Showing posts with label Jacob. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jacob. Show all posts

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Year Six.

There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.  ~J. M. Barrie
Two thousand, one hundred and ninety days in and things are evolving again. I would say maybe I'm slow to notice or plodding in my acceptance or so stubborn if you stood in front of a midnight blue sky in proof I would face you with clenched fists and an angry red face and insist that you're wrong, it's inky black.

Because that's how it's supposed to be in my head but every now and again the outside world proves me wrong and I need to step out of my brain and take note.

Lochlan has settled back into his alpha role in my heart, I think. He runs a tight ship, but he's unconventional too and he's somehow able to come up with his share without fretting, he just digs in. I know he worries but not outwardly so, the way I do. Ask me How are you? and I tip forward and drown you in emotional tea, without a lid or an acknowledgement when you say enough. I will pour until I'm empty and then turn around and do it again. He takes it. He's fashioned a snorkel in order to breathe, drawing in air from that navy-blue atmosphere and keeping us alive when some days I'm so determined to follow Jacob over that edge you would still be so surprised and most likely disappointed in me.

But I didn't and I won't and I keep writing to try and figure it all out and sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's comforting, sometimes it's maddening too and sometimes it's downright surprising.

And sometimes I wake up feeling numb and slightly removed and uncaring and that's usually the day after I've lost my mind and someone, and I think I know who, doles out one magical tablet but doesn't tell me, just stirs it into the juice he offers without actually seeming like he's monitoring me so closely and I drink it because I'm always thirsty and then I realize what he's done and I'm grateful. Grateful for the escape from a day that isn't ever easier to manage, not even six years later.

I know there are supposed to be timelines on grief and shock and improvements and fading of memories and moving on and I'm here to tell you that all of that is purely guesswork and BULLSHIT and it's a-okay if you're still in that moment that changed you forever because you're you and you do what you need to do, not what some expert tells you to do, chosen as an appropriate answer based on an average taken from people who are not you.

It's okay and I'll back you up on that forever. I didn't think I would still be able to generate as much complete and total hysteria as I did yesterday but PJ said he could have bottled it and run the whole point for years on the energy I put out for ghosts.

It very inappropriately made me laugh. That's okay too.


When I went out to the rock wall, Jake was there but he was so faded I could hardly see him. Maybe it was the weather or maybe he's eroding from my brain with time just like they said he would. He is disappointed that I have turned him into the holy trinity especially seeing as how he is was a Unitarian minister and sad that I am so miserable but also heartened that we have not self-destructed in his absence. What absence? I ask him and he laughs and shakes his head. Aw, Pig-a-let, you're so willful. I'm not sure I'm worth that energy you expend on me. 

You are. 

What would they say?
He nods toward the houses, gesturing like he's in front of an imaginary pulpit. There's a reason you have to move on, if you don't you get stuck forever. 

So what?

So, you didn't die, I did and you need to live. 

Fuck right off, Jacob Thomas. 

Mad is better than sad, Princess, but neither is better than glad. I return to my clenched fists and red face because I'm about to get into it with a ghost. I hated that saying. It made me feel immature and ungrateful. Which is exactly his point and so he grins faintly. I have to go. I'm not supposed to be here anymore, Pig-a-let, remember? I'm the anchor wrapped around your ankle and if you don't free yourself you're going to drown. 

You're speaking my language now aren't you?

Yes, can you hear me?

Loud and clear, Pooh. 

Go find your Peter Pan and plot the future. It's time to pick up that other fairy tale where you left off. The fucker.

It's not a fairy tale. It's more like a reject paperback from a sale table that no one wants to buy. Pulp fiction. Everyone picks it up but no one has ever finished it.

Bridget. (Oh there's the stern, serious face I loved so much. His eyes are narrowed, mouth turned down and set tightly, just waiting. He looks just like the Sundance Kid.)

I know. Anchor. Fairies. Books. Live. Future. I squint my eyes to focus but he fades completely. Before I turn to walk up to the house I know that if Lochlan is standing just at the edge of the patio, hands in his pockets, flicking the dry empty lighter over and over and over again that my future will be less obscure than I feel like it is sometimes.

I turn and he grins at me in relief because sometimes I think he thinks I'm still going to bolt when I walk all the way down to the end of the wall and stand there talking to the flowers that persist in growing out from between the rocks, appearing to be as crazy as I feel most days. I start the long walk across the wet grass to get back to him and I get the feeling that between now and Year Seven I probably won't see Jake at all. He's beginning to repeat himself, looking for different ways to get through to me. He's beginning to find his end.

That would be something. If I don't get to pick when grief ends but he does instead.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

One year.

This morning Ben woke up before me, put his arms around me so tight I woke up startled, and then he kissed me and smiled at me through equally glassy eyes. Sometimes it's a wonder we can see each other.

He said one thing.

Be strong.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Something I have missed.

Jake's beach house was always cool and breezy. He left all the windows open, all the time, so any time I would go over to visit him, I would know what music he was listening to, or if he was singing or just washing dishes, or watching a movie. The painted floorboards were always warm under my bare feet and the seagrass mat outside the door caught and held most of the sand that always threatened to take over.

Food tasted better there, you know that? Wine tasted fuller, spices were stronger and pasta had a better texture. Bread was airy and toasty. Chocolate, so rich.

His blankets were softer, his couch more comfortable and I could hear the surf from any point within. Looking out over the waves, standing in front of the wall of glass, wearing a bikini and a big shirt and having a cup of coffee was my favorite way to pass the time. Not watching Jake watch me. Not reading his mind on purpose. Not wearing watches, ever. Not thinking about the future or the past. Not thinking at all, mostly. Just spending time with the soundtrack of the white noise from the sea.

Friday, 24 October 2008

One voice, louder than the rest.

Thanks to last night, today is almost okay. I didn't think it would be.

If you've done your math or read here for any length of time, you'll remember that it was a year ago tonight that Jacob told me he was leaving us. And he never came back. Well, he came back the next day and took almost everything he owned and went very very far away and spent many days straight praying, locked in a hotel room overseas and the night before his 37th birthday he jumped off the roof.

We're not going to talk about that. I can't. I am peanut brittle and I can't handle more than the odd random memory or offhand comment. I'm so not ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.

Instead I'm going to tell you about the freezing-fucking-cold motorcycle ride I had last night. Ben borrowed a bike from a procrastinating neighbor who hasn't put his bike up yet and warned me to go and add as many layers as I could. Even chaps. I never wear the chaps he got for me. Well, not outside anyway. He likes many layers of protection on a bike. Just in case.

I thought he was nuts. Figured we'd be out for a ten minute tear across the city and back and then we could light a fire.


Ben drove for thirty minutes in the six-degree moonlight, until the city was a memory far behind us. And his wife was a Popsicle, clinging to his waist, head down, chattering teeth and all. He managed to extricate himself from me finally when he stopped the bike out by the fairgrounds. Across the road is an endless hay field, lit up with endless stars in a prairie sky that is so beautiful sometimes it makes living here almost bearable.

He put the kickstand down and took off his helmet and walked about a hundred yards into the field. Gloves and leather jacket making him almost invisible since he left the headlight on.

He walked back and opened his arms out wide, gesturing.

Is this the perspective you need?

I just shook my head. Defiant. Frozen. Still sitting on the bike. My knees were locked against it and my teeth were clamped together so they didn't chatter so badly.

He threw his arms back down to his sides and walked back to me and pulled me off the bike and half-carried/half-marched me out to where he had walked. He put one hand on the back of my head and one under my chin and forced my head up and then he let go of the back of my head and pointed up into the stars.

Where is he, Bridget?

In heaven.

Where are you, Bridget?

Down here. On earth.

Say it again.


Say it again, princess.

I'm on earth.

He can't run your show anymore.

I know.

You know but you're letting him anyway.

I don't know what else to do, Benjamin.

What do I always say to you when things get hard?

Take your own advice, then.

This isn't about me. What do I say?

Just be, bee.

He walked back out into the field.

Just be, little bee. Just let him go. Let the sad parts go and the mad parts and all of it. Let it go. I don't know how to help you. I want to and I don't know how. I can help with as much as I can and it will never be enough until you get to a place where he doesn't exist in every breath you take in. He's not your air anymore, princess, you've been breathing without him now for a whole year and there's a lot of years left that he won't be in. I just want you to take a full breath because Jake is gone and he isn't coming back and we're going to make a life here!

Ben was done. He got it off his chest. Maybe not so smooth anymore. Not eloquent, not articulate, just plain straightforward Ben as only Ben can be.


And it made perfect sense.

So when my brain revolted and exploded all in the next moment I was surprised to see the regret on his face when I fell apart. I went down on my knees in the dirt and let go of my helmet. It rolled away from me but I didn't see it because he was running to me and pulling out his phone and I very slowly keeled right over and everything went black. Dramatic self-preservation to the finest degree.

I woke up in PJ's truck, Ben saying he was sorry. Holding me close to his chest like a baby. Heater blasting in my face.

My head knows when it has had enough and between that and the rolling vertical blackouts I have had from all my higher-dose medication lately I'm now getting the walking coma I wished for for this very difficult time. True to form, I'll keep writing, it just takes that much longer to get out what I want to say.

And I've talked to a lot of people about time recently. How time is marked for me in terms of before and after, pre- and post-, individually, in Cole-time, Jacob-time and Ben-time. How in the blink of an eye you pass a milestone like a year and in that blink everything changes, absolutely everything.

Adapt or die, princess.

It wasn't Ben's voice I heard when I went down.

It was Jacob's. And something tells me I'll never hear it again.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Your demons live for me, Bridget.

Yes, Jacob, I guess they do.

This one gets a song.

Click here then just click on the song and it will play for you. You know how much Bridget likes her music. Just listen to it. Then come back.

Ready? Then here we go.

A year ago today was the last day. The last good day in which I was still completely blind to the fact that Jacob's savior complex had eaten him whole and I was blissfully unaware that the next day would be the worst day of my life.

(You think you want to correct me here, but you don't, actually, sorry. You think you know me but I'm here to tell you that you were wrong on that count as well.)

My best memory of Jacob rests in when I can close my eyes and in my head is a day two summers ago when we went camping as a group, the airstream weekend up at the lake. Jacob had about four beers which is three too many for him and he climbed up onto the roof of the camper and had a guitar passed up and he stood up there tipsily as anything, singing that song, singing his fool heart out in the sun. A pale blue t-shirt that matched the color of the sky perfectly which meant it matched his eyes. Threadbare jeans on the verge of falling apart. Wearing his wedding ring and the big watch that I now keep in the drawer in the bedroom in a box under my stockings because there is no piece left of it that's bigger than a dime.

He did that when he was happy, you know. He sang.
Memories, they wash my mind
Like the frozen rain
I am numb here but I can't forget the pain
Death was yesterday
And somewhere I have never seen
So never mind tomorrow
Tomorrow's never been

Saturday, 11 October 2008

I'll never hear your voice again.

With a rare and very innocent comment, I averted certain disaster a little while back. I referenced Nolan's farm as being a dedicated "Bridget and Ben" place, stringing together the fact that we pretty much fell in love, hooked up, got engaged and then got married there.

Good thing, that.

Because the guys REALLY weren't thinking when they decided they were going to have a memorial to Jacob put on the property, with Nolan's blessing because Jacob and Nolan were friends for years and years and Nolan misses him too. Only dammit, the farm now belongs to Ben and I as a safe and private place, not as a shrine to Jacob.

So thankfully the boys clued in and changed their plans and came up with the best idea ever. Remember Cole's bench? It's a bench with a small brass dedication plate welded to it, and it sits facing the river at the end of the walking path in a huge park about five kilometers from here. I picked it because it was close enough to visit and far enough to forget. I picked it because I don't believe in headstones or grave markers or cemeteries or granite reminders. I like functional, and subtle and simple.

Jacob has a bench now.

It sits perpendicular to Cole's bench and now there is seating for up to six people there at the end of the trail and it's funny because overall Cole and Jacob didn't like each other all that much and it's awesome because now when I take the kids to visit they will each have a bench to spread out on and they can switch now and then and everyone is happy.

And we got this present early because the evil one stepped in and pulled some strings so that we wouldn't have to wait-having a bench dedicated takes forever, never mind being able to choose a place that's already been chosen, so much and the evil one was also the one to point out I wouldn't be able to appreciate it in two weeks so may as well get it over with now and he was right and I appreciate the things he does, even though I wonder what price I'll pay later on.

Two weeks from yesterday will mark a year since Jake left and four weeks from now is his death-date and frankly I'm holding a grenade but there is no pin for it. It seems to be slow acting but who knows? I like the bench, I like where it is, it makes me laugh to see them sitting side by side, since I can count the number of times they did that in real life on one hand, since I was always wedged firmly in between them. I still am, in so many ways, and in so many other ways I'm not the girl that either one of them loved.

Thank you guys, for this gift.

Monday, 29 September 2008

And though it may cost my soul
I'll sing for free
Jacob, you're hilarious.

Really. This whole saving-Ben thing as a way for me to save myself is...well, it's genius. Fine line between love and hate, indeed. It's the exact same way I feel about you. Loving you desperately and hating your guts at the same time for breaking every last promise you ever made to me.

I kept mine to you. I'm still here. Still fighting my way uphill. Still making so much progress, finding footholds and grabbing weeds to pull myself along and then hitting a soft part and sliding halfway back down, screaming and cursing the whole way.

I've been hot and cold, cold cold cold, hot, cold and never in-between. I've been face-down in my own agony and floating on clouds I think I self-generated. I've known love and loss and more pain than death and still I have your stupid unrealistic, unwarranted hope.

Why is that?

Why, indeed.

I don't know. Say God if you will, if that works for you. Days like this where I can wake up and nothing much is different and the inside of my head is still a shambles and a shame too and yet I'm smiling.

It's got to be the mark of true insanity.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Fall for me.

We're great in small doses
I pronounce it.
You're satisfied loving me.
You're so proud of yourself and your disadvantage to me.
It's just something you love to say (and hear that you're uncommon).
The greater the dosage makes me mispronounce it to be.
You're dead inside of me.
You're dead inside of me.
But when you're alone.
And no one knows.
It doesn't seem to matter.
You're the same inside of me.
Outside this house the last of the cherry tomatoes are ripening on their vines, while the leaves scatter haphazardly across the stones and thread their way through the grass. The toys have been put away and a rake leans up against the wall beside the garage door, ready to do duty against the coming autumn winds. The skies are dark, overcast and grey, full of clouds that herald the colder air.

Inside this house the air is equally cold sometimes, our emotions scattered like the leaves, pills and therapies leaning up against the door like a rake to clean everything up, only we're never sure if we should use it as the leaves appear or wait until everything falls down and the trees are bare. Do it once, do it big.

That doesn't seem to work. None of it works and last night saw magnificent change once again as I was halfway to the airport in spirit. I swear I didn't want to go, I just thought Run, Bridget, run! But at the last moment we discovered a new kind of balance somewhere in the middle, somewhere between Ben's earlier attempts to do nothing at all in fear of being compared to Jacob and Jacob's ways altogether. Instead Ben found a Cole-balance. One that always worked, no matter what. The leaves always got raked and it was never a bit at a time or all at once, it was the just the usual magic that worked for Cole and worked for everyone else too and now it appears to be working for Ben.

We've had more than our share of struggles with this, with everything, with trying and failing to adjust to him leaving and coming home and being here versus being away and we seem to have picked perpetual fall to live in, with the leaves needing to be picked up all the time, but they never stop dropping. They block out the sun, there's so much here to gather but we rarely make headway.

It's a big yard.

We made some headway last night. We made a lot of headway. We figured out a great way to stay ahead of those falling leaves, just in time.

If there's one good thing about living in endless Autumn, it's that winter will never come.