Last year, on this day, the Lord took my beautiful son Nicholas Jordan Ettinger-Ravel home. Nick had been diagnosed early in 2022 with epilepsy. He worked from home & kept a camera on himself to determine if he had a seizure.
He had just assured me that he had not experienced a seizure in the day time for weeks.
But on the 19th, a seizure & a subsequent fall took Nick from us. He was 38 years old.
When Nick was still a toddler, I put him in front of a computer, inaugurating what would become a life-long passion & career. Nick was an intelligent, compassionate & caring man with a wicked sense of humor & quick wit. He enjoyed watching films & his favorite series, listening to music, building better & faster computers & creating both useful & whimsical items with his 3-D printer.
He loved his wife & life partner of over 20 years, Jane, his family & extended family, & his two fur babies, Lexie & Franny.
Yesterday, as I at tried to prepare myself for this most unhappy of anniversaries, I drew on moments with Nick that brought me joy.
I think it was New Year’s Eve – the first New Year’s Eve without some place to go. Nick was not quite three & obsessed with a lunch box given to him by my boss, Mike McCann. The lunch box was also a radio & came with earplugs. Nick carried it everywhere.
We decided to go to Luigi’s – our family’s
favorite Italian restaurant, and a short drive from our house. Luigi’s was crowded & we did not have
reservations, but they knew us & found a table for two & a place to put
While I don’t remember what Nick finally settled upon for his meal, I remember that we had Eggplant Rollatini for our appetizer. At my insistence, Nick finally removed his ear plugs & told me about his day at Esperanza, the Outdoor School.
Nick asked me about people he knew from my office, and then changed the subject:
How are you finding the Eggplant Rollatini, Mom?
I replied that I was finding it quite fine. Then he picked up his wine glass filled with Sprite & held it toward me:
To you, Mom, to you.
It was one of those moments a mother never forgets – when your son is certain that you are the most important & beautiful woman in the world. Or at least in His world.
Boys are the salt of the earth. Eventually, they grow into men, but the little boy who loved you unconditionally, who believed you to be beautiful, who trusted you with his secrets & found a safe place to land with you, remains within the grown man.
Over the years, during many conversations with Nick, I recalled that evening at Luigi’s & how that little boy who grew into a man always managed to charm me.
Nick always kept me in his heart. As I will keep him in mine.
If there ever comes a day when we are not able to be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.
– A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh