Naming the Child - from Freakenomics

There's a lot of controversy surrounding their new book Superfreakenomics regarding environment and global warming.

No controversy on Steve's heartfelt piece about losing his child though. I think I want to buy the book.

Although I can't speak for my father, I can speak for myself (compared to my mom). I think the pain is secondary. It is the loss of memory that is the saddest part. On some random day, I would try very hard to remember what he looked like and what we did together. I remember some signature moments before 1996... like the time our sword fight broke the ceiling lamp and we decided together that we'd admit it at the same time... or the time where we locked our little brother outside a room (sorry, James, we still love you)... or the times where we played the computer games while one of us played look out for my parents... or the few basketball games where we played pick and roll to perfection... the details are murky, but the memories are there somewhat.

From 1996 to 2003, he and I rarely spent extended time together as I went to the US to study; he soon followed, but we were always in different cities. I remember his ever-changing hair - from crew cut to shaved head to long hippie. I remember calling him after a break up. I remember his surprised face when he won the physics award at graduation - he was probably snoozing when they announced his name. I remember visiting him at CMU... and that our pick and roll deteriorated and he blamed himself after the game (truth is I couldn't defend a bigger faster kid). But beyond those, I don't remember much.

The fading memory is double edged.

It hurts when you remember. The one thing I do remember clearly is how the day of July 23 2003 unfolded. Every single detail is still so vivid. My journey from Boston to Hong Kong seems to happen repeatedly in my memory.

It hurts more when you don't. How can I only remember his face when I go to his grave? How can I forget all the things we did together as teenagers? Sometimes I think it's because I'm not that good a brother back then (James once called me Big Bother). Other times I don't think anything... and try to remember.


Mike said...

Hey Buddy,

This is a powerful story. Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry again for your loss. I lost 3 family members after graduating from Tufts - it sucks. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

- Mike T.

Justin said...

I have been dealing with a situation similar to yours, and I have reached no success. Unfortunately, I am no wiser, and I can offer no good advice.

All I can say is that you are not alone. I'm sure you already know this, but remember to 珍惜眼前人.