Monday, December 7, 2009
The other day I was talking with my dear friend Susan about the premature death of her husband—a death that left a 38 year-old widow with two young sons, Alex and Simon, who were just two and four years-old. Henry met Simon on the first day of preschool and they remained among the best of friends.
I vividly remember the day when I learned of Thierry’s death.
It was October 10, 2000. Like most of the days that proceeded and followed it, Henry, Jack, Allen and I were in a small treatment room in the bone marrow transplant clinic in Minneapolis, waiting for the platelets that would be pumped into Henry’s central line to boost his blood’s ability to form clots, thereby preventing the threat of excessive bleeding. Henry and Jack were laying on their stomachs on the examination table swished up next to one another, each one with his chin resting on his palms, mesmerized by the Pokemon movie playing on their portable DVD player. Allen and I sat in chairs reading the newspaper, grateful that the boys were happily occupied. My cell phone rang. It was my friend Linda calling to deliver the shocking news that Simon’s father, Thierry Imbot, had just died during a freak accident in Paris, France.
Shocked, I took Allen’s hand and pulled him out of the room and into the hallway to tell him about the devastation that had just befallen our friends and talk about how we could possibly be of help, given that we were so far away from home. We agreed that we should tell Henry what happened and talk about how he might be able to help Simon, who for months had been sending Henry encouraging notes along with Pokemon figures in the mail to help Henry feel better during his recovery.
We went back into Henry’s room and I said, “Henry, a very sad thing happened today to Simon. His daddy died suddenly.”
“You mean he can’t ever see his dad again?” Henry asked.
“No, he can’t ever see him again. I’m sure he is very sad right now,” Allen answered.
Henry was quiet for a couple of minutes. “I want to make him feel better,” he explained. “I want to call Simon and talk to him about his daddy.”
Henry was on to something. I like it when people call me to talk about Henry. I like it a lot.