James was a little boy. Nine years old. We say "old", as in "nine years old", but nine years on earth is not a long time and does not make you old. Certainly not old enough to die.
One of my former co-workers had a son. His name was James. I think you can tell what happened.
Doing some research the best I can tell is that James had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but the exact diagnosis is irrelevant at this point. Suffice to say, it was cancer. The Big Casino, as Uncle Junior called it on "The Sopranos". Indeed. One never knows how Lady Luck is gonna deal the cards, and James got a shitty hand -- years ago. And that's the thing; all the time I worked with James' mother, James was in remission. But somewhere in the last year while I was at my new job, the little idiotic cells were back at work and somehow gained a foothold once again in little James' body. And a few days ago, they won. Stupid fucking cancer, the damned cells kill their own host. It makes no sense.
It makes no sense to read an obituary with the starting date in the year 2000, when it's friggin' 2010.
I attended James' memorial service today, and it's burned into my brain forever. There were speeches, many excellent speeches. James' parents, grandparents, one of his teachers and four of his best friends all poured their hearts out in front of a huge assembly of sniffling, weeping, messes.
There was a slideshow, images of James. We watched and wept. Many images cycled through, images of an infant, a little boy. The locations changed, the clothing, the features, the scenarios. But after all the images were done, as the show faded to black, I was struck by how I had watched all these photos and never saw a photo of James as anything other than a kid, a boy. When my Grandmother passed away months ago, I watched a similar slideshow and I recall enjoying photos of an infant, a kid, a woman, a bride, a mother, a grandmother, a retiree. Where was James the teenager? For that matter, where was James the Prom King, James the husband, James the father, James the old guy? James mowing the lawn? James drinking a beer?
Alas, these photos cannot be taken.
It makes no sense.