Today would have been Todd’s 43rd birthday.
Strange how timing works out…Todd’s birthday, Father’s Day, and the boys’ birthdays all fall within the same week.
The boys are 5 now and are asking questions daily about their dad – or painfully lack of a dad. The questions are pragmatic in nature; my answers are philosophical by default. Last night, we were lying in bed and Andrew asked me (seemingly out of the blue): “Mama, how do you talk to God?” What I wanted to say was, “Jesus fucking Christ. I don’t know…” Instead, I said: “Just speak from your heart.” And he did – and it was beautiful.
Since the boys were only 5 months old when Todd died, for better or worse, they have no memories of him. The memories they have are the ones I created for them. I am trying to work out this concept in greater depth and have been pondering my responsibility to make these boys feel like they knew their dad – and still have a dad – even though they didn’t and don’t.
Last week, I was going through some old emails and found one I hadn’t read since we received it a couple of months before Todd died. As I read it, I realized with great relief that I share this responsibility with so many of Todd’s friends and family.
Today the boys and I will make Todd’s favorite cake and head down to the beach to enjoy the things Todd and I used to enjoy doing together. I am not sure how much the boys will enjoy sitting under an umbrella listening to AM sports radio - but we will give it a whirl. J
Perhaps not today – but one day, I will share with them this beautiful reminder in someone else’s voice of the kind of man their father was:
“You are a man of integrity, uncompromising character, an inspiration and a hero. There were times in college when I found myself slightly jealous of you. You fit in effortlessly to all types of groups and situations. I'm not sure what movie it's from but the quote I use to equate to you was, "men want to be you and women want to be with you" (sorry Amanda, but its true). You are one of those rare people that everyone wants to be around. They feel like being around you will make them better. I know I feel that way.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about you. You drive me to be a better, man, husband and father. Your boys will always know what kind of man I think you are, and they can count on me for anything at anytime, anywhere. If my boys grow up to be half the man you are, I would be overjoyed.
It's not fair the situation you and Amanda are in. It's not right and no person should have to go through what the two of you have gone through these past 8 years. But know that you are inspiring thousands of people to take nothing for granted, cherish every moment, live for today and be thankful for what we have. You are making a sacrifice that no one should have to make but it's not in vain.
And the last thing I will say on this topic is that your friends.....the Forgers, Walshes, Shattucks, the Kennedys, Handlers, Nardinis, and Deshaws of the world, along with countless others would jump at the chance to take a bullet for you. In my eyes, I can't think of any other example that demonstrates what type of man you are. I know I wouldn't think twice.”