Today, while packing away holiday stuff, I decided to consolidate Charles’ three boxes into two to make room. Some of the items have no memories attached. I actually sent a number of items to his friends after his suicide.
Still other articles of clothing carry strong memories–his blankie, the little leg cast from his fall down the stairs at eighteen months old. And this shirt. It’s what Charles wore the day he came home from rehab. He was scrubbed clean, beaming and so like the boy I remembered–the child that had been buried inside addiction just three weeks prior.
I am so sorry there is no picture of him that day but I was drunk with love and relief–too in the moment to snap a picture. But I have that image burned in my head and remember the buffalo plaid shirt he was wearing untucked.
He was telling jokes again. How subtle and slow the changes had been while he had become addicted. God how I missed this version of him. How he made me laugh that day was such a throwback to earlier days when he’d have us all doubled over and grabbing at the arms of furniture to remain propped up for fear of falling over laughing.
No one could think on the spot like he could and tell jokes that were perfect for the audience in front of him. His gift was timing. And it was a gift.
Slowly, my son had been taken over by the vile drug known as heroin and now my child was back. My underlying feeling of panic evaporated and we were still blissfully unaware he had been using heroin. We still thought it was pills and no one had told us any differently.
Later, I would refer to him on this day as “Saturday Charles.” I can still see him now, sitting in the chair across from the sofa, telling me about all his future plans.