I would like to take the opportunity on this day to post to my blog something that has nothing to do about my writing, interests, or video production. Today, as I write this blog, June 1, 2015, it is the tenth anniversary of the passing of my eldest son Jeremy. I thought that my wife and I and my surviving son Kevin should just grieve in silence, recognize this tragic anniversary for us and then move on. But I want to put into words how I feel about this day and how we as a family will move on.
We had just moved in 2005 into a new home in the Dallas, Texas suburb of Little Elm when early one evening we received a call from the attending physician in the emergency room at Southern Hills Hospital in Las Vegas, NV. The doctor told us that Jeremy had been admitted. With him that night was his fiancé Karen. Our younger son Kevin had heard the news as well and was already on his way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas where Jeremy worked and lived.
When we arrived from Dallas to Las Vegas the next morning our hearts were broken at the scene in Jeremy’s room in Intensive Care at that Las Vegas hospital. He was surrounded by monitors displaying his every marker of life. He was put into an induced coma from a massive stroke to the left hemisphere of his brain. He was put on a ventilator so he could breathe. That stroke occurred the evening before on May 16, 2005. He struggled for life, the doctors trying everything they could. But every day the twice-daily CT scans grew cloudier and cloudier as the damage spread to his right brain hemisphere. Jeremy lost his battle on June 1, 2005.
My wife and I and Kevin dread every June 1st. The start of summer, vacations, and happiness is day which we mourn and will forever mourn.
But on this day I want to tell you about Jeremy. I want this to be in writing and part of the digital universe, hopefully forever. I want to do what I can to insure Jeremy is not forgotten.
Jeremy had just turned 30 years old. He graduated with honors from the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. He passed the Nevada Bar and only a short time thereafter he landed a job with a law firm in Las Vegas. He was in escrow for a new home that was set to close in two weeks. He was set to be married the following month. This new part of his life away from school and study, starting a new family of his own, was about to begin. But it forever ended on this day, 10 years ago.
Jeremy was smart, funny, generous, loving, caring, curious, creative, friendly, gregarious, ambitious and successful…he was all the things a father hopes for in a son. His younger brother our other son, Kevin, has those exact same qualities and demonstrates those golden traits to this day. We love him dearly. Kevin and Jeremy were extremely close and I can only imagine the grief that Kevin has faced with his mother and me.
In the last ten years we have grieved but the three of us have tried to move forward with life. I am sure that is what Jeremy would have wanted. Kevin has a fantastic job as Director of E-commerce for a well-known retail company and he is close to finishing his degree at the University of California, Irvine. I have recently retired from my long career in broadcast television and I am now writing full time with a new recent addition as a video producer/director with my new video production company.
But in the background our loss and grief is always there.
Yesterday, Saturday, May 30, 2015, in the U.S. and around the world we heard news about the loss suffered by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. His eldest son Beau passed away at 46 years old leaving children, wife and an extended family. I can only imagine that Joe Biden and his family are feeling the same type of pain and loss that we felt ten years ago and continue to feel. It is often said that a parent should never be preceded by the loss of a child. I wondered last night as I heard this news how the Vice President and his family were handling the news. I just didn’t know and couldn’t imagine how he was taking the news about the loss of his son.
Then today I saw an article on MSN.com about the Vice President and a speech he gave in 2012. I would like to quote just a short bit of what he said talking about the constant weight of grief:
“…Just when you think, ‘Maybe I’m going to make it,’ you’re riding down the road and you pass a field, and you see a flower and it reminds you. Or you hear a tune on the radio. Or you just look up in the night. You know, you think, ‘Maybe I’m not going to make it, man” Because you feel at that moment the way you felt the day you got the news.”
In that speech Vice President Biden went on to say:
“There will come a day – I promise you, and your parents as well – when the thought of your son or daughter, or your husband or wife, brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. It will happen.”
Mr. Vice President, I can only say to you, ten years after the sudden loss of our son, Jeremy Alan Fichman, there have been many tears…but more and more lately there have been many smiles. Thank you.
June 1, 2015