My son is the spitting image of his father and it breaks my heart over and over again; while at the same time it’s a balm to the grief, a tiny piece of Tony still here, that I see grow and change every day.
How much is nature, and how much nurture? The Chop loves to lay and watch TV, the height of laziness being his ultimate relaxation. How much of that is because he remembers, and it brings him comfort, and how much is just because it’s passed down in some strange genetic form?
There’s other things too- the weak stomach and sensitivity to smells, the cheeky sense of humour. The way he sleeps- in sleep he is his father, right down to the curl of his lip pressed against the pillow.
Sometimes it’s when Chop smiles, sometimes it’s when he is grumpy and grits his teeth. Sometimes it’s something I can’t even pick- just a shadow of a movement, a memory made by muscles, a movement that makes me catch my breath.
It’s torture. It’s pleasure and ecstasy and love itself. It’s something I better get used to. I see so much of Tony in our son, and it has diminished none since his death… it seems to increase, as he gets older.
Nature, or nurture, or whatever it is… it’s a comfort, it’s pain. It’s my flesh and blood, and Tony’s, intertwined… a kind of living, walking memory that I can hold every day.