Friday, February 7, 2014


I was packing my bag for a trip.
Before I could pack, I had to unpack my backpack.
I haven't really used it since my last trip to the hospital.
It was my hospital backpack.

I emptied out:
a change of clothes for Sammy
a chapter book we were reading together
a piece of paper with his lab results from a November 26 (boy, his WBC was high and his liver levels were terrible)
two sheets of tegaderm, a sticky clear film we used for PICC and CVL dressing repairs
a "be brave" robot-tile that Sam really liked


It's still so hard to fathom that he's just...gone.

I rub my finger over the bridge of my nose.
There's a bump there, a reminder of the first day of Sam's transplant hospital stay.
The day I passed out, fell, and broke my nose.
There's a bump that you can't see, but I can feel.
I run my finger over that bump.

A remnant.
A reminder.
An artifact of the life that was....

Slowly, there are less physical reminders.

I repacked my bag for the trip.
I left out the change of clothes and the book.

I carefully refolded the lab results and tucked them, along with the tegaderm and the brave robot, back into the front pocket of my backpack.

Like the bump on my nose, I know they are there. I run my hand over them.

Like a talisman, imbued with some kind of magical powers....a touchstone, a reminder, a tangible element that I can take out and touch, feel, hold....

I will never stop missing him.


  1. No doubt that reminders and remainders will pop up at the strangest times and places. But as you wrote, he'll always be with you.

  2. thank you for sharing and the pics. sammy is just sooooo cute. sending you warmth and hugs and prayers. shabbat shalom, from Israel.

  3. I lost my dear sweet sister in June and all I can say is ' I get it.' I understand your pain and so appreciate all that you share.

  4. Sending you so much love. He was such an adorable child -- oh, those goofy mugging faces. xoxoxoxo

  5. You will never stop missing him. Nor will any of us whose lives he has touched.

    Sending you love and strength from western Mass. Many of us at the Rabbis Without Borders retreat this week were talking about you and thinking of you -- especially those of us in the 4th cohort, to which you would have belonged if it hadn't been for Sammy's illness. We are holding you in our hearts.

  6. To me, you ARE part of the 4th cohort--just in an unusual way. I missed meeting in person during our RWB sessions, but you have been there. We all missed you then, and through you, although we never met, we all miss Sammy too. Sending you wishes for a Shabbat of peace.

  7. Almost eight years ago I lost a student to rhabdomyosarcoma. I was at her bedside a few hours before she let go. While she was still able we were working on a project using popsicle sticks. One found it's way to a random pocket in my backpack and stayed there until Channukah of this year when I got a new one. It's now in the same pocket as it lived in the old pack. These talismans that no one else knows are there is how we get through each day.

  8. Those items will help to somehow, and I say somehow, carry you through the moments.

  9. Remnants, indeed! I just found this entry…in my SPAM folder! My stupid computer may be ready to forget Sam, but I will always find him wherever you keep his memory alive! These remnants, these souvenirs of a soul, here's a case where the part is bigger than the whole, as even the smallest piece of Sam makes the mystery of his life a way to live our own.