So in June of 2003, I get a call from my son… he’s going to stay in San Diego for the summer, get a job, live with his friends. Oh, but, that’s fallen through, and by the way, Sara has lost the lease on her apartment, and they’re going to share a place together for the summer. “So you’re sharing an apartment?” Well, no, they’re saving costs so they’re sharing a room. “So you two are living together? So explain to me why I’m not going to be a grandmother by the end of the year!” The explanation did not include the inoperable tumor in his brainstem three months later.

Orion was contemplating life as an upper division student in physics at UC San Diego when he called me to say his face was going numb. Life at the time included long hours of calculus and physics, boogie boarding down at the beach, snowboarding in the mountains and tutoring kids. And he was, of course, head-over-heels inseparable from Sara.


He came home for radiation and chemo in October. He asked us to leave, and talked to his doctors himself. They told him maybe twelve months. So he threw the biggest New Years Eve party ever, and spent time with his friends. When I asked him about it afterwards, he said, “Mom, if I look in that direction, it’s all black. So I just don’t look that way.” He then enrolled at UC Berkeley for the spring semester of 2004, initially in a quantum mechanics course. Between the tumor and chemo, he couldn’t keep up, and the physics class soon evolved into a short fiction writing project with the English department. Orion had been writing as long as we could remember….


He titled his story “Error”, where the young man is injured, of course his head, yet saves himself and those he loves around him. Orion took care of all of us. He was courageous and he was brave. He saw the world with a rare calmness and clarity, a quiet passion. I have immense respect and love for my forever 21-year old, for the way he handled those unimaginable six months of his life; the way he faced his death. He persevered, with his hope and his life and his one love Sara, every day, every week.


So, Orion’s world, from the stars to the sun, from Orion to Sara…


I can imagine little things little things that make me feel like a sidewalk on a sunny day a sunny day illuminated by your smile your smile and your eyes and hands my hands can’t wait to touch you with arms that want to hold and lips that want to kiss to kiss your lips your stomach your bosom your skin your skin against mine the warmth the warmth of your soul your soul so close.