Our minister read this for me at the Celebration of Life. I wanted to share it here as a further tribute to my beloved son.
When Julian was a baby, he was a terrible sleeper. I always read in the parenting books that newborns slept 12 hours a day, but if Julian slept that much, he did most of it in half hour increments around the clock. Many well-meaning people encouraged us to let him cry it out, but neither of us could bring ourselves to do it. He just had way more stamina than we did. Now, I will be forever grateful that I held him and comforted him when he was small and didn’t let what was merely a passing phase provoke us into doing something that didn’t come naturally to us as parents.
It’s not hard to think of complementary adjectives to describe my son. Everyone who knew him has listed them repeatedly: smart, inquisitive, witty, kind, confident, handsome. But the word that comes to my mind most of all isn’t an adjective, but a noun. That word is “friend.”
Yes, he was my son, and for that alone I love him more than I can ever express, but he was also becoming his own person, and that person was a young man I respected and cherished and loved to spend time with. Of course, more and more, he wanted to spend time with his friends, not his parents, but he was still willing to indulge his mom in conversations about any topic that interested him—politics, religion, economics, science. (When we talked about science, he mostly talked and I mostly listened. He knew so much more than I did, it was a little embarrassing.)
Sometimes, I wonder if I indulged him too much, if I treated him more like a peer than a child. But even when he was very young, he had an innate maturity—not to mention an uncanny ability to win almost any debate—that made it hard to be much more than his companion and guide in the world. More than anything, I wanted to give him the strength of character to live a full and happy life. And even though his life was all too short, I do know that it was a full and happy one. Perhaps that is all any parent can ever really hope for.
Good night, sweet Julian. I am so blessed to be your mother. I will love and miss you always.