My name is Kaitlin Griffith (my pen name is Frances Bloom – there is a whole reason for why I use that name to write poetry and this blog, so use the contact me button if you are interested in the full story.) My spouse, Jacob, died in September 2017 at the age of 27 making me a widow at 25. Does my life sound exciting yet? Jealous much? Nope, didn’t think so. We knew each other since 4th grade and have been together since 7th grade. Basically, all of who I am was heavily influenced by him and so much of our mannerisms, phrases and inside jokes became incredibly intertwined and unstoppable for so many years because well – we were one, we are one, and as Leonard Cohen once said, “walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme.” Jacob would quote that to me often, along with singing me Daniel Johnston’s “Sweetheart” on the chord organ. If you haven’t heard that song, look it up – it describes our love and his passion so well. “It’s close to pain, this love I have for you”, he thought summarized his feelings for me so impeccably. Jacob would say, “We complement each other perfectly – I couldn’t imagine a more perfect human being to spend the rest of my life with. I am so lucky. Do you realize how lucky we are? This doesn’t happen to everyone. We are so lucky.” I would always respond, “No, I am the lucky one. You picked me!” But of course, as I painfully am aware now – we were the two luckiest people on the earth, to share such a rare and unconditional love that very few have. Sometimes I would break down and weep, he would ask what was wrong, and I would say “I am thinking of who I would be without you, and how awful I would be – I am so grateful for your light, your wisdom, and how you have shaped me to become such a better person.” Jacob would then say, “Oh my sweet angel baby coos, I don’t know what or where I would be without you, I could never live my life without you.” And here I am doing just that. And I have extreme guilt for just living without him.
I spend my time barely able to get out of bed every day (walking to the bathroom is a monolith of a chore), hardly able to take care of our shared cat, Abraham that Jacob and I got together in October of 2016. He would tell me in the most loving way “Baby, I have had a lot of experience with cat’s – I don’t think you realize how special this cat is, this best cat I have ever known.” He was completely and utterly correct. “Our son”, Abe as we called him waited for us outside of the bathroom, ran to the front door when he heard our car door slam, couldn’t be left alone in a room alone and loved us unconditionally and fairly. If I was in the bedroom and Jacob was in the living room Abe would let out a sigh and lay perfectly in the middle of us in the hallway – “can’t you guys pick a room?” Jacob would imitate his voice- Abe didn’t want us to feel left out, ever and Jacob would say – “What an amazing cat, he is so fair with his love for us – when I spend a half a day with him, he comes and spends time with you as soon as you get home.” We went away for one night in Maine on July 4, 2017, and we came back and he looked so sad and hadn’t eaten any of his food. He was hiding under the bed. Scared. We then realized we could never leave him alone again. The little guy had separation anxiety. And we loved him for it. Jacob would say, “He is kneady and needy.” We had all kind of slilly nicknames for him from babysita, to pumpkin spice latte, to mango slice, to buddy (get out of there buddy! Jacob would say often when he was playing in his closet), to my little mamas, to my little scottsman, to his full name that Jacob and I decided was “Abraham Fishman Spinoza the IV” Fishman because Jacob and I loved his little fish breath, Jacob would say “I don’t know why, but I love his fish breath so much and I HATE fish. It’s so weird. But I love it.” We would often say to each other, “baby, it’s extra fishy today you have to come smell. So much fish.” Or if I was pointing it out to him I would call him “Jakey” – I always called him Jakey. That was my name for him. And Mogley. The funny thing is we both called each other Mogley which turned into Moges. So many names, and stories behind names… I would give anything to hear Jacob yell “Moges! I missed you today!” The Spinoza came from one of Jacob’s favorite philosophers Baruch Spinoza. So fitting for such a wise cat.
I am on a leave of absence from graduate school at Harvard, in a city (Cambridge, Massachusetts) that was the last place I ever saw Jacob. The last of many homes we shared. I am living back in Florida with my parents and have been for the last year (going on two). The whole reason I wanted to get that degree from Harvard was for Jacob – so I could support us both while he pursued his writing full time without the stress of a shitty part-time job. I always wanted to take care of him, always. I knew what a genius he was and so I felt my purpose in life was to help Jacob become a famous writer – the talent was all there, he just needed the time and financial support – which I wanted to give him. We were planning on getting married after I graduated in “October of 2018 or 2019 at the latest” Jacob said – he wanted it to be in October because that was close to Abe’s birthday (October 31st) and “I don’t want him to be left out of the celebration.” Also, it was Fall – Jacob’s favorite season. Our favorite month. So not only is September just a piece of shit month but right after, October is awful because I think of how special that month would have been for us, and very soon. If Jacob were alive, we would be married and would be trying to get pregnant. Or maybe I would be pregnant already. This was our very near future – and now it is completely obliterated.
The plan is to head back to school August of 2019, and I am trying to mentally prepare through intensive therapy, medication and a new procedure called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and if that doesn’t work? Electric Shock Therapy. Dun dun dun… I’m talking about grief and depression in a real way – yes, I am this depressed that I need this much help just to stay alive.
Life has knocked me down. It has taken away my entire future with the love of my life but I am trying all I can to get back up somehow. My goal is to keep Jacob alive and for our life to never be forgotten. He is the most amazing human being I have ever known ( I use the present tense here, intentionally- there will never be anyone that compares to him or our love). He was a writer and poet – loved all art, music, and really “worked to live” instead of “living to work”. He read six books a week and had an intelligence that very few have – full of wisdom, creativity, quick wit and intellect. Not the book smart shit anyone can get. I was the luckiest and am the luckiest girl in the world because he chose me to share his entire life with, and I got to know him better than anyone else and he knew me better than anyone else. This is what makes the grief so soul-sucking and unbearable. One widow once said to me, “You are no longer the most important person to anyone in the world.” Your one person, who is the most important person in your world – is gone. Forever. That truth is not an easy one to digest.
I am left here alone without my family. Without my soul mate. Without the love of my life. Maybe the days will get more tolerable but for now – they are not. My “journey” which I actually detest when people use that word because I’m sorry – the only journey I want is with Jacob – like Kelley Lynn says “My grief is not a journey – journey is a shitty band from the 80s.” My days are filled with bad days and even worse days. No good days. Sorry! This isn’t a blog about positivity. This is about the brutal, honest, horrible truth of sudden loss at 25 years old.
Oh yeah, and I have lost my mind – more than once. Grief has cause mania, delusions, voices, and a lack of cognitive function altogether. If that makes you feel uncomfortable? Find something else to read. I am sick and tired of this subject being glossed over and swept under the rug. It could happen to you at any moment – and once you lose that luxury of ignorance – it will never come back. No one is getting out alive – life will bring everyone to their knees, I am just getting this punch in the face, I’m sorry – not a punch in the face, more like a swirling tornado throwing large metal cars and glass into my lungs – at a very early age and gaining wisdom I don’t want – I just want my life back with the person I love. But the point of this whole blog is to tell you about the love of my life, Jacob – my favorite person on earth who is my favorite person to talk about and yet most people in my life don’t want to hear my stories. Anyone who didn’t meet Jacob or get to know him has been cheated. I want to tell you my story and keep our life alive and most importantly – his memories and who he was, never forgotten.