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Updated on March 5, 2005


Simon always had a lot of interesting things to say, and we began taking note when he was an infant first learning to talk. I want to acknowledge two very important influences in my journaling about our children. The first is my mother-in-law, Irmgard Vodosek. An active and attentive correspondent, Irmi kept extensive notes on Markus and Christina as they grew up. A while back (before we had kids), she gave Markus a set of photocopies from her journal, highlighting some of her treasured memories of his childhood. I was very impressed.

As Markus and I embarked on parenting, we gravitated to The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears as our favorite go-to book for guidance. In one part of the book, they offer advice on how to record observations of a child's development. The father and mother of eight, they have good ideas on efficient and impactful notetaking. First of all, they advise keeping it specific and writing a "headline" for each topic. Second, they encourage jotting precious moments down in whatever form is easiest at the moment, whether it be using a dictaphone or a scrap of paper.

Inspired by my mother-in-law and schooled by the Sears book, I was in the habit of keeping a journal about the kids when Simon became ill. So, it was easy to begin making notes about the things he said as he lived with cancer. It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of documenting his journey. Most of the notetaking is my own, but others have also added to the project, including Markus, Ann Craig (my mother), and hospital staff.

A couple of months before he died, Simon saw me grab a sheet of paper and jot something down. He looked suspiciously at me and asked, "Did you just write down what I said?" Simon was in many ways a private person, and he didn't pay attention to most of the material that appears on this Web site. I feel uncomfortable with the degree of disclosure in these writings, not on my own account but out of respect for Simon. Still, I feel his story is worth telling and his wisdom, spirit, and wonderful attitude offer inspiration for us all.

In that spirit, I continue to mine my journals and the scraps of battered paper from my purse. So many of the moments bring back vivid memories for me, ranging from the sublime to the hilarious to the excruciating.

It has been our habit to record things in reverse chronological order on this Web site. Thus, the "beginning point" for SIMON SAYS is the most recent point. Inevitably, that point in time is the day that Simon died. It feels like a harsh place to start, and I encourage new visitors to this site to consider looking earlier in the archives before reading the final section from the summer of 2004.

Because I am adding items essentially randomly to these pages, I have added a marker of NEW to each newly added entry. That should help the old-timers spot the new material quickly.

I am now writing about Simon posthumously, and that knowledge must somehow change my perspective as I attempt to recreate marvelous, and sometimes very sad, moments in time. For the sake of whatever difference it may make, I have marked all posthumously written entries as such.

As always, comments are welcome to the MESSAGE BOARD.


SIMON'S PLACE | A Web Site For Simon Vodosek