I guess every parent who loses a child has the fear that the child will be forgotten. I don't think that is what will to Johnny. It seems like suddenly is more popular than ever -- kind of like Elvis or Curt Cobain. And I am totally fine with his popularity, it tells me Johnny Romano will always be with us, still making a difference.
Mike and I want to start a foundation in Johnny's name, having all funds go to research. Tomorrow I am meeting with Rene (she's so awesome) to discuss how to establish the foundation and what it will entail to get it off the ground. Of course, I will always keep you guys posted...
"So, how you doing?" -- the dreaded question that is asked of us many times a day. Usually my answer is 'Meh', or pretty good. Luckily people don't know what to say after that so the conversation usually turns to another, more happier topic. I'm pretty busy tying up loose ends all day and running errands and hopefully start writing thanks you's. If it weren't for the little stuff that needs to be done, I'm not sure I would get out of the house, much less take a shower.
Most of the time I'm okay with the fact Johnny's not with us anymore, then something will trigger me and I fall to pieces. I know he was sick, really, really sick and there were times when things were bad I would pray to God that if he really wanted Johnny, to please take him so he wouldn't have to endure such pain. I don't blame God, or anyone for Johnny's passing -- I totally believe there is an afterlife and we all have our Angels that watch over us. I think what makes me cry the most is all the shit he had to go through -- that part tears me apart. I pray to Johnny every night that I hope he forgives me for making him go through such rotten shit for so long.
Tuesday was a bad day for me. I couldn't stop crying and I just couldn't understand any of 'it'. Why did he have to go through so much pain the past 4 months -- all I could think about was watching him take his last breath and watching his heart beat for the last time. How horrible the entire process was -- why does this have to happen in such an ugly way? I had to go to Texas City for some Ike aftermath paperwork and I cried the entire way -- over an hour. I was in the parking lot at the location and tried to compose myself before I walked into a crowd of FEMA people.
As I sat there I listened to the radio -- an oldies station that Mike always listens to. Usually when i get in the car the first thing I do is switch the radio station, then put on my seat belt. Except this time. I heard a Beach Boys song California Girls, which wasn't one of Johnny's favorite bands or songs, but lets face it -- he's a red blooded American boy and like California Girls. So I kind of chuckled to myself, thinking that it was Johnny's way of telling me he's right here with me. Then another song came on, something I have never heard before -- not sure of the title but the lyrics talk about a guy named Jim and his Superman cape. That definitely caught my attention -- the song also had Jack's name (Jim's son) and the state of Alabama (that's where Jamie Thomas is from). So I verbally asked Johnny if this was him talking to me and was with me.
The next song that came on was Some Kind Of Wonderful. I was familiar with the song but never really listened to the lyrics until now. I'm totally certain whom ever wrote the song, wrote it about the love of his life -- a girlfriend or wife -- but the words could fit the way Johnny felt about me (or so I like to think...). It seemed like every question I asked Johnny he replied with a song that if you listen to the words, could be Johnny's reply to me.
Sometimes it was just a line or a verse but it still comforted me enough to get out of the car. I can't remember the questions I was asking but I remember the songs that followed. Everlasting Love, Miss You and Free falling. I do remember the last question I asked -- was he happy with our idea of a Foundation for leukemia research, and the songs that followed were Come Together, You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, and his last song was Iris (about missing someone who has passed).
I stopped by the cemetery and it looked beautiful. Uncle George pays a landscaper to plant seasonal flowers and to cut the grass -- so where Johnny's body is of course looks better than any other plot. And who names all these places anyway? Every term used to define that place is ugly, so I decided to call it the Romano Family Garden, because that's what it looks like -- a beautiful garden. I know Johnny isn't really at the cemetery, but it still felt good to stop by and say hi to him. Of course I lost it and had a hard time composing myself, so I hoped back in the car to leave. When I got in AC/DC was playing -- one of Johnny's favorite bands, so I quickly changed the station and it was another AC/DC song -- must be a coincidence -- so the third time was a charm and YEP, you guessed it another AC/DC song. I couldn't help but laugh.
I was certain Johnny was with me all day long, helping get to the next hour of the day. for the rest of the day it was just random songs playing until I picked up the kids. As soon as Joey stepped in the car one of Johnny's favorite songs came on and Joey commented that he wished Johnny were here to listen to it with us. I said, "Oh don't worry, he's here alright!". Then some random comment about putting 'lipstick on a pig' came on, this is one of Johnny's favorite sayings -- along with 'you can't polish a turd'. Thanks Kristin!
We laughed and remarked about how it always made Johnny laugh, then AC/DC came on. After that came the Ramones. I knew it was Johnny saying 'Hi' to the kids and welcoming them after school to talk about the day. I told Mike about my day and he was less than impressed. All he said was, "Huh. Maybe it was Johnny", his sentence reeked of skepticism. I think it's the 'psychologist' speaking and that science tends to think there is no such thing as divine interventions. Or maybe he was jealous Johnny spent the day with me -- who knows.
Okay, here comes the paranormal mumbo jumbo. We went to bed and I said my usual prayers to Johnny and thanked him for staying with me, then fell fast asleep. About 4am I woke up in what I thought was a dream, I was looking down at myself and I was snuggled up with Johnny. I was so happy all I could say was "I love you, I love you, I love you". As I held him, I could actually feel his weight, like I was really holding him in my arms. I ran my fingers over his and saw how beautiful his skin looked. The connection seemed to have lasted a very long time, but never long enough. We talked a little, but not using verbal words, just thoughts -- most of which I can't remember and then he told me it was time for him to leave. I begged him to stay, but as I looked down to snuggle him he was gone. I was so happy. I looked up and saw him leaving with a few other people and then I woke up.
It seemed so real. I could still feel his weight pressing against me snuggled up next to my stomach like we did so many times before. I haven't told anyone yet -- so why not tell everyone at once! To me it was a real experience and perfect ending to a perfect day. I'm sure a lot of people will try and discount what happened, but I don't care. I guess you could say I was grieving and tried to find something when there really wasn't. You could say that when Johnny left, it looked like he was in line boarding a flight -- of course a few days earlier we flew SWA -- so that must be the connection. Whether it was real or not, it comforted me and helps me have more "I'm okay with it" moments than "what the hell just happened the past 4 months?".