Posts Tagged ‘jon’

One Year

April 30, 2011

It was a little over a year ago that we lost Jon. I’ve thought about what, if anything, I was going to write. This probably isn’t what I was planning, but I feel like I need to put something out there.

This has been a hellish year. I lost my son and my last grandparent in the space of 3 weeks. The family has dealt with some health issues and some other extended (to me) family deaths. The one bright spot was the birth of my nephew (and my wonderful niece, I can’t help but to be happy when I’m around her, I think she knows I need some happiness), but unfortunately for me that was muted because it happened literally days after Jon’s death. I’m just fortunate to have a great wife and great family to help get through this.

I am not the same person I was a year ago. I put on a good face at work and while out, but I’m not the same. I am pretty much always sad. Things that I never would have thought twice about bother me, especially sayings like “bite the bullet”, “kill me now”, or “just shoot me”, and don’t even get me started about the “make a gun out of your hand, hold it to your temple and pull the trigger” motion. I cringe every time somebody at work says or does something like that. There’s times during the day that I just stop and look at Jon’s picture on my desk and I am incapacitated for a few minutes.

We still have boxes of Jon’s stuff sitting out in our basement. I just can’t deal with doing anything with it. I don’t want to throw his stuff away because it’s all I have left of him physically. I don’t want to get rid of his clothes (and trust me when I say he had a ton of clothes, most women wouldn’t have half as may clothes and shoes as he did) because I can look at them and “see” him. We’ve got all sorts of “stuff” that I normally would have just got rid of, but instead we still have it sitting there. It’s out of the way, but it’s still there. I know that in time we’ll pack things away and probably get rid of some things, but for now, there’s comfort in just seeing those things.

I can now totally understand how parents who have lost children who still live at home never touch their child’s room again. Had Jon still lived at home his room would have become lost in time. I used to think that was very weird but now I know I would do the same thing.

My wife and I went to the cemetery on the 11th. The snow had finally melted and it had been warm and windy enough lately to make the ground solid and not a big muddy mess. We brought out some roses and added them to the other flowers that were already put there today. We just stood there and cried together. I still go out at least once a week (I would bring a shovel during the winter and clear off his headstone and stomp a path to it), but that day was something more important.

That night we had dinner with family to remember Jon. We went to the pizza place that we went to (and still go to) every Friday night. We had 12 of us there, all close family, and it was great that we could come together, it is just too bad that the circumstances were what they were. It was tough but it was good. It helped us all remember him and catch up with each other.

I want to thank Michelle (the owner) and especially our wonderful server Ashley at Pizza Factory for closing off the dining room and allowing us our time. We really appreciate it.

Jon, rest in peace, and know that you’re never far from my thoughts. I love you.


Happy Birthday Jon

November 29, 2010

Today would have been Jon’s 22nd birthday.

Like all parents, I will never forget that day. It is still the happiest day of my life. It wasn’t supposed to be that day, he was born more than 2 months premature, weighing just 3 pounds 1/2 ounce. He had to fight for life from the start, and fight he did. He was in the hospital for almost two months. He was surrounded by love the whole time, not one day went by where he didn’t have numerous people show up to see him. He was surrounded by love his whole life, we were always proud of him.

Jon at hospital

Chris holding Jon at the hospital the day he was born, November 29, 1988

I had to take the day off work today, I would have been a wreck had I gone in. Between Thanksgiving without him and his birthday a mere four days later, it’s all I can do to keep it together, and I haven’t been doing all that great of a job doing that. I’ve been playing a lot of WoW because it’s pretty mindless entertainment that can keep me busy for a long time. It keeps me distracted so I don’t dwell on things. Maybe that’s not the right thing to do, I don’t know, but for now, it keeps me sane.

I went to the cemetery already today. I had some things to do there by myself. I brought him a Red Bull and a cigarette from the pack that I buried with him. I talked to him there. I’ve got cupcakes and candles to bring out later. Maybe it’s stupid, but it helps me connect a bit.

Traditionally we would have had dinner at home or at my parent’s house. It was a family thing, us, my parents, my brother’s family and Emily. We’d have cake and open presents. Grandma and Grandpa Marino would come over. We’d talk for a while and just have good family time. It wouldn’t take all that long, maybe an hour or two, especially as he got older and had friends to see, but it was always something special.

Tonight my wife and I will go  to the cemetery together. Then we are making shepherd’s pie, one of Jon’s favorite. We’ll have some cupcakes as a birthday cake. It won’t be the same obviously, but we’ll still celebrate and try to think of good times. While there will be many memories, ultimately it will end in crying.

Happy birthday Jon.

Jon's 21st Birthday

Jon's 21st birthday, November 29, 2009 (Chris, Michelle, Jon)


Father’s Day

June 20, 2010

There were no #1 Dad mugs given.

There were no pictures.

There were no happy hugs and “Happy Father’s day” comments.

There was no “I love you Dad”.

The scale I use to judge “the worst day ever” has dramatically changed since April 11th, but suffice it to say that today was up there. The whole day has been tough. I can’t stop thinking about Jon. We tried to keep some semblance of normalcy, but it was tough.

We went to lunch like we normally do on Sunday, except that my brother and my dad weren’t there because they’re in Costa Rica, which had the strange side effect that I couldn’t even say “Happy Father’s Day” to my dad, and that was nice. Audrey was cute as could be and helped keep my mind off of things (she gave me an extra hug without having to ask, it felt really good). When we got back home my wife kept busy all day doing all sorts of little chores (including things that are normally “mine”). I sat on the deck and had a cigar but instead of relaxing I actually did some work because it kept my mind off things. It didn’t work all the time though, I had to stop and hold back the tears. Imagine looking at Java code and suddenly you get overwhelmed and no matter what you do it takes over. My wife invited my mom over for dinner and I grilled up some steaks and we chatted for a bit. She gave me a card with a nice note in it, and as hard as it was to read, it was nice.

Instead of  talking with our son, we ended up talking about something a parent should never have to do: we talked about our son’s grave site and marker that we picked out the day before. My wife and I finally decided that we should get that done, if not for us, for others to have a place to “see” Jon. We also bought plots for the two of us so that we can all be together. Jon will be buried between the two of us and we’ll all be together. Soon Hillside Cemetery, Section P, Area 142, Plots 1B, 2B, and 3B will have similar grave markers marking the Chris and Michelle Halverson family.

Unfortunately, one of them will already be completely filled out.

My wife and I ended up watching a favorite light hearted movie (“The Princess Bride”) and then I went out to watch TV. I would just sit there. I held Jon’s urn. I cried. During the day things hit me in Target, Cub grocery store, a number of times in the car, on the deck, on the couch, watching the movie and basically everywhere.

I know it’s “normal” but it still sucked. It was basically a terrible day. There were some good points, my mom and wife did a great job helping, but it was still terrible.  I miss Jon so much and at times I just don’t know what to do.

All I know is that I just try to go through one day at a time. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. Some days are so tough, other days I can handle things just fine. I don’t know what the day will be like, so I just try to deal with things as they happen.

As seen on “Deadliest Catch”

June 8, 2010

I’ve watched “Deadliest Catch” since it first started. It was one of the shows that Jon and I used to “watch” together (ie. we either literally watched it together, or we did separately but talked about it later). I’m a sucker for some of these shows like “Ice Road Truckers”, “Black Gold”, and a couple others.

Tonight one of the crusty old captains of the ship said something that rings so true to me, especially now. He has captained this boat for a long time and now he has his two sons working on it (and has for the past couple of years). Tonight he got talking about how sometimes his kids don’t work as hard as a “regular” member of the crew may work. But then he turned to the camera and said:

“Would I get more productivity out of somebody else other than my kids? Yeah…yeah. But then again, you know, I get to spend time with my kids and there’s not enough money in the world that can buy that.”

That’s so true. Looking back, with the 20/20 hindsight, I wish I would have spent more time with Jon, even just doing stupid stuff. It’s one of those things that you don’t always think about until it’s too late. We did spend a lot of time together, all things considered, after all, what 19 year old wants to spend all that much time with his old man? To a point, yes, but then again, he’s dealing with his own growing up and other issues, he needed his own time.

It’s one of those “woulda, coulda, shoulda” things. Would have it changed anything in the end? No. Would it make me feel better now? Yes. I do know that I did spend a good amount of time with him, and near the end, as much as he’d let me, but looking back it’s easy to find times I could have done better. I’ve come to accept this, and know that I did OK. It’s still hard to think that if I had done XXXX differently, things would have been different, despite knowing that deep down that’s not true.