It has been over a week since Keith’s passing and still I find it difficult to breathe. We are surrounded by constant reminders of Keith at home, from his artwork, to his games, to the clothes in his closet and the food in the cupboards. It is good and it is hard at the same time. Time heals they say and yet the irony is that our newfound appreciation of time recognizes just how fleeting it is indeed. Extending every moment, especially time spent with loved ones has become so important to us. Which brings me to Scott.
There are so many things to say about Scott it is hard to know where to start. So I’ll just ramble on aimlessly with the usual parental license. First, we are so proud of how Scott handled this past year. He was always there when Keith needed him or more precisely when Keith wanted him, which was all the time. He never stood back or changed his demeanor despite Keith's illness, he just kept being the great big brother Keith always knew and admired. Even when Scott learned Keith would not get better, he maintained his remarkable composure never telegraphing to Keith that anything was amiss to the very end. Scott is off to high school on Wednesday, marking another milestone in his life and we wish him well.
During this past summer Scott had a great swim season. He set some high goals for himself and by the end of the summer had accomplished what he had not been able to do over the previous 8 summer swim seasons: achieve a gold time standard and qualify for the county meet. He did this in not one individual event, but three: butterfly, individual medley and freestyle. It was the most impressive display of hard work and determination Josie and I have ever witnessed from Scott (with the possible exception of leveling his W.o.W. character to 70). There is no question that Tyler and all of the Park Pool coaches and families had a huge impact on Scott this year, pushing him to his physical and mental limits. His friend Brian also lit the competitive fire in him as they traded fastest times in their age group for most of the year. But something tells me that Scott was also pushing himself for Keith, even quietly acknowledging to his mom after earning his first gold time ever that he wanted to do it because “Keith couldn’t swim this year.” Scott may not be a man of many words, but the few he speaks carry a lot of weight.
I hope any and all Park Pool readers out there understand how important you have been in keeping our lives centered and on track during the past year. From get-well banners, to one-on-one support you were there for us. The Wentzel family deserves special recognition from us for organizing the Swim-a-Thon earlier in the season with the final tally of over $9,000 raised to benefit Children’s Hospital Oakland. An amazing community within our community.
On September 9th following the memorial service that starts at 2pm there will be a casual reception. We thought it might be interesting and fun to post in the reception hall after the service some of your remembrances of Keith. The idea goes something like this: Write a couple of lines starting with “Dear Keith…” recalling a memorable occasion or fun recollection of Keith’s life. You can simply post your note to this blog entry and we will print them on cards and pin them up on the bulletin board(s) in the hall allowing us all to share and celebrate the fun and animated life that he enjoyed. If you prefer to be less public about it, you could simply bring your note to the service (please try to keep it to letter size or smaller) and we will see that it is pinned up. We thought this might be a good way for those of you who want to share a few words with Keith and for those of you who might be wish to be here but are unable to attend to participate in a meaningful way.
The photograph below is one of the last I captured of Keith. It will always be one of my favorites even though he is somewhat out of focus. I can still clearly see in his eyes the care and affection he had for Kirby and the mutual comfort and trust that Kirby found in Keith’s presence. They were an inseparable pair.
Kirby, like the rest of us, is still trying to find his footing without Keith.
(click to enlarge)