(II) A Mother’s Loss: GHOSTS


I couldn’t stop watching him. I think Trevor does send these children and young men to me.

(1)

I saw a young boy about ten with his dad in Safeway checking out right behind me, and in a flash got all choked up. I smiled at the boy and said it was a pleasure to see him there, and I wish you well, and a very good, fulfilling life. And smiled at his dad and said, Which I know you will have.

John, he just beamed. A sprout of a kid, nice dad who was tall and you could see the boy beginning to catch up with him in that elongated stretch kids do in growth spurts where they thin out and loom upward and you can’t keep up with clothes and sneakers or enough food. They were wonderful together, easy, comfortable. I started to cry and turned away and stopped, and a minute or two later said something lighter about the food, his basket and mine, and said goodbye. I didn’t have to say what moved me, seeing a youngster okay, well, alive. His dad knew. The country knows.

(2)

I was in Safeway this morning (jelly donut) and in line behind a young woman with her son, five. Named Malachi. Very shy. I was talking to him trying to encourage him to respond. Reminded me of Trevor so much, little shy blond child. His mother said they’d just gone through lessons about not talking to strangers, I said I was sorry he was growing up in a world like that, his mom said, It’s okay, you can talk to him, but to no avail.

I couldn’t stop watching him. I think Trevor does send these children and young men to me. Then I started to cry, tears just rolling down my face. I said to her quietly I’d lost my own child, I wanted to explain myself so she wouldn’t be alarmed but I hesitate because hearing it is alarming to any mother. The Safeway guy and bagger were so clearly moved after she’d gone, I mean I’m standing there with tears rolling down me and saying, I’m sorry, You never know when it’s going to hit, you think you’re okay then something happens and boom.

(3)

A couple of hours ago I went up to the gallery and passed a car next to Bob’s saddlery that wasn’t familiar. Young kid in the front seat passed out over the steering wheel. Frankly I thought he was dead. I shook his shoulder, he suddenly popped up, incoherent, I asked if he had overdosed on something, did he need an ambulance (I’m embarrassingly dumb), he didn’t know where he was or where he lived. He staggered out and peed over my garden then got back in his car and passed out again.  Well everybody’s gone, so I drove down the block to the ranch guards, they knew him, he comes to visit his grandfather and robs him. I asked them to call the police. No sign of law after 15 minutes so I drove to the gas station and called from there, help was on the way.  By the time I was back an ambulance (not needed) was pulling out and three sheriff’s cars and the kid up and doing perp walk back-cuffed and they know him real good. Out of jail two weeks. The sheriff said the whole family are into drugs and alcohol, the father’s a doctor, they live at Carmel Valley Ranch which is VERY pricey millionaire homes, the father keeps kicking him out, he gets arrested and bailed. 

It was upsetting. I finally cried. I figured I should have taken the keys, it would have been a nightmare with him on the road, he was near comatose. Why didn’t I bring him home and feed him coffee and eggs and give him a place to sleep it off. All I could feel was angry he was being so stupid (and stupid a long time) and kept thinking of him driving away. I did not feel protective or caring or motherly at all. But he was just a kid. I’d have felt more for a stray or hungry or sick dog.

I don’t understand myself.

When Trevor died it was five in the morning and he’d been at a friend’s house partying and was driving the friend’s car and wanted to get back home to clean up for an interview later that morning for a THIRD job he wanted and fell asleep at the wheel.  Maybe that’s the anger, or the immediate reaction Don’t Let Him Drive! and why didn’t Trevor’s friends do that. Or did they? Maybe he took the car without asking and everyone else was asleep. And I don’t know and never will.

Life is so damn interesting.

After getting myself traumatized with memories last night I find the morning has produced a sense of liberation after all.  I initially just reacted as another person, a stranger to that boy drugged up in his car. Later I transposed my son which flooded me with…way too much of everything.

This morning I feel a kind of abandonment of these years of weighty responsibility for EVERYTHING that ever happened to Trevor. I think I first saw the boy as a separate human who was making his own life and mistakes.

I’ll tell you this, John. There is never a loss from engagement. It is always a benefit even if on unseen levels. Eventually comes the new dawn.

Thank you for being there to talk to. The extent of trust and friendship between us is just enormous, I hoped shared, and means so much to me.

(4)

Speaking of children, Trevor unexpectedly came to visit just after I’d woken up a few days ago.  I probably had been dreaming of him.  We planned a breakfast, first of pancakes and then crepes.  He checked to see if we had all we needed and brought it out on the kitchen counter.  He set the table.  We were both so excited.  He was about four.  Then shortly after we planned a trip to Big Sur, the Andrew Molera park and walking along Big Sur River to the ocean.  We had to pick out clothes and stuff to put in the car.  He was about ten then.  I said if we could find an empty parking lot or back road, he could practice driving again.  He was very pleased.  A few hours had passed and he was 13.

I’ve stopped thinking it insanity.  If anything, it’s calming for me.  I get to say and do much unsaid and undone.  Or not done.  The tragedy is that the undoing can’t happen.  I barely remember ever cooking for us.  So I’m changing that. I rather like it.  I suspect it’s also part of the children’s books writing, talking to my child.

(5)

I go to Safeway for Thomas Jefferson’s cat food. I’m in line, long stupid line, and a woman comes up behind me and calls my name.

It’s a Cachagua friend I haven’t seen in three or four years. I’m very fond of her. She’s tiny, dark, Indonesian. Her husband’s a big Irish redhead. They built a spectacular winery out there, way out past Carmel Valley, gorgeous land, successful. Four years ago her son, 18, died in a car crash on Carmel Valley Road. He drove into a tree and died at once. She and I have helped each other when we talk. I like her so much, very solid, very bright.

As we’re moving through the slow line I’m telling her about the experience with the painting. With Trevor.

Maybe they’re up there, playing together. Your son and mine.

She’s a Buddhist. Amazing woman.

Part 2 of 4 to be posted consecutively

[NOTE: A Google search yields no mention of Trevor Paul Sparhawk, nor can I find any record of his traffic fatality in NYC archives – although I may need to dig a bit deeper. If anyone reading this knew or knows of or has any information about Trevor, his life and/or death, PLEASE email me at oops.john@gmail.com]

4 thoughts on “(II) A Mother’s Loss: GHOSTS

  1. Don’t give up on Trevor’s friends, John. Just connected with a niece of a friend who died in Sept 1996. I had kept photos & some of her personal items all these years. What a good feeling to send them on to the niece in Florida. Re: Barbara & her Trevor. I knew he had died but no details. I felt strongly how painful his death had been, so I figured she would tell me when she was ready. I have the 2 paintings she did of Coney Island. Barbara did share that the little boy holding her hand was her son at about 4 years of age. Thank you for sharing these conversations with us.

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    • Thanks, Bette, for your vote of confidence in our digital age. I myself am Barbara’s age and occasionally find myself googling names I knew in high school. Trevor will surface some day.

      Would love it if you could send me pictures of the Coney Island canvases. And any comments you care to make about Barbara and/or the artworks you have of hers. Pictures she sent me were so often thumbnail size and out-of-focus, exasperating to my documentary impulse.

      Thanks for staying interested in Barbara’s story, which I’m only just getting started posting.

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    • Good observation. Barbara and I wondered why there isn’t even so much as a mention anywhere on ubiquitous Google, or any record of his traffic accident that I can find in NY archives. At some point maybe one of his friends will at least stumble over this blog site, hopefully.

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