Maxie's Best Friend

It is hard to believe, but it is true.  During Maxie's very short life, he actually had a best friend.  Joseph is the adorable two and a half year old son of Tisha, the woman who runs our daycare.  He has two dimples, a surfer hair-do, an adventurous spirit, and an outgoing personality.  Max loved Joseph and Joseph loved Max.  Every morning when we got to day care, Joseph was there to announce, "My baby is here!".  Then he would come over to the car seat and "help" me get Max out by touching all of the straps and clasps and yelling "get him out!  get him out!"  All the while, Max would be looking right at Joseph smiling.  He knew a good friend when he saw one.  When I would leave the day care house in the morning, sometimes Joseph would come outside after me, looking for bees and bugs.  I would say "Take care of my Maxie" and he would call out, "I will!"  That was followed by my saying "Ok, see you later alligator" and he'd reply, "in a while crocodile".  I often pulled out of the driveway crying, so sad to have to leave Maxie for the whole day.  It was comforting to know that he had a very best friend to take care of him.  I jokingly asked Tisha a few times if it embarrassed Joseph to have a 9 month old for a best friend and she always answered, very seriously, "Not at all, Joseph LOVES Max!"

The day after Maxie's passing, I had an uncontrollable urge to strap on my sneakers and run to the daycare to see the kids and make sure they were alright.  Instead, I texted Tisha and asked if she and and Joseph would like to come over for a visit.  I worried that the gigantic "Day of the Dead" painting in our doorway might scare him as I saw him staring at it (I LOVE the Day of the Dead and have a small collection of stuff I think is cool).  I read him a bunch of Maxie's favorite books and we played with Maxie's toys.  It made me feel good to spend time with both of them, the closest people to Maxie I could think of outside of our immediate family.  He kept asking where Maxie was and I tried not to cry.  When they left that afternoon, Joseph looked at my painting, of a large skeleton ghost floating over a small village and said, "Bye, Bye, Pirate!"  It made me laugh and I have been telling the story to others and laughing about it to myself ever since.

I don't think Tisha has told Joseph what happened to his best friend yet.  She is not sure what exactly she will say, even though he and the other kids were in the room with Max when he stopped breathing, when Tisha's mother began CPR, and when the paramedics had to come to take him to the ER.  He asks for Max every day, she tells me, and she just answers that Maxie is on vacation.  I do not envy the task of having the conversation with such a young and innocent boy about death.  I cannot imagine that he will even understand.  In time, Maxie will probably just be one other kid that once went to the day care his mom ran.

1 comment

Laura said...

Abby, I am a long time friend of Marla Schwartz's and have not stopped thinking about you and Ted since she shared the news of dear Max. Although I do not know you personally, every word I read of your blog brings me closer to you and your heartbreaking loss. I am so sorry, from the depths of my heart, that you and Ted are having to endure such pain. No matter what the reason, Max is a beautiful reminder of true innocence and unconditional love. You are so brave and I appreciate how open and honest you are with perfect strangers. My thoughts and prayers are with you both at this darkest time.