Rees was an observer. He often watched me intently, seeing what I was doing, taking it all in and almost never uttering a word. A simple nod of his head, or a smile would confirm that he was assimilating his observations and forming a world view based on his perspective. Rees went to bed every night with a smile and woke up every morning laughing and giggling. Rees was pure joy, and that is not the rose colored ruminations of a father who is trying to remember his son in a positive way, it is the unadulterated truth.
Those who knew Rees will attest to his happiness and its contagiousness. If sadness is truly the opposite of happiness, then the loss of my little boy represents the ultimate sadness. I am sad. I lost my little boy and I will never, ever have the joy of hearing his giggle ring in a new day; but I refuse to let that sadness become despair… Instead, Samantha and I are honoring his life by trying to live it everyday the way he did: with wonder and joy. Rees never knew about the “bad” things in the world, and as such he never had the chance to develop mistrust or fear. As adults we do not have that luxury.
The taint of the world’s evils inevitably ebbs its way into all of our lives, regardless of whatever barriers we may build. Just as a levy will break with surge of a superstorm, our mental barriers cannot withstand this tide indefinitely. Does this mean we should let these evils flow in, unabated? Rees’ life has taught me that our world view isn’t merely just a reflection of what we have experienced, rather it is a combination of our experiences and how we interpret them. As such, my worldview has changed… I now recognize that evil is there, lapping the shores of my life all the time – and to try and build a barrier around them is futile. So what can I do if I cannot change the tide? – I can redirect it, irrigate it – channel it. Take the evils and put them somewhere where their power is diminished and counter that flow with my own tide of positive energy. By myself, I would be just one piece trying to stop a tsunami: However, collectively, and from a new-found perspective of the strength of that collective, that tsunami would be nothing more than a ripple. A mere rising of the water that is easily diverted. We all have a power to change the world. One person alone cannot possibly do it, but if that one person can elicit the power of good from another and pass that on, we could perform a collective good that can literally change the tides. Rees’ life and death has taught me this. I will no longer be a simple observer of the tides, I am commited to changing them. Be one of Rees’ pieces and together we can do it. By myself I am just a father who lost a son… as part of a collective of Rees’ pieces, we can all change the world – one piece at time.