Jacob on July 4, 2017, at Acadia National Park (stay tuned for an entire post about our trip.) Doesn’t he look so beautiful here? Tell me what is on your mind sweet boy… I remember you were telling me you couldn’t believe you were standing so close to the edge, and how proud of yourself you were. “Go Jakes, Go!” you would say – you would also say, “stop taking photos Coo! Come over here and check this out!”
This National Park was in Maine-a state he always thought was intriguing as a little one and he used to say “wasn’t I cool kid for wanting to go to Maine?” YES of course you were and I would say – just the cutest baby boy! But his favorite state as an ADULT was North Carolina – western part for sure, but he loved the eastern longleaf pine forests as well. He loved the bogs filled with venus fly traps and pitcher plants growing wild – he put his finger in their traps and watched them close in on his finger. That is a wonderful memory, how enchanted he was. By the way, Jacob had the most beautiful hands in the whole world – long, delicate, milky white and made for playing music and creating art.
We talked about settling down somewhere near Asheville and buying a house together and raising a family in that corner of the world. Plenty of land, babies, cats, art and lots of love. Plus it would be close enough to both our families. We talked about this a lot because this was our next step. The next stage of our life together was just beginning.
He always reminded me that of all the hikes we ever did together – Washington State, Oregon, New Mexico, California, Maine…etc, North Carolina hikes were always his favorite – his all-time favorite? Max’s Patch on The Appalachian Trail – again, I have a whole post coming up about that hike we took together and a trip to North Carolina we took with my parents.
He loved how old the mountains were on the east coast. You could find fossils of the ancient seabed on top of the peaks there. When I first told him that the only reason the western U.S. has such huge mountains is because they are so young and haven’t had the time to erode and wither – and that is why eastern mountains are so old and so diverse – oh man, once he heard that, he was hooked. He thought that was the coolest thing. “Baby, that totally makes sense. How awesome is that?” He was so humble about gaining knowledge and digesting more information – you have to imagine this is a kid reading “Notes from the Underground” by Dostoevsky at like 14 – and comprehending it. Everything he learned that interested him he was excited about and always retained that childlike curiosity.
Ugh…then the world was set on fire…
I am going to leave you with something a little different today…
This is advice after a recent widow talked to a fellow friend who had been widowed for many years. The recent widow said she wanted to die, and was in the darkest part of her life and asked, “didn’t you ever…want to… end it all?” I think this important to post today because it is advice we all need – but not advice that we can all necessarily relate to at the same time. I know for me, there are many parts I cannot relate to – I have no hope – no motivation to keep on – very little will to live – but maybe in two years, five years, I will- and this will help. Maybe I never will. But this might help you – and young widows especially need this support because most of us are robbed of kids, marriage, and a whole life together with our soulmate. When you are no longer “the most important person in the world to someone else” and when the most important person in your world is gone – there is little hope to be had. And I want to give this advice to you, from someone who has been in our shoes. I hope it may help some. I am keeping today’s post short today because… some weeks are harder than others. As you know all too well.
(after hearing the question)
My heart immediately hurt for her.
And my mind immediately went back to that cold, lonely, inky black place where she is now.
I remember every detail of that place.
Even though I’d like to forget …… as I’ve forgotten so many other things.
And I know that she is not the only one out there who feels this way.
Who hurts this way and wonders if she/he is alone in that wondering.
Has anyone else ever wanted to just …… stop?
Very much so.
I did more than just want it to stop.
I attempted to stop.
But I couldn’t go all the way.
Someone intervened …… and here I am today.
I’m not sure if I would’ve gone all the way …… had they not intervened.
Sometimes I think no.
Most times I think no.
But sometimes …… I wonder.
For all of you who’ve been there ……
For all of you who are there right now ……
And for those of you yet to go there ……
You are not alone.
Many of us have been there.
And are still here.
No, not everyone goes there.
It’s not a requirement or anything …… for grieving.
But it’s not all that unique, either.
You feel what you feel.
And sometimes …… you think that you cannot feel like that for one more moment …… let alone for the next 40 years or so.
You want the pain to stop.
And it doesn’t matter who might be left behind.
Or how it might affect them.
Because you think that they’ll be better off to be done with you.
With you and your grief.
I get that.
I understand that like I never, ever did …… or could …… “before”.
So I will tell you what you don’t …… can’t …… believe.
Your existence matters.
No matter how negative you think it may be.
No matter how much you are grieving each and every day.
And the emptiness you will leave behind will shatter someone …… several someones …… into a million tiny pieces that cannot be put together again.
They have already lost one of the most important people in their life.
They cannot lose another.
You can’t believe that.
But try to believe me.
I have been there.
I was there for a long time.
But I’ve made it to here.
And I worked damn hard to get here.
So try to believe me.
And if you can’t …… let me believe it for you.
And …… this is the most important thing I can tell you ……
That’s all I have.
I hope that you can trust me.
Or …… let me believe it while you can’t.
Your days will not always be this dark.
His death will not always be the first thought you have when you open your eyes in the morning.
Her absence will not always be the last thought you have before you fall asleep at night.
The pain will not always be this intense, this suffocating, this soul-killing.
It will not always be this heart-shattering.
My existence here is proof of that.
And your presence here is my reason for that.
I’ve made it to this point so that I can help others make it.
And I will do whatever I can …… whatever it takes …… to help you keep believing.
To help you …… keep breathing.
And to keep coming back here.
One breath at a time.
Just one breath.
You are not alone.