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He Died the Second Time

When a friend delivered the brown cardboard banker’s box from the Vancouver Police  evidence warehouse my reflex was to tear the lid off and see if my son was inside. Or rather – –  what of my son was inside. There must be something in that box to explain it all. 

Summer light spilled in the kitchen window and I was searching for ways to make his sudden death untrue. I flipped open the lid and saw the box was filled with several sizes of brown paper bags and envelopes. There were intricate labels on all of these items. Rows of stickers like the ones on prescription bottles. I ran my hand over the bags and envelopes and my chest contracted. passport – one of the labels said. bank card. work-boots. socks.   

“Are you sure you want to do that now?” My husband asked.  What is the appropriate  action to take when the last personal effects of your son arrive on your kitchen table? Our eyes met across the box, “I mean, maybe you could just think about it for a while.” He knew better than anyone that I had the resilience of damp tissue paper.  I nodded. He gently closed the box, tugged it from my reluctant hands and took it down to the basement where he placed it on a high shelf in the storage room with the camping gear and Christmas decorations. Continue Reading →