Hello fellow readers… those trying to find light …. please know I did not abandon this blog because “I got busy” – but Harvard University has been blackmailing me and violating the disability clause in the civil rights amendment by both subtly and overtly discriminating against me based on the first disability listed – PTSD.
I have a very long article in the works that I have been working on with Harvard Business Professor in his “op ed” writing course … all my studio art, visual art, film and architecture courses have been excellent (relatively) and the professors value my contributions.
But the Harvard Graduate School of Education? Dirty Dirty fuckers. I haven’t taken one course there in my last year and isn’t that a feather in your cap… (david sedaris inside joke with jacob)- anyway… how can people be asking about gender pronouns when they won’t even acknowledge my existence? my humanity?
So… now that i am almost graduated. applied. obviously not walking because that was Jacob’s seat to sit in …. and Harvard is a monster- I am coming
There are so many things I need to say… I have paragraphs and paragraphs of drafts for many of my future blogs but for now – my art is about to fill up a studio space and I am working on a lot of visual art with little time to write my feelings and of Jacob with 100 percent reference. I can hear Jacob saying “Baby, I always told you how creative you were visually I love to see you doing this…” Ugh. Life is so fucking hard up here. Another topic for another blog post.
I thought I would share one of my “pieces”, which sounds a little pretentious… but it illustrates what goes through my mind often and what I cannot always put into words.
Anything I can remotely relate to in grief has come from the Jewish faith… (and the wisdom literature from the old testament) – and remember, I am not religious although I want to be desperately, so I am open to all wisdom. I don’t close myself off because my generation thinks it is “cool” to ignore or reject religion… yeah, try that philosophy when life brings you to your knees, assholes. I couldn’t think of better tenants to follow than those of the Jewish stories and lessons and to model your life as Jesus – love for the widows, homeless, mentally ill and those without a voice, Why reject the change to model yourself and aim to be a being of absolute kindness, as my sweet Jacob for a label? Agh. Jacob and I felt this same way…
“The work of grieving is the hardest work there is. It is lonely, sickening and exhausting. Grief is the price we pay for love. It is the highest price.” —Rabbi Earl Grollman”
The one update I will provide right ow is that I have been teaching Art classes to the homeless – and I couldn’t think of a better population, facing similar (but highly different) ills of life and extreme depression… but finding a way to find joy – such as myself (in small ways).
*when I say “people” or “no one” I am excluding (obviously) my dear dear two widow friends, mom and dad, mother-in-law and sister-in-law, they know this but to make extra clear*
Rabbi Steve Leder once spoke about a lecture he heard by the youngest child to survive Auschwitz. He said there were no children in Auschwitz (he was six then), you became an adult as soon as you walked through the electrified barbed-wire fence. There were no children in Auschwitz.
He went on to say that one does not become a grown-up until they have suffered excruciatingly deep and horrible pain. This means that some children can become adults at 8 or 25 (like myself) or you could have adults that remain children well into their sixties – maybe their parents die, their own body fails in some critical way, or their child – the light of their eyes succumbs to disease or death, or their life crumbles down in some other way… but they are still a child until this deep suffering occurs. THIS IS HAPPENING EVERYWHERE TO ME. All I see are children walking around in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s. And of course everyone my fucking age is a child. A bunch of ignorant assholes. With no empathy – no idea of the suffering anyone is going through. No insight that the world will bring everyone to their knees – even a young six-year-old even a young 25-year-old widow. Soon to be 27… the age Jacob was when he left this world and our future was destroyed. People are cruel, man. I haven’t left my bed in ages and I went to ONE yoga class to see if it would be a nice distraction of the misery of my life. I went with my mom, and we were casually talking before class (like everyone else – and not loud) and this woman who looked to be around 70 or so looked to me right in the eyes and said: “why don’t you just shut the fuck up.” Yes, this really happened. Then we left. I don’t even want to go into what an evil bitch she is – it just demonstrates how the world is filled with children – I am surrounded by them (especially in my age group.) Well – will be surrounded by them when I go back to school – and it will be unbearable. I just chucked to myself because currently I am really surrounded by no one but me and Jacob’s cat, but in a months time, I will be thrown into the real world after almost two years in hiding.
How can I give a shit about a coconut milk cold brew and a lavender scone when THE LOVE OF MY LIFE IS FUCKING GONE? Just predicting my future grad student cohort’s vapid interests and knowing my millennial generation’s obsession with the chewed up bowl – the empty – the smoke and mirrors – you know, nothing real. The record player because it looks cool – the cassette box because it looks cool – needs approval to like movies rather than form their own fucking opinion – refusing to watch Woody Allen or Alfred Hitchcock because of their personal lives WHO GIVES A SHIT? LOOK AT THEIR ART YOU WANNA BE INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISTIC INTELLECTUAL. Or whatever new word you want to call whatever you all are. EVEN ONE OF HITCHCOCK’S sexual victims said everyone should watch his films and that he was a genius, just a sick man. Ugh. Form your own goddamn opinion. Nothing authentic anymore. Nothing genuine. The last human on earth so fucking authentic and genuine it was holy was Jacob. And people that never knew Jacob? Robbed of blinding light. There are people now that will never know “Jacob and Kaitlin” like my dad said once- it was always “Coo and Jacob” (coo my nickname). People will now never know that. And that breaks my soul. This is why I have asked my two widow friends to send me some of their favorite photos of them with their spouse so I can hang them on my wall, so they will be remembered every day together – that is one of the greatest things someone could ever do for me, but not one person has asked for a photo of me and Jacob so we will always be remembered together. After I asked them for a photo, they both said they had the same thought recently and wanted to do the same thing: to have me and Jacob’s photos around. We always save each other’s photos and videos we send on our phones. But having a physical copy is special. We get it, but the rest of the world is just cruel and stupid. Yes – I am being lazy with my words today by saying “stupid” a lot.
I have read the work of many rabbis in an effort to find some insight or wisdom into my suffering or make sense of this horrible existence that has been thrown my way. I am even meeting with a rabbi at Harvard for Shabbat dinner in May. One reason I am doing this is because of Jacob and how he embraced the Jewish culture and often looked to the writings of rabbis such as Abraham Twersky for spiritual guidance (this is one of Jacob’s favorite videos by Twersky). The second reason is out of sheer and utter desperation. There are only two young widows I know of that understand my pain – and some other widows don’t even get it because they either want to stay alive and get going with their lives or they just didn’t have as deep of a love as me and my other two widow friends. I have said this before, but it is such a chilling realization in the early hours of the morning as I have awoken from another horrible nightmare that leaves me exhausted – almost no one had a love like me and Jacob.No one. And it is gone forever. This reality makes me cry the whole cold night through and weep as the sun emerges. By the way, fuck you, sun.
I haven’t posted in a while because March 4th was the one and a half year mark of Jacob’s death, I didn’t hear from anyone – no surprise, I barely heard from anyone on the one year mark. Not like I wanted to – I just wanted people to tell me they were thinking of Jacob. But, it is a hard thing to face when no one loves or knows Jacob more than me – just like no one knows or loved me more than Jacob (even my parents can testify to that). And I have this enormous love and personality and beautiful soul in my head all the time, but without him earthside. We didn’t want any friends, we didn’t need any friends… it was just us. Now – just me. And I stopped posting because my depression was getting out of hand and I was back to sleeping 18 hours a day. I am not much better but I can at least try to post a little more. My posts might get shorter and turn into small memories of Jacob or a “story from my ___ dad, mom, a street corner, etc.” type segment. Speaking of a story from my dad, he was just reminding me yesterday of when they (my mom and dad) came to visit us in 2013 or so and we were all hiking at Leon Sinks Geological Area, a place Jacob and I spent a lot of time in the winter. As we were walking there was a big sinkhole in the middle of the trail and a long log to cross it. Jacob and my dad said, “yeah… we are going to go walk around”. Smart move. I decided to cross the log and I told my mom to come with me – mind you she had her purse with her keys, wallet, phone, etc. in it. Well I made it over and held my hand to let her know it was okay and that I would help her but she kept looking down and down and boom. She fell right into the water. Huge splash and screaming. “I don’t want to get sucked in!!” Man did that make Jacob laugh later when I told him she was screaming that. My dad said that as he was walking with Jacob from afar they heard a loud thump and a scream – they met us at the other side and my mom took her purse and flipped it upside down and tons of water came pouring out. Jacob went up and hugged my mom and said “poor cringes poor cringes” and shook her shoulder. She frowned and said, “jakessss I fell jakees”. She was a good sport about it and laughed. We all did. But I had forgotten that memory until my dad brought it up. We were talking about how many times they visited us over the years and different things we did and that memory got buried in my subconscious somehow.
I am “lucky” that I have my parents and some of Jacob’s family who wants to talk about Jacob – one of my widow friends who has no real friends like me, has a family that doesn’t even mention her spouse’s name. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!!! I will say it again. STOP. STOP. STOP. YOU MORONS. Stop tip-toeing around their name and existence. Don’t avoid talking about our soulmates. ALL WE WANT TO DO IS TALK ABOUT THEM. IT WAS NOT A DIVORCE, IT WAS A TRAGEDY. WE ARE IN LOVE. WE WILL ALWAYS BE IN LOVE. GET TO KNOW JACOB. THE ADULT, TRUE, COMPLETELY INTIMATE JACOB. The one I only knew, just like he only knew me. I know my parents would want to know every memory Jacob had to share with them if I died. The only two people who ask me questions like “what did you and Jacob like to cook together?” or “Did Jacob ever do this…” or “Tell me how Jacob changed from middle school to 27” or “What was your funniest moment?” “What was Jacob’s favorite vinyl or most played vinyl?” ” How did you know you liked each other in middle school?” “What was Jacob’s go-to first song he put on in the car?” “What book did Jacob read over and over?” “Who was Jacob’s favorite author?” etc. etc. The only people who ask these questions are my two young widow friends. No one else gives a shit. Or rather, it is kind of an inconvenience for them to give it the time of day. Another realization of almost 19 months now (jesus christ 19 months…) is that everyone is selfish. Me and Jacob have been robbed of our future, I have no home, I have boxes of our things collected from a decade of living together, I have no job, I have no routine, and I am utterly lost without Jacob. He influenced everything about me since I was in 7th grade. I AM DROWNING IN FLAMES. And people just want to continue their lives and give their shit advice in the comfort of the nice home they share with their spouse and children. Well, guess what? That was our plan and why do you get it? Why do these people around me who have been together for barely 2 years (even 5 years is honestly laughable given how long Jacob and I have been together) why do they get it all? They aren’t soulmates like me and Jacob. There love isn’t unconditional. Jacob would try to hang out with someone (like I said he had many man crushes, everyone wanted to be his friend) and he would text me an hour in and say “I am making up an excuse and coming home! I love my coos and I want cuddle times! Pick out a movie cutie!” We literally couldn’t be apart. Now his physical touch and his warm body are missing from my arms and my bed… I am in my childhood bedroom we stayed in so many times while visiting my parents. I cry out for him in my sleep. I haven’t lived anywhere without Jacob since I was 18 years old…
So, let’s see.. a lot of changes coming up that I don’t feel like talking about because I have been frozen in time for 19 months and want to remain frozen. I am forever in 2017. So, I would rather not think or talk about them. But, basically, as I struggle to stay alive – I also must speak intimately to Jacob in my personal journal and voice recorder. And that comes before this blog. But my goal, as you all know, is to share Jacob with everyone which I plan to continue doing as much as I can until … well. I don’t know how to finish that sentence so how about we leave it as “just until…”
I am sorry that I have missed my Monday posts this month of January. As you can imagine, I have been in a ginormous state of depression (even more than usual) since the holidays. Then, I visited one of me and Jacob’s mutual friends in Chicago. Now, this upcoming week I am going back to Cambridge (a very triggering city because that was the last place Jacob and I ever lived together and the last place he was alive- but I have to take care of some Harvard related business). Then, I head to Montréal, a city I have already talked about being very important to Jacob in a previous blog post, I am visiting my fellow widow friend Élise, who I described in the same blog post. So my posts will be sporadic most of January and February. I will be back on track by March.
Anyway, I visited a close friend of me and Jacob’s in Chicago who we have both known for a decade. Traveling is so difficult but I knew I was going into a safe place. First off – we don’t make plans, he knew I would need a place to cry and tell as many stories as possible – he has so many qualities that are an extension of Jacob’s soul – he is a writer, loves cinema, knows the name’s of every actor like Jacob did, makes films like Jacob, has introspection about “what is the meaning of life?”, and the list goes on and on. One of the most beautiful moments was when he started crying and said “what you and Jacob had was so beautiful I wish I had that so badly. Just for a day.” I held his hand, but every time people tell me something like this I want to say “well, why was it taken from us? We were perfect together. Beyond perfect– we should have been married at a courthouse and had a small ceremony at my parent’s house with native flowers and twinkle lights like we discussed many times over. We should have had our four children – Eli, Ira, Heidi, and Luna. WHY WAS IT TAKEN? And why do all these assholes from high school and college marry total douche bags and get to have these things? UGH! Anyway…
One expression I am getting really annoyed at lately is something of the like – “I think that would be a good change of scenery for you” or “getting out would be good for you.” or “I am so glad you are taking this trip” (do NOT say vacation – none of this is a fucking vacation people). A change of scenery amplifies my grief – Jacob’s eyes cannot see these things. So when I go someplace, it is not only a gigantic step emotionally but it is not anything “fun” or “happy”. It is a goddamn chore to put it lightly. Grief follows you everywhere so it doesn’t matter where I go. I am not suddenly going to forget about Jacob and our beautiful life when I leave my bed. Nor would I ever want to, like I said many times, he is all I think about and all I want to talk about – always and forever. The last poem he wrote to me is tattooed on my arm for God’s sake. People are so weird (again, to put it lightly) in grief – you realize your friends don’t really care and isolation is so common for us. Luckily by removing toxic “friends” from my life, it has opened the door for new positive relationships, such as the fellow widows that have come into my life. Something else I have noticed, especially while in Chicago, is that being out in the world makes me realize how much I miss Jacob even more. TALK ABOUT SHITTY PEOPLE! Literally, when it was just me and Jacob- we could laugh at the idiots of the world, like Notes from the Underground. But now, I am left here. Floating around all these annoying, grotesque people with nothing original to say and nothing of substance. Ugh. And no sense of humor! They all take themselves way too seriously and don’t realize the importance of the present moment. Everyone just sucks. No one is Jacob. No one will ever be Jacob. That realization is fucking brutal. My grief goes from 0 to 100 in seconds in the form of sobbing, anger, and inability to move or speak. This is why I feel I can never live with the real world again. I don’t even recognize myself. Jacob wouldn’t recognize me…but I know he would understand.
I do things for Jacob like usual all the time. I was at a thrift shop and I bought Jacob three little toys I knew he would like. I had to. I just, I had to. I always did that, and I had to do it. I cried as soon as I left because I wanted him to be there with me, I wanted his voice, I wanted his touch. I heard him saying “Baby coos, I love these – I want them on my writing desk. These are perfect.” Being out in the real world is fucking tough and often, “a change of scenery” can do more harm than good (depending on where you are in your grief). UGH. How is life still moving?
So here is my advice to you – and I feel I am the last one to give anyone advice- let your grief lead you where it may. Don’t listen to people’s opinions on what you should do or how you should do it. You are a young widow – barely anyone can relate – so try your best to ignore those comments and when you can’t? Write to your loved one. I write to Jacob all the time. I talk to him all the time – because that was my life for so many years. Talking in person, on the phone, in bed, in the morning. ALL THE TIME. I cry to Jacob and hear his voice in my head every single day- especially when people say insensitive things to me. Because I know he would be so angry that anyone would be causing me any more pain. This is what you have to trust in – they love you more than anything, they are always on your side – just like in life – whether you believe in an afterlife or not – they are on your side. They love you. I remember Jacob once said to me, in tears, “I would die for you Kaitlin. If I pushed you out of the way of a truck and I died, I feel like my life on this earth would be so full of purpose. I truly believe that.” That memory makes me sob uncontrollably – every memory makes me cry – but he was so genuine and sincere when he said that. That was the depth of our love. Because when he said that to me, I had felt that exact same way so many times for him – I just couldn’t express it as beautifully as he could. He was looking at me and holding my hand and telling me how much he loved me. That was and is how deep our love is.
This is the second year of Christmas without Jacob and this year seems even worse, maybe because I was in such shock and denial last year – but the reality of a new life, returning back to school and living without Jacob is all starting to settle in. Kaitlin: you have to live and go on. Yes, the horrible reality of it all. But I think this treatment I have been going through is starting to help a little with my ability to process this “new normal” of my grief and my life going forward – but still, this year and I am not sure how many more in the future (likely very many)- fuck the holidays.