The things I remember

June 21st, 2017

Pie Man Sticks His Toungue Out

I’ve noticed over the last few years I have been compressing all my sadness into the last day or two of Pie Man’s anniversary and you know, I’m sure that’s fairly normal given the whole “life gets in the way” thing.  And can you believe how time has passed?  In September, Wyatt will have been 10-years-old.  Next year at this very time, it will be the 10-year anniversary of his death. 10 years!  I remember the first year anniversary where we packed our house in San Marcos with friends and family to unveil “A Slice of Life with Pie Man“, our 30-minute movie honoring Wyatt’s life and impact on our family.

Ugh, ten years are almost here.

And speaking of remembering things, I have all these little memories.  Just random little tidbits in the overall picture.

So as I reflect on my son’s life (and death), I thought maybe I’d share some of them with you today.  Here it goes in no particular order whatsoever.

  • The night Wyatt truly died (Saturday, June 21st, 2008), I had dinner with my father and his family at BJs Brewhouse.  I have lots of little memories from this night:
    • I was informed by ESPN Sportscenter on the BJ’s tv’s that my awesome pitcher for my baseball fantasy league went on the disabled list (DL).  BTW, I’m still in the same fantasy baseball league (with the majority of the same folks) to this day.
    • My brother’s step-daughter (at the time) who was like 15 told me “he’ll be all right”
    • Parker ran a race with one of the other kids (Steven) and got smoked, like, badly… lol!
    • Afterward, went to a local bar that night with my brother Dustin.  He ordered us Patron silver martinis (straight), shaken over ice, with a salt and sugar rim.  By far the best tequila drink I’ve ever had yet I’ve never ordered that again.
  • I’ll never forget the look of suffering on my wife’s face when she walked into the room after I had just learned of Wyatt’s neurological failure.  It was a mix of disbelief and sadness and yet she was also so miserable due to the process of being worked up as a live donor.
  • Dr. Weiss.  The guy who came down and gave me the news on the lack of Wyatt’s pupil response.  He reminds me of Seth Rogan.  But obviously, when I asked him how we fix this problem, his delivery of “it’s usually fatal” [when referring to Wyatt’s condition] was not funny.
  • There are things about Wyatt’s funeral I remember.
    • I was late to it by a good 10-15 minutes.  Everyone was just sitting there waiting.  I even got some shit for it from the pastor.  Seriously.
    • So yeah, was late to my sons funeral.  I realized before hand that I accidentally left an HDMI cable at home that I needed to project my son’s video montage and I insisted I go home to get it (I’m so glad I did, it literally made the funeral).  Also, the main reason I was so late was because I got on the wrong on-ramp to the freeway (I headed north when I should’ve headed south).  Was very lucky there was one more off-ramp to turn around on (at the military base) or I would’ve been stuck going North on the I-5 at Camp Pendleton where there’s no off ramps for like 10-15 miles!
    • I spoke at the funeral.  I barely remember what I said, but I did take 2 warm tequila shots right before I spoke in front of the 30-40 people who were there.
    • My buddy Bill gave me a bottle of Grey Goose which is what he drank at his infant son’s funeral (his son passed away from SIDS in his crib).  Shortly after, Bill stopped drinking and is 7-years sober.
    • Afterward, we went back to our house and had a poker tournament.  I was really drunk and guilted people into letting me win.  Not really on purpose, but it was what it was.  Thanks to all of you who went with it.  My long-time-friend Dustin later told me how uncomfortable that was.  I get it.  And all I can say is all who participated did us right and we thank you and love you.
  • I loved the Sub-Marina being right next to Rady’s.  I had lots of Italian subs. People would help us by bringing food because the hospital food sucked so bad. One out-of-state colleague bought us Pizza Hut pasta which was quite a new offering for them (it was delicious). And of course, we ate a ton of McDonalds since there was a McDs located within Radys (it’s now a Subway)
  • I spent a lot of time one-on-one with Parker
    • Parker and I fell asleep on the couch watching “Surf’s Up”.  To this day, I not only adore that movie, but it brings me back to that couch.
    • I took him to Sea World one day.  We went on the sky tram over the bay.
    • He and I spent lots of time in the car driving to and from Radys, not really saying anything.
    • One of my happiest moments was when Wyatt was released from Rady’s prematurely and Parker had fallen asleep in his car seat as we waited for him and mom to come down.  Wyatt was strapped into his seat and started grunting and coo’ing at him but Parker didn’t notice because he was out for the count.
  • The day Wyatt officially passed, I asked my mom if we should stay in LA and she advised that we should just pack up and leave.  That’s what we did.  She was right.
  • It was soooo fucking quiet our first night back.  No little baby sounds coming from Wyatt’s room which were a 9-month staple.  Worst. Night. Ever.
  • My wife and I made love in complete despair that first week, almost like a release of stress.  It wasn’t very fun but yet very much needed.  We both agreed in that instant we would have another child (and then we had two!).
  • I completely melted down to my father when we were in the process of getting Trisha worked up as a living donor.
  • The shock of losing Wyatt was crazy.  I remember just sitting in a chair that same day while a butt-load of our friends and family packed up our rented LA house.  Then I was in the backseat of the car.  Then I was home.
  • We took Parker to see the first Kung-Fu Panda in LA one day.
  • I remember the day Wyatt was to be airlifted to LA.  They hopped him up on drugs and he was super goofy, like laugh-out-loud hilarious.  Dr. Newton and all of us had a big laugh at how silly he was.
  • I went to Kinkos to send our real-estate agent the final signed paperwork to close on our 8th St. Louis investment property (damn we did good on that until the economy crashed a few months after Wyatt’s death in 2008).
  • The second or third day Wyatt was at Rady’s, he had an allergic reaction to something and ballooned all over.  Face, lips, arms, feet, etc.  It was utterly horrific (I even have a picture of it and it’s really hard to look at).
  • Parker loved taking the bus in LA thanks to our bus rides to the hospital!
  • The pillows at that LA house were literally perfect.  I’m still looking for pillows that match the quality and balance of soft yet supportive.
  • I remember coming back to sign paperwork on that fateful day (Sun, June 22) and seeing Wyatt’s body.  It was completely purple and lifeless.  Like straight out of a movie.
  • When Wyatt had passed, Trisha held him in her arms and we must’ve said “I’m sorry” at least a hundred times.  We tried so hard to prevent what happened and couldn’t and to this day I’m still so sorry for all the pain and suffering he went through. As his dad I will be forever haunted by not being able to protect him the way he needed to be.  It’s not right that he was so tortured physically.  I kinda wish he just would’ve passed away in his sleep the first night.
  • If you look at our hospital pictures and videos, the majority of them have Wyatt smiling or sticking out his tongue.  He was so happy and loving and trusting toward us no matter how many needles, pills, machines, etc. bothered him.  He was sick, jaundiced, covered with rash, etc. yet was clearly as in love with and trusting in his family as we were with him, literally until the last week of his life.
  • My aunt Judy’s horror when I told her about what was going on (she was the first to hear from me that Wyatt was probably gone after my chat with Dr. Weiss).
  • My brother-in-law Andrew breaking down and saying good-bye to a lifeless, yellow Wyatt as Trisha held him (he’s the only person I have a vivid memory of saying good-bye even though dozens of people came through to do so).

I could go on-and-on.  I love and miss you Wyatt.  And I’m so very sorry.


One Response to “The things I remember”

  1. (Great) Aunt Judy says:

    Dear Corey, Trish, & Kids,

    I am just speechless,. Your memories are so vivid, Corey. They captured your little Pie Man so accurately. At the same time, you shared what an utter, indescribable, and, yes, horrible thing It is losing your child.
    I’ll never forget the night we all met at a restaurant – I think it was for Grandma Barber’s Birthday or something & Wyatt was letting me hold him for a long time. I felt like I was in heaven whenever he looked directly at me and smiled. I carry those special moments with me every minute. He was such an amazing, little boy. I love him very much.💙 and always will.