(Hi. Crazy disclaimer. Proceed at your own risk. Words with musical accompaniment today. Enjoy.)
Where do you go to get away from ghosts?
Bye, bye, it's been a sweet love.
Though this feeling I can't change.
But please don't take it badly,
because Lord knows I'm to blame.
But if I stay here with you girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you'll never change.
I missed one appointment and a dozen calls. The song was on repeat and turned up so loud in my headphones that when Joel finally found me at 6:17 am still sitting on the floor of the pantry that Jacob built and finished (A place for everything, he said), he came inside, shut the door, squeezed in beside me and started talking but I couldn't hear him at all. He could hear the music easily.
I was sitting and listening and rocking and crying and shaking and not being strong enough for fuck all.
Last night Ruth began to cry. Huge tears rolling down her face, she admitted she missed Jacob so bad but she didn't tell me because she didn't want me to get upset and leave again. I rocked her for hours until she fell asleep and my arms and my head ached. I went through the motions of strength and togetherness and somewhere after that I realized that the hugs I get are sanctioned but they aren't the same. There's no one here to be strong for me and why not and it isn't fair.
I knew when I put the song on that it would hurt. Jacob sang that song so much it became his calling card and I knew it would hurt. I wanted to see how much I could make it hurt and I didn't get so far before a battle began to take shape inside my head. The masochist versus the crazy girl who won't remember Jacob at all because she's too weak. That masochist likes it. She likes to hurt, she likes to take risks, she'll chew you up and spit you out. She is alone but she pulls the weakling around by the throat. It must look very comical.
Joel made a move to get up and I grabbed his hand and he paused and looked at me and then sat back down. He sat beside me until it got very light out around the edges of the door and when the song ended next he took my hand and squeezed it and then reached up and opened the door of the pantry. He got up and led me out into the kitchen and PJ and Ben and Chris were sitting there reading the paper in sections and drinking coffee.
For a few moments I was very scared that Joel was going to surprise me with another needle, another trip, another long stay away from everyone I love but he didn't. He told me they didn't have to do that unless I started screaming again. That's when they know I can't process another breath. He said I was simply moving to a new stage of grief and there can be nothing better than acknowledging Jacob's life and admitting I miss him. He said with time it will hurt less the more I do it.
I said I wanted it to hurt the same, because I don't want to get over him.
He nodded and gave me a quick squeeze and left for work. Ben got up and came over and put his arms around me and told me he brought duct tape and he can patch holes but he can't fix them and that I am loved. That I'm not alone. That he's so fucking tired from staring at the pantry all night and now he's going to work and I owe him SuperBig. I started to laugh and then cry again and he looked down and said he'd come back right after work if I wanted and that he was sorry for the shitty things he said to me. I didn't say anything and his frustration flashed and then he quashed it and kissed the top of my head and left.
PJ went and woke up the kids to get them organized for school and Chris told me to go get some sleep. That I should talk to Ben. That I didn't have to hide in a closet to be sad, that I didn't need to hide at all and that he was headed to the guest room to crash for a few hours and I could either curl up with him or go upstairs to my room and sleep but he didn't want to hear a peep until at least 2 pm.
I nodded and came upstairs but I can't sleep. I don't want to take anything. I'm worn out. Why can't I just sleep? I'm soon going to have to post warning signs in front of my face so people don't fall into the sunken black holes that pass for the beautiful green eyes I used to have.
And so they know that I've managed to take the person I gave all my love to and reduce him to a 9 minute anthem from 1973, the world's most perfect song.
Jacob would be so proud.