Somehow, I have not yet been able to reconcile the fact that our son is truly gone with the fact that he seems so close at times. I look at the belongings we brought back from Palm Springs, three huge duffle bags full of clothes, boxes of papers, computer hardware, books, his chef’s tools, just the stuff that surrounded him in his apartment, and know in one part of my brain, that he is not coming back to claim them. Yet, I look at one of the photos that our dear friend Yakov took of Jake last year in which he looks out of the frame at me, clear-eyed, content, and he seems so present. I truly cannot believe what has happened. I know that is one of the stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Denial, that hasn’t happened, it can’t happen to me. But these phases don’t progress in a straight line. More like a convoluted figure eight, with all 5 of them looping back on one another periodically. Sometimes all are present simultaneously. Yes, I accept what has happened, but I don’t accept it. It is all so unreal. Bargaining? I have nothing to bargain with, my treasure has been stolen.
As Mark Twain so eloquently put it, “The intellect is stunned by the shock of it and but gropingly gathers the meaning of the words. The power to realize their full import is mercifully wanting. The mind has a dumb sense of vast loss – that is all. It will take mind and memory months, and possibly years, to gather together the details and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss.”
Yes, a dumb sense of vast loss. We might as well try to understand the size of the universe, it is that vast. We discover new implications daily, stretching out into the future. A future that is immeasurably changed forever. What that future looks like, I have no idea. Things that once were so important, now seem so trivial. I can see this: there will be more sorrow to come as we move through the years, marking the dates and times where Jake’s absence will be felt all the more keenly. Holidays, birthdays, the celebrations and activities that bound our family together. We miss him so terribly right now, we will miss him even more as time goes on. Of that I am also sure.