Today marks two years since the death of my first wife, Jo Ellen. I could sit here, feeling sorry for myself and write a lengthy tribute and rehash what happened to her on this day, two years ago. I’m not going to do that. Yes, she was a wonderful person, a terrific mother and loving wife. Her death was a shock and not expected. But, she isn’t gone. No, she lives on in my memories, in my son and in her friends and family.
Mostly, however, she lives on in my son.
When Chase was born, and throughout most of his younger years, everyone who saw him with me, swore that he looked like me. And, during most of that time, he did take on many of my traits and interests. We both love video games, theme parks and pasta. Oh man, do we love pasta. She, however, was no pasta lover and, over time, lost interest in the games. She did, though, enjoy theme parks. Even she would say that Chase was my ‘mini me’.
In the two years since her death, however, I see more of Jo Ellen in him than ever before. The one trait he got from her-and always exhibited-was her sarcasm. He also, fortunately, inherited her sense of humor (which she, in turn, got from her Dad.) At first, the sarcasm got old. However, I have grown to love it. It is one way I know she is still with him. Oh, it ticks me off from time to time-the sarcasm-but, overall, I don’t want him to lose that. He needs to reign it in a bit, but not lose it. He also got her quick wit. He is a funny kid.
There are times when I look at him and all I can see is her. Day by day, he looks less and less like me and more and more like her. He doesn’t, of course, see it, but I do and so do others.
While he still shares many of my interests, he shares many of hers as well. And, he shares many of her dislikes as well. Jo Ellen was never a big science fiction person and neither is he. He has tried to watch a few of my shows and movies, but just doesn’t like it. She never did either. I did manage to get her to watch X-Files (I was quite pleased with myself) and she watched the new Battlestar Galactica from time to time,but never claimed to like it.
When it comes to food, he shares most of her likes and dislikes, with pasta being the big exception. She was a potatoholic and so is he. She HATED, absolutely HATED ice tea-well, any kind of tea, and so does he. She did not like coffee and he doesn’t either. But put a pile of french fries in front of them…it’d be gone in no time. Cola? Oh yeah. Big love for that. Did I mention potato’s? Oh, there’s also brownies and chocolate anything. And, there’s mashed potato’s. They like french fried potato’s.
While I see a lot of her in Chase, and it is comforting for me, it doesn’t help him much. And, unfortunately, I cannot fix that. Perhaps that is the biggest source of hurt for me…I cannot fix it for him. He has been my rock. He was quite the trooper that day and in the days since. He has shared things with me as well as with my wife, April. He deals with his feelings about as well as can be expected. I worry about him, but I know that he is not the same little boy he was just two years ago. He has grown up quite a bit (shoot, I have to look up to him now.)
I am quite proud of Chase. I know Jo Ellen would be too.