He was born in Germany. A sweet baby born to a single soldier mother.
(Warning: Video contains disturbing footage)
We lived in a little cottage not far from the border of France. Just the two of us. I had a group of German girlfriends who helped out with taking care of him. He spoke German before he spoke English and, from the time he could talk, always corrected my German. My own little translator.
He became the barracks baby too. The guys would always argue over whose room he got to stay in when I had guard duty. They dragged him around everywhere with them, used him to pick up chicks, took him to baseball and soccer games. They took him to festivals all over Europe.
For us this was family. All of those people that I lived in close quarters with for five years. The German family that we bonded with, my best friend Christiana and her family. He called her mother Annie his Omah. He had his own bedroom in her house and lived there while I was away on tour or training. Our love for their family was deep and never ending. Christiana married a soldier and moved to the states. We lost touch when her husband had to go to Iraq (again), but she was there for the birth of my son. She was here to see him grow.
I'll write more on our adventures in Europe later, but for now we are preparing for a birthday celebration. His birthday. Four months ago I almost lost him. Now he is back to his normal self, doing all of the things that he did before the accident, except moshing, stage dives... and riding motorcycles.
I prepared the video for his birthday.
A mix of his accident with the pictures from our past together. Looking at all of the fun and friends we have made along the way. I was afraid at first to give it to him. It took me almost a month to make, gathering and scanning old pictures, but when my darling O saw it she was concerned, she loves him very much and was worried that it might make him feel down, she and I had both cried watching it together. There is a lot of pain wrapped up in those accident photos.
O came and stayed with us after he came home from the hospital. Helped with everything. Cooked, cleaned, went Christmas shopping. It was a crazy time for me personally. I was very emotionally unstable. I couldn't seem to get a grip on anything at that time. Traumatized. Completely. I dare say that her presence during that month was the only thing that kept any of us in balance. Let me tell you something honestly-- nothing can test the bonds of a deep friendship more than a life crisis like this. After all, who do we tend to abuse the most when things get too far out of hand? Those who love us most. Those who love us unconditionally. Those who we know will forgive us anything. I think that during that time my behavior with her could turn from loving to absolutely atrocious in the blink of an eye. But still she stayed. She made me laugh. Made me go out and have fun. Stroked my hair while I cried and bit her tongue when I would get out of control. Gave me hell when I needed it. Only a true friend can get away with confronting your worst behavior and only a friend who loves you very much would bother trying to make you face your demons, drag you kicking and screaming back to where you need to be. My family has a deep and lasting love for her that was born out of disaster. She was a calming force within our devastated world. And she took the time to encourage all of us individually, my son very much so. They have a lot in common. They think alike. She focused on healing him from within, whilst I focused on the external things that needed to be done. Together we managed to pull through that dark time with a sense of hope for the future. An assuredness that all will be well that grew as we watched the healing together.
And then we watched the video. It hurt us both to see the hospital photos. She gave me a strong admonishment, 'You should have fucking warned me!' Her voice still shaking with emotion. I hadn't told her that I had added the hospital photos. She hates those photos. I look at them and see how far we came from that initial photo of him in the Emergency room. I cried for the blessings that we have been given. She cried for the pain that we all went through, him especially.
But in the end we left it up to him, delivering it early, asking him if he liked it. He loved it! You see, we were worried that it might make him depressed about everything he is going through, but the truth is that he is recovering so well that he is almost back to his former self again. Yes, there are still more surgeries ahead. 18 months of surgeries on his face alone. But that is just part of rebuilding the structure that was damaged so badly underneath. On the surface the scars are healing and people are surprised to know that he was even in an accident.
For him this video is a positive message about how much a person can recover from. How far he has come in such a short time, and it is about how wonderful life has been to him. He laughed so much at the memories it brought back. We talked a lot about the past the night I showed it to him, my life before him, our lives together, the special bond that he and his father share, a bond as unshakable as any father/son bond I have ever known. He is the center of his dad's world and we talked about how lost his father would have been if he had lost him on that fateful night in November.
He is his dad's best friend and companion. His dad played for the USA baseball team and he traveled with him, ball was his first real word.
Dad coached him in little league and played music with him. Two musicians who learned to play together, encouraging each other and growing closer from their shared passion. They are currently looking at getting matching tattoos. I just roll my eyes, but that's how they work. Partners in crime, best friends. Their worlds are inextricably melded.
He understands the depth of his importance in our lives. The unique connection that he and I share. He understands the role that he plays in our family and how we would never make it in this world without him. He doesn't take this lightly.
So, though this is a difficult video to watch at times (the look on my face in some pictures tells the whole story, absolute tension for months, sleepless nights and days filled with a determination to fix this thing no matter what), it is a reminder of the bitter sweetness of life. A celebration of all that we have been through together. And, more than anything, a look at the past with an eye to the future and all of joy that life offers.
Here's to best friends, the kindness of strangers, family, and to you - my son.
You are one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. Wild, crazy, unique and utterly brilliant.
Thank you all for your support.
see the man!