I have been looking at some of Jake’s journals from the past couple of years. In each one, the first 5, 10, 15 pages are filled with the most diverse writings. Philosophy, ramblings, shopping lists, recipes, lists of people’s phone numbers, to-do lists, goals, dreams, plans, a sketch or two, followed by a book full of empty pages. These books are sadly symbolic of his life. At first so busy, so much to do, so many people to call, so much to be, and then … nothing. Just a blank slate that will never be written on. All the people never phoned, the groceries never bought, the wonderful meals never cooked. All the dreams that won’t come true, the ideas that won’t come to fruition, the photographs never taken, the people who will never be touched by his special gifts. Our loss is the world’s loss. Yes, I should be grateful for what I have, what he did, what he left us, what we may do in his name, but my heart aches for what could have, should have been. Nothing to do for it now, I’ll just have to learn to live with that ache. I’ll never get used to it, but what other choice do I have?
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I haven’t reached the stage of being grateful. I still feel cheated of all that could have been, that should have been…It’s exactly as you describe, all the ideas that will never come to fruition, the dreams that won’t come true. It’s painful to accept.
Not exactly grateful. Cheated, definitely. Grateful that he touched so many people in so many ways. Grateful that he had a chance to experience this amazing planet, grateful he had friends, enjoyed his life as much as he could. But that gratitude only goes so far. I haven’t really accepted it. Still too fresh. Painful, most assuredly. I guess the acceptance and reconciliation only comes with time.
I’m not sure if there is a “stage” of being grateful. For me it’s moments. In some moments I can be grateful for certain things and in other moments I still struggle. Life changes after this kind of loss. I think it gets forever split into before and after; it also gets transformed into a life of moments, some are better than others.
I think gratitude is no more a “stage” as any of the other “stages” of grief. It isn’t something you arrive at, like stops on a railway. It is so early still I am not sure what is coming next, but I do have these flashes of thankfulness that Jake was my son. They immediately get extinguished by the anguish that, although he will always be my son and I his father, I will never get to put my arms around him, feel his solidity here on Earth. Yes moment by moment.