June 09, 2010

A Boy Named Mookie

Recent events have made me think about this post again.

His name was Mark, but his family called him Mookie. He lived a life that was way too short. I think that he was about six or so when he died.

I don’t know much about him beyond that. For that matter I couldn’t tell you if this little boy was shy or outgoing. I don’t know if he had dark hair or light, brown or blue eyes. I couldn’t tell you if he had a favorite toy. I am at a loss to answer any questions about why he was taken at such a young age.

Was his passing quick and painless? Was it an accident or an illness? Again these are things that I cannot answer because beyond what I have told you I know very little. I don’t know his family or any friends who can shed more light on who this little boy was.

What I do know is that he is buried in a grave that looks out upon rolling hills of green and that on a sunny day it is quite pretty. If you close your eyes and let the sun warm your back it is very pleasant. If you close your eyes you just might forget for a moment that you are in a cemetery. But the moment you open them you remember.

It is not something that you can easily forget. It may be pretty but it is still a somber setting. It is hard to find a time in which you do not hear the tears and grief of those who come to say goodbye to loved ones. And sometimes you encounter those who are unable to say goodbye. Sometimes you see them sobbing next to or on top of a plot.

During those moments I try hard to give them their privacy. For those people whose grief is so strong I try not to make it any harder by staring or making too much noise. They are mourning and I understand that better than I want to.

So you may wonder how it is that I came to know Mookie. You may wonder why I know so much and so little about someone’s little boy. I know because he is buried close to the grave of a dear friend. A dear friend who has taken on the responsibility of looking out for Mookie and helping him along whatever path he walks upon now.

At least that is what I think is happening. I don’t really know. I don’t know what happens after you die. I have some thoughts, some guesses but I can’t say with anymore authority than the next guy. What I know is that from time to time I have dreamt about my friend and that sometimes when I dream about him he is accompanied by this little boy.

Maybe these are just the foolish musings of a man who sometimes misses his friend. Maybe there is nothing more than that. Maybe it is just a wish or maybe there is something to it. I don’t really know for sure.

All I know is that the idea of D looking out for Mookie comforts me. It feels right and it feels good and I don’t see any harm in it.

So if Mookie’s parents should ever read this let me say a couple of things. As the father of a young boy who is close to Mookie’s age I can’t offer anything but my sincere condolences. But I can tell you this too. D is a good guy, the best. Don’t worry about Mookie because D will be there to help him. He’ll be there to comfort him when he is scared and his mommy isn’t around and he’ll be there to teach him the things that you missed out on.

Mookie is going to be ok because D is there and he won’t let him down.


Frume Sarah said...

Wow. What a tender and loving post.

It's funny. For those of us who visit our loved ones, we get to "know" their neighbours. Wonder about them. Keep an eye on their grave markers, clearing off the occasional shmutz. Sometimes even come into contact with their still-living family/friends. I like this idea that they too share a bond.

Beautifully written, Jack.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Hi Jack - This made me both happy and sad. Happy at the idea of your dear friend walking by Mookie's side. Happy at the thought of strangers remembering us and regarding us long after we're gone. And sad, of course, at the idea of a child dying so young, whatever the reason. Thank you for this beautifully written, bittersweet post today.

The JackB said...

I can't help but think of cemeteries as neighborhoods that are filled with people who aren't here any longer. Can't say that there is real logic behind that, just kind of a feeling that I find comforting.

The JackB said...

Hi Kristen,

This August will mark 12 years since D died, he was 29. Mookie was so very little when he passed that I couldn't think of him being alone. It just made sense that someone would be there to take care of him, again, no rhyme or reason to it. But it makes me happy so....