicy porterhouse steak or any steak of your choice.

After all, I didn’t become vegetarian until a year ago.

And…….We love you Andrew.

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10 thoughts on “Times Revisited

  1. saw your article today- sadly lost my son 3 years ago- developed mental illness in his senior year of college and also took his own life after suffering for five years- please write me or call if you need a truly understanding ear- (845)426-1048

  2. First and foremost I will keep you , your beautiful son and your family in my prayers. My heart goes out to you. I still have my son but have almost lost him to the disease of addiction and have had the pain of watching him die slowly over several years.He is still with me and on a path of recovery right now. I can only imagine the pain you have. Writing about depression, suicide and your journey will help others and therefore help you. I used to be silent about our family’s struggle with our son’s ,mental health and the disease of addiction which unfortunately carries a lot of stigma. In speaking out and refusing to stay silent I have found the healing for myself and I hope it helps you as well. When we help others somehow our pain is lessened slightly. Many young adults do not disclose their depression. We do not know the pain they have inside. I did not know my son was depressed and it probably fueled some of his addiction as well. Take care of yourself. I have found a support group with those who have similar issues as me has helped me to heal. I pray for you and your family.

    • I am so glad that your son is still with you. Take care dear fellow mother, take care the best way you can. Hugs, Andrew’s mummy

  3. Read your article today. Unfortunately, I can relate & understand how you feel. I lost my 20 year old son Kevin to suicide 18 months ago. He died on 6/4/08 in our home, in the hallway outside his bedroom by passive hanging. He was my life and not a day has gone by that I don’t think about him. His father found him. He was bipolar and suffered many years. Still the day before he died he was in such a good mood and luckily my last vision of him is with a big smile on his face. My son had long hair like yours, pulled back in a ponytail. He had such beautiful hair. I miss my baby so much and I am so sorry for your loss. Many people don’t understand what it is like for a parent who has lost their child to suicide. It is very different from losing a child to and accident or to an illness, there is usually a lot a guilt that goes with a suicide. You are still in the early stages and are getting support, I hope that your friends and family continue to support you over the coming months and years. If you want to talk I would love to talk to you. We parents need to talk about our children and it helps to talk to someone who has been through it. My cell # is (914) 393-1288 and my email address is LAZ157@optonline.net.

    • Dearest Laura, how brave of you to write about your son and how he died. How glad I am for you that your last memory of him is a happy one. But I know how broken your heart is, so is mine. But in time…LET’S look forward to that time, one day at the time.
      Love, Andrew’s mummy

  4. Esmeralda,
    You probably do not remember, but your Robert went to ICS with my daughter, Lia. We spent many afternoons waiting to pick up our children – talking about our life experiences. You were always so insightful and I remember our talks fondly.
    I want to express my heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your son, Andrew. I know how close you all were and how much this hurts all of you.
    May God give you all the strength to cope with this loss to your family.
    Maria Huben

    • Dear Maria, I do remember you well and fondly. Thank you for getting in touch, I appreciate it and thank you for your words. Love, Esmeralda

  5. I read of the news of your son’s tragic passing when it took place. Today I read the Journal News front page article. My profound sympathy to you. Having experienced depression and anxiety in my life I understand the emptiness and detachment that surrounds a person afflicted with the illness. The tragedy is that there is always hope. There is so much that can be done to help the suffering. Your loss is unmeasurable but for you too there is hope. There is hope in each new day and for all those that are close to you to be open to one another.

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