It’s been a year.
A year of transition.
A year of goodbyes, of hellos, of tears and laughter and hugs.
But mostly just a year.
A year since the day I never could have anticipated.
I find myself back in the role of graphic designer, but it’s different this time. This time, the clients are my friends, my coworkers, my student’s parents. And the product—a shirt to honor his life.
It’s his year. The year of the dragon. He would have been twelve this June. This year would have been goodbye in a different way. Goodbye from elementary school. On to middle school with the secondary art teacher. But he’s not there eating in the cafeteria when I walk past the sixth grade boys.
So I sit at the lightbox in my classroom and trace elements from a dragon design we found online. Then I find fonts to match. Architect’s Daughter, based on the handwriting of another one in our community. And the appropriate Chinese characters to relate. A border finishes it off, to mimic an artist’s seal, a rounded square chop.
It’s a sobering project. One I never wish to repeat. To be asked to use my skills to celebrate his life is an honor. That we are celebrating his life, not living it with him now, brings fresh tears.
As a community, we gathered today and watched an hour of home videos.
Tomorrow is a school baseball game. He loved baseball.
And the shirts will be a continual reminder of our friend, our student, our brother, our son.
Tim, we love and remember you.
The red design will be printed on a yellow shirt, with the dragon on the front and the words on the back. The proceeds from the sales will be added to the fund that honors his memory and his love for music and the arts. This fund will be used to purchase things that touched his life and that he loved, such as major instruments for the band program, special afterschool programs in music and the arts, etc.