In the end yesterday I found everything I needed for my tax return and I am glad that that is out-of-the-way.
You see, we were moving house this time last year, and with less office space in the new house, I streamlined our filing cabinet. I never became familiar with it though, what with all the summer travels after moving, the busy September and October as I re-started writing, and then Andrew’s death; I never looked at that filing cabinet. In fact, sitting on top of it, there were several months’ worth of filing.
In the process of tidying up as well as searching, I re-found years of family history. Not that I’d forgotten it was there, but I didn’t “remember” that it was there either. It just was there.
I didn’t have time to go through it yesterday, but as soon as I got up this morning, I headed straight for the filing cabinet, filled my arms full of folders and headed back for my bed.
Sitting upright, I went through each piece of paper, looked at every single photograph and… cried my eyes out.
July 10, 2003
“Dear Mummy and Daddy,” Andrew wrote on a yellow piece of lined paper. “As time wears on I find myself more and more thinking about all the things I will be able to do when I get home. Zack is counting down the time until we can all go, and I am really looking forward to visiting day….. I would be glad to come home on visiting day as long as Zack doesn’t have to stay. Andrew”
That note brought back memories of that summer, the first and only summer that Andrew had gone to sleep-away camp. He’d never wanted to before. But that summer, our friends Eileen and David had wanted their son Zack to go to camp, feeling that he would benefit from the experience. But he wouldn’t go without Andrew.
Out of loyalty to his friend, Andrew gave up going to Teen-Scape, the day travel camp that he had really been wanting to go to since seventh grade, and went with Zack.
Plop, plop, plop, my loud falling tears as I remember how he thought it all over and over, before saying to me:
“I’ll go Mummy, I don’t want to let Zack down.”
In fairness to me I have to say that I thought that he would have a wonderful time and I was actually excited for him.
Here’s another one:
“Hi Mummy and Daddy, I can’t wait to come home, camp is not half what it is cracked up to be. This area is plagued by what seem to be genetically enhanced mosquitoes…. I signed up for windsurfing which seems much more fun than one would think. Fencing is fun and I find that I am quite good at it. We eat the cheapest food possible to buy. I bought a great book called: The Jumbo Duct Tape Book, enclosed in this envelope is a piece of paper entitling us to a free roll of duct tape. I really need goggles for my swim class as well as a can of bug spray. I find myself counting down the days until I am allowed to leave camp.
There are some kind kids in my hut, but there are some creeps too. I would also really like some gum and I also need more letters, stamps, etc.”
Darling Andrew, why didn’t I come and get you? Why was I instead amused by your notes that talked about wanting to come home but also telling us that windsurfing and fencing were fun? Oh Lord if only hindsight could instead be foresight.
Here is another heartbreaking note for me;
“P.S.” Andrew had scrawled at the bottom of his 2001-2002 report card. “Mummy, I did the math, I improved 2 grades,” I could hear his written voice and see his face. I always pushed him to do better!
And this something else I found – ANDREW – by Anonymous:
Smart, funny, nice knapsack, nice, doesn’t settle for anything he doesn’t want, knows lots of facts, good at computers, good at football, has lots of good pokemon cards, loves nintendo and computers, intelligent, kind, sweet, can tell the future or read minds, athletic, smart in science, cool, strong.
I wonder who wrote that about my son.
Is there no way of turning back the clocks? Somebody ((((((((please)))))))