Memories are like a dream. I know that for 22 months I dreamed about a little boy who took possession of a part of my soul that simply completed me in a way that words cannot adequately describe. In my memories, Rees, born with a true knot in his umbilical cord – a cord wrapped around his neck twice, defied death and entered the world undaunted. The more I recall this dream, the more detached I find myself from its narrative, a spectator, not a participant. It’ s as though I see some alternate version of me, an avatar of my real self, lifting Richie, singing to him, cradling him and telling him how much I love him. From afar, I see little Rees growing from a plumpy, buddha-like baby into a skinny, yet solid, little toddler – filled with curiosity. In these memories I witness the dream-like version of me lifting my boy up to the ceiling to play “spider-baby” and pushing him around on his toy truck – both of us grinning from ear to ear. As the dream progresses visions of me singing to him, soothing him from his fears, recalls a memory of satisfaction and contentment. My phantasmic doppelganger is happy and content and wants nothing more from life as the simple pleasure of being around his three children and wife completes him in every way imaginable.
My dream is fading, eroding into a fragmented collection of fleeting thoughts and notions that are indiscernible from fantasy. The dream began vibrant and tangible, but grows more and surreal with the inevitable flow of time. It’s as though I am stranded on the shores of reality watching the flow of time carry my dream towards the horizon and out of view forever. I want so much to run along the shore, following the dream, keeping it in site, but find that the shore is impassable; any attempt to traverse it resulting in pain and grief – a pain that is tangible and real. It is almost as if my brain is telling me that since the pain is tangible it is all I have that physically connects me to the dream that was Rees.
I feel like if I push through the pain, keep it close, that it will prevent my memories of Rees from fading. In my mind, losing my pain comes at the cost of watching Rees’ memory sail away into oblivion. The grief and his memory seem intrinsically linked: severing one jettisons the other. I already lost my little boy, I don’t want to lose his memory as well. How can I let go of the pain and not lose site of the dream? I fear losing sight of my dream will turn the nightmare I wake into a permanent reality – as inescapable as the flow of time.
My solution to this problem has, and always will be, ReesSpecht Life. It is my sincere hope that ReesSpecht life, and the good deeds that we can foster through it, will act as a bridge connecting me to the adjacent shore and giving me a vantage point from which to remember my little buddy for as long as I draw breath. The foundation has helped change my perspective of the world and it is my fondest desire to see others perform acts of kindness in his name and in doing so, join me and my family in an eternal remembrance of his legacy. I truly believe in the power of what we are trying to do, and I know that he was put here for a reason. No matter how much my memories of him fade, I have all of you to help me remember him, piece by piece…