An open letter to our son Jonathan

Dear Jonathan,

    What a roller coaster this has been, these last 17 years.
As you know, I hate roller coasters,
but nevertheless I must admit it has been a real thrill for me
—most exciting and rewarding.
Knowing you and raising you has been a genuine privilege for me.
How fortunate we were to have this much time with you.
I am tremendously proud of you,
the way you developed from charming childhood to young adulthood
to become such a beautiful, remarkable, unique individual.
I admire your spirit, your perseverance with adversity,
and that creative spark of your, the clever sense of humor,
and your unusual perceptiveness, beyond those 17 years.
It's been amazing to see our little heart baby grow to be taller than me,
but the best growth to witness has been your intellectual growth—your brilliance.

    It feels like the hole inside your heart
the University Hospital doctors were trying to fix has now been transferred to me.
There's a real emptiness there that will take a long time to go away.
But rest assured everything will heal, especially with Mom and Daniel
and Catherine and so many others serving as my support staff.
Among many other things, I'll miss those frequent playful punches in the belly,
but don't worry, Daniel will be carrying on for you.

    Last week while you were unconscious,
from the operation straight through to the end,
I remember well waiting by your bedside
holding your hand and admiring your long dextrous fingers
that had grown so able and skilled
especially when producing those impressive drawings.
I also remember the Driver's Ed classes,
and the behind the wheel practicing we did together
as you learned how to maneuver backing up and how to park
—and sure enough you passed the driving test on the first try.

    All those Christmases and birthdays and vacation camping trips
were such fun with you to share them with.
This last trip to the North Shore was really magical,
especially your excitement in showing us Shovel Point
where your Coming Of Age class did its rock climbing.
And the way we were able to lie by the shore at night
and see the meteorites and satellites, and the millions of dazzlingly bright stars.

    It's been great becoming movie fans together,
especially since you were able to develop
such a find appreciation of good film-making,
and such a clear understanding of what goes into
creativity and originality on the screen.
Your video work showed such promise and cleverness
—who knows what the future may have brought, through college and beyond.
And the tender and beautiful manner you learned to play that piano piece of mine
from Ancient Windows will resonate thru my mind's eye for years to come.
It's such a good time we've had, all of us,
with you as a full partner in every aspect of our lives.
And I feel lucky that in a way part of your soul will always be living in me.
Good bye sweet boy.

{Warren's open letter to Jonathan, written for his memorial service.
Warren approved posting this in the Park Family Scrapbook
in a phone conversation with James 11-24-99.
Of course, Warren may wish to make some further revisions.}