One of Those Days

I haven’t had any really happy days since December 28. I have had somewhat pleasant days, neutral days, numb days, indifferent days, and sad days. For some reason, today is one of the sad ones. I can’t quite place my finger on why, exactly, I should be particularly melancholy today. It isn’t an anniversary of anything, not a Friday night, or a Saturday. Not the 28th of the month. As time slides by, and the layers of my shock and disbelief wear away, I expose kernels of sorrow previously shielded by the routine of everyday life. The realization starts to sink in that he is truly gone and gone. I will never get him back.

We stopped in Palm Springs yesterday afternoon on our way home from Phoenix. We visited with a couple of people that knew Jake, had spent the past several months with him. We talked a bit about those months, how he was, what he was doing right and maybe not so right. How good a soul he was, how kind and caring. How he could make someone laugh, even when she wasn’t necessarily disposed to. How he was progressing, how sad that he was gone, wouldn’t be able to make anyone laugh again. One of his friends said he just popped into her head from time to time to visit. They said they thought of him and us often; that they missed him too. Maybe being in the place he last lived, looking at the mountains that loomed over the golf courses we played on, eating at one of his favorite restaurants, reliving some of those “last times, first times”, activated a time delay sorrow bomb that went off when I woke up this morning.

Perhaps spending the week with my cousin and her family lit the fuse. She babysat for Jake when he was young; both she and her mom loved him. They called him Jakey-Jake. I got to spend time with her son, a fine young man attending ASU, her daughter, still in high school, and her mom, my Mother’s cousin, who has known her (and me, and Jake) from birth. We hung out, went shopping together, laughed and joked. Things I used to do with my son. We had a genuinely good time. Family meals, sharing recipes, teaching E. how to bone a turkey breast. But as always, those good times are tempered by the underlying, unspoken sadness. We didn’t talk about our Jake too much over the weekend, there was no need; his presence is everywhere.

Maybe it was being with Jake’s cousin Jake at Shabbat dinner. I managed to get through the blessings intact this week, another small victory, but I am not sure it is permanent progress. One step up, two steps back sometimes. We took Jake out to lunch a couple of days later and had a very lovely time. We ate pretty good pizza and talked about getting together when Jake is next in Los Angeles. He is another fine young man it is my privilege to spend time with. As much as I truly enjoy being with these “surrogate sons” I have inherited, as much as we enjoy each other’s company, are forging closer bonds each time we meet, I still pine for my own son.

It could have been three innocent words in an email I got a couple of days ago from a long time friend I contacted; she hadn’t heard the news. Those words, “How’s your boy”, brought the familiar heat to my eyes. I had to let her know. I got an email back with her remembrance of Jake at my Dad’s funeral three years ago. “Jake was so nice to me at Joel’s funeral, a true gentleman.” Yes, truly a gentle man. That’s my boy.

Possibly, it was coming home to the daily routine, the realization that this is now my life; always wishing for, always longing for Jake’s return. A return that will never happen. Missing him so fiercely every day is exhausting. I am so tired of this, but I don’t see any respite ahead. I wish I could just stop, but that terrible hollow feeling inside will never go away. It only increases with time. I have a palpable sense of waiting now, more so than usual. Waiting for what, I don’t know. Waiting for some kind of change, some relief from this emptiness I feel. Something to infuse new meaning and relevance. Waiting for a miracle. Waiting for Godot. I know that change must come from within, but right now, I am having a hard time effecting that change. My resources are at an all-time low. I am still grappling with the infinite implications of Jake’s passing, repercussions that will resonate far into the future, and in fact for the rest of my life.

As I left shul this morning, our rabbi wished me “only good things”. Maybe that was the last straw, the final nudge that sent me into the spiral of sadness that was my day today. I had the very best, and now it is gone. What “good thing” can replace Jake? The truth is that it was all of it. My outlook hangs in such a delicate balance; it doesn’t take very much to tip it over into the depth of despondency. Any one of those things could have tripped the switch, but combined, I didn’t stand a chance. I’ll chalk up today as “just one of those days”, and see if tomorrow will bring something different.

© 2014 Ed Colman

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About edcol52

The Infinite Fountain of Love and Loss flows unceasingly into the pool of memory and sorrow. I created this blog in response to the most dreadful tragedy every parent fears, the death of a child, our 24 year old son, Jake. We are now on an unimagined journey along this road of grief and recovery. If you can find some comfort within these pages, than I will have succeeded in some small measure.
This entry was posted in Coping, Daily Ramblings, Friends and Family, Grief, Jake Colman, Memory, Sadness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to One of Those Days

  1. Anne Rodman says:

    There. Whatever you adjusted, it works — and so do you, carrying on as always with thought, honesty, and transcendent courage. You and Terry are the good things. Don’t ever forget that.

  2. Ed, I understand. Yesterday, my husband and I confessed to each other that some days we find ourselves saying, “What!? This can’t be true!” In fact I found myself crying and saying, “okay, Amy, time to come home.” Tomorrow will be 8 months. We are not wired to take it all in at one time, so yes, we still have many of those days. Hope today is better.

    • edcol52 says:

      Yes, I still expect a text or a knock at the door. There is a quote from Mark Twain that I shared a while ago. “It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man [or a woman], all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live. There is but one reasonable explanation for 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….It will be years before the tale of lost essentials is complete, and not till then can he [she] truly know the magnitude of his [her] disaster.” – Mark Twain on the death of his daughter Jean.

      Months and years until we know the whole extent of our loss, the magnitude of our disaster. Be well.

  3. CiM says:

    Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
    Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
    I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
    I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
    The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
    And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
    But last year’s bitter loving must remain
    Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!

    There are a hundred places where I fear
    To go, — so with his memory they brim!
    And entering with relief some quiet place
    Where never fell his foot or shone his face
    I say, ‘There is no memory of him here!’
    And so stand stricken, so remembering him!”

    {Edna St. Vincent Millay}

    Thinking of Jake and thinking of you.
    How much I hate that he is gone. How much I hate that you must bear life without him.

    How much I wish that there were any words on earth to ease the pain.

    But there are none.

    Your writing speaks so well, so strongly, of your love for him. But it is all wrong that you have to write. I wish things were so different. Him here, and you with him. Always.

    Reading and reading and appreciating what you have to say so very much. Most of all, forever wishing you did not have to say it.

    Cathy in Missouri

    P.S. My grief is different, not the death of a child. Other griefs. No grief can touch the grief of burying your flesh and blood, your own son. Nothing else comes close. I hope it does not offend you that I read here and resonate.

    • edcol52 says:

      Cathy, you are welcome to read here, and I am humbled that my words resonate with you, however they may. Thank you also for this poem, it does express perfectly the feelings I have. Please continue to join the conversation.

  4. Melissa says:

    So many of your words say how I feel. Thank you for sharing.

    • edcol52 says:

      Melissa, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I am gratified that you find resonance in my writing, I am writing for myself and all of us too. Visit often. I wish you peace.

  5. Robin Gaphni says:

    Ed, you put it so well. The disbelief that continues to settle over us even as we approach the three and a half YEAR mark. How can it be? And yet, we do continue on without their physical presence, although they surround us always. A paradox. Keep writing, your words will help you and others who have to traverse this most difficult journey. And while you will continue to have “those days” when it seems impossible to arise, you will have others where your step will feel lighter. Jake is with you always. Take care my friend.

    • edcol52 says:

      Yes, the disbelief. Sometimes it wears thin and the true measure of the sorrow shows through. Like it does from time to time. Like it did yesterday. I am touched that my words might bring some help to those of us on this lonely road. Our children are with always, yes, wherever we go.

  6. I get the sense that you are somehow expecting too much of yourself right now. The fact that you are getting up each day and even interacting with other people is remarkable. I have not been able to go to family events because I know that I cannot hide my constant sadness and I don’t want to detract from the joy that others are experiencing. Every day is a struggle and every morning when I awaken the very first thing I think about is my son. I cry many times every day for everything that is lost.
    The other day I was shopping and ran into a couple who used to invite our family to Passover seders for many years when my children were young. They joyfully asked me how “the kids” were. My heart sank and my eyes filled with tears when I realized that they had not heard …and I had to tell them. I burst into tears right in the middle of Costco. They were stunned and I had to face my new reality as if for the first time.
    I think the best that any of us can hope for is that we learn to live with pain. I hope to experience joy again, but I know that thoughts of my son will always be with me. I will always miss him.

    • edcol52 says:

      We are living with the pain. Some days coping better than others. We don’t really go to family events, Shabbat dinners, parties. We can’t even imagine having a seder this year. I am not sure what we will do for Passover, one of Jake’s favorite holidays. He is such an integral part of it, “… and thou shall tell it to your son …” goes the commandment. What do I have to tell? To whom will I tell the story now? We can only live day by day. Each day bringing fresh insight, sorrow and perhaps, a tiny bit of pleasure. Never again true joy. Be well.

  7. Deanna says:

    “…good times are tempered by the underlying, unspoken sadness.” Yes, this. Always. When I read your words, they had been mine (and my husband’s) exactly. We had the best, and now…? I once read in “The Worst Loss” (Rosof) how long it took others to resume their lives without such heavy weight on a daily basis–four years? I knew I would die in the waiting. Somehow I didn’t. Somehow I’m living with it…instead of dying from it. I just want to say to you: I know, I know. I am so sorry you have to wait here without your gentlemanly boy, Jake.
    A rabbi once said to my husband, “You’re Ali, getting the s— beat out of you…lying against the ropes…curled up and waiting…” Yes, this.
    Stay against the ropes,
    Deanna

  8. Just wanted to say hello and let you know I’ve been thinking about you.

  9. Pingback: What’s in a Number? | The Infinite Fountain

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