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To Kenny

April 20, 2020

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During the Coronavirus Quarantine in April, 2020, Judy and I found a photo that I didn’t remember taking. I also found this letter in an old drawer down the basement from my mom to our little brother, Kenny. 

You will always be Kenny to me, though you kept insisting you wanted to be called Ken. Tomorrow, you’d have been fifteen. You would have been such a handsome boy. Soon, your braces would have been removed and that would have been exciting for you. You would be able to chew gum again; that is, you would be able to chew gum without me telling you to spit it out.

What new interests would you have had? Baseball cards or stamps or stocks or tennis, or would you have been interested in girls? I believe you’d have done well in high school, enjoyed much, and probably avoided the drug scene. You’d have seen the foolishness in it. Perhaps you’d have tried, but you were always the type of kid who could get a natural “high” from life. You see, Kenny, this is the advantage and, I’m sure, the only one: I can see you as I choose. Maybe you will miss out on some pleasure but I must console myself that you are missing some very painful times.

I surely know the real meaning of pain. I am trying so hard to go on without you but it is the most difficult thing. All those years of being with you, when you were sick or sad or when you were funny or especially when you were happy…your eyes were so bright then. You gave us your zest for living and you gave us the strength to go through a lot of hard times, but most of all you tried to teach us the strength to be rational instead of being over-excitable with no reason. You showed us how painful it was for you to see us upset. Because of that, Kenny, I must try to do as you wanted us to do. I will go on and survive and enjoy some things because that will be my memorial to you. Life will never be the same without you, but I will try to enjoy parts of my life and get some satisfaction out of the things I do. But please, be patient with me. This is not an easy thing; you were such an important part of my life…it will take time.

Still, somewhere in a little corner of my heart, I keep hoping things will change and you’ll come back to us. But in time, somehow, I will accept that this can never be, that you cannot be with us in body, but I know, for the rest of my life, you will always live in my heart

12/22/1983

Al my love,

Mom

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