Just six months ago, I had to write a eulogy for my mother after her long battle with cancer. I must have begun it a dozen times, scrapped it, and then started again. In the end all I could do was to read part of a poem, thank everyone for their love and support and be done with it. At the time, my beautiful son, Noah was the last person on earth I thought I would ever have to talk about at a funeral.
Yet here we are. And again, I feel words failing me as I attempt to come to grips with this strange, senseless reality. Less than two weeks ago, Noah was a healthy, vibrant, energetic little boy, playing cars, board games and pretend with his big sister. In spite of the experiences of the past week: seeing him in the hospital, laying next to his little body, holding his hand and talking to doctors who did everything they possibly could, it still feels like he is somewhere just outside my reach. Like he might come bounding into a room at any moment and ask to play cars with him or fix him a snack.
Noah had the biggest heart of any child I have ever known, besides Zoë of course. If he accidentally stepped on my toe, it was HE who cried empathetic crocodile tears. Noah was shy, but he adored his special relationships with people. He would eat things for his Nana that we couldn’t get him to even try at home. He loved his Papa tickling his belly and he loved to laugh. He loved doing “boy stuff” with his daddy and he often asked me to just “snuggle with him on the couch.”
Noah had a lot of loves that I desperately feel I need to convey here, even though I cannot begin to cover them all. He loved cars, books and bunnies. He loved music – what you will hear downstairs after the service, are songs from his playlist, titled “Noah is so Awesome.” Noah always had to have the remote control. He loved riding on elevators and pushing the buttons. He loved looking for shells on the beach and building sandcastles with his big sister. In fact, he loved doing ANYTHING with his big sister. It was beautiful to see how they played together, laughed and related despite the 7-year difference in their ages.
Noah lived a lot of life. He went to NASCAR races, visited family in far away places and went horseback riding. He drove go-karts, made beautiful fruit loop necklaces and won awards for his art. He was a talented thespian in preschool Thanksgiving programs and Kindergarten musicals. He played soccer, baked cookies, went camping, had picnics, watched monster trucks, blew bubbles and made silly faces. Noah loved to play games like Sorry and Uno. When we were in the car, he always wanted to play “I spy” but he always seemed to blow it playing “hush puppies” – He was always the first to laugh.
Noah loved his dogs Bella and Macy. He would play with them for hours, giggling so much you just couldn’t help but smile. He liked to take their toys and hide them under the dog beds. Then he would collapse into deep belly laughs as Macy tried to nose under the beds to retrieve her toys.
Noah’s ways were not your common 6-year-old ways. He was a deep thinker: you could see his mind working on things for a long time before he would ask a question or reveal any knowledge. At the same time, Noah felt love, remorse, admiration, sorrow and joy more deeply than any other person -grown or not- than I have ever encountered. When he gave you a hug, you could tell when he was doing it just because Mom or Dad asked him to and when he really meant it. Noah tried not to do anything that he couldn’t do carefully, thoughtfully and deliberately. Not your typical 6-year-old. But that was one of the best things about my little boy: he was so smart, yet so sensitive and sweet.
And now this…It’s all happened so suddenly; so quickly. My heart can’t comprehend what my brain knows. Actually I think my brain may not even be so sure anymore.
There are things I cannot bring myself to think about yet like the man he may have turned out to be. I close my eyes at night, unable and stubbornly unwilling to fathom the idea of waking the next morning to the same glaring absence he has left behind. His arms no longer able to reach up to hug me. No more chubby cheeks or fuzzy head to kiss. No more beautiful, kind, wise eyes gazing up at me. Just silence, heartbreak, confusion and pain.
So tonight, I will close my eyes on yet another day. Another day without my beautiful son. I know that my mother is caring for my sweet little boy now until I can join them. I know that they would both be proud of the lives Noah has saved through the miracle of organ donation.
And I know that my life and my heart will never again be whole without my Noah. So it will be all of you: our amazing family, friends and co-workers, and your willingness to help carry us through this horrific nightmare, that might just make it possible to persevere in a way that would make him proud.