JACOB and his loss
I pressed rewind. Then I pressed play.
“A knife to the heart is the easiest, no doubt. It would take me only five seconds to walk into the kitchen to get a knife and then another two seconds to push it through my chest. Simple, fast and then over. The knife will forever tempt me, but the problem with it is that it would be messy. Too much blood and a possible nightmare for whoever finds me. They will forever see that picture behind their eyes. It will haunt them when they are trying to sleep. So I can’t do that. This unknown person, one that I will never even know who is… they are what is stopping me. Pills are, of course, also an option and I guess it would be the ideal one. The one with the least pain. I would take the right ones and I would take a lot of them. Then I would crawl under the covers and play my favorite song. Peaceful. Like falling asleep. A one way ticket to dreamland. The problem with it is that it would be too easy to figure out I was unhappy and I don’t want them to know that. I don’t want the people I love to blame themselves, wondering what else they could have done and how they missed something so crucial. So it really is only the ideal one for me. For others it could lead to years of second guessing themselves. So I have come to the realization that the best one would be a disease, or maybe one day I am lucky enough to have an accident befall me. I fall into a body of cold water and simply do not swim, nor do I call out for help. I just wait until my body stops fighting as well. Stops fighting to keep me alive. It succumbs to not breathing and it realizes it will never breathe again so why try. But there are few opportunities for that around here… Not a lot of water in this area, so instead I frequently pass the road without looking, but God has, so far, not been kind enough to me and given me what I want. Or he is kind enough to the rest of the people on the road and sparing them from the life they would have knowing they hit and killed someone. I guess that is good… for them at least. Maybe I should focus on that, the good side of it… But I can’t seem to do that, I just want it to be over, but with the least possible damage I guess.”
Why I played it again was a mystery even to me. Sure, hearing his voice again was like dreaming, and I must admit it brought me a level of comfort. I had been yearning to hear his voice again for many months now. But the words he said… a nightmare. Not a single second in the time since he died had I even considered that this was the reality he lived in. And I must admit I did not do it when he was alive either. He had always been the happiest man I knew. Always smiling, always making jokes, always being the center of the party and it was no party without him. His therapist - and it should be mentioned that I didn’t even know that he had one - contacted me a week ago. She had tried to contact me earlier to give me her condolences, but Blake had been a very difficult case for her and she didn’t know when it was appropriate. She also wanted to know if it would be okay to use the recordings and notes from Blake’s sessions in her classes. This way she could help future therapists like her, help future people like him. She had said there needed to be done some work on how to best help the people that are struggling the way he was and to do that they needed to get to know his struggles better. This was at least the highlights of what she said… I think. At that time I was in shock so my brain processed it very slowly and seemed to get hung up on the fact that there were recordings. I had proceeded to say that I needed to hear them, ignoring the rest of what she had said. I wanted to know what else I had missed when he was alive. She informed me she didn’t think it was a good idea, they were pretty dark and in hindsight I don’t think I realized exactly how right she was. But I didn’t become a lawyer for nothing, I could be really persuasive if I wanted to so I convinced her to send them to me and here we are. In the dark hole I dug for myself because I was desperate to get another piece of him. Hear his voice one last time. Hear him use “I guess” too many times in a conversation. Hear him one last time.
I remember one of the last days I was with him. One of our friends was having a barbecue and Blake and I had been looking forward to it for weeks. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to go by the lake and do a quick swim before we met up with our friends, but Blake had informed me he already had another appointment so we had to take separate cars to our friend. I remember a tingling feeling of jealousy, that maybe he had found someone else, but I came to the conclusion he probably just had a work thing. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, right? Yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. Now, of course, I wish I had investigated more back then, maybe I would have found out where he was actually going and I could’ve helped him but instead I had spent the day in an irritated mood until the barbecue. When I arrived there I had pretended like everything was fine of course, but I didn’t have to do it for long because the second he got out of his car with his smile, everything was actually fine. We were fine. I was loved and the fact that he could make me feel loved by just looking at me was his superpower. Yes, we were fine… I had thought. That day is one of my favorite memories with him. We laughed and kissed and we danced under the stars as the nigh crept upon us and the drinks started to set in. It was that memory I focused on when the loss hit me the hardest and I couldn’t sleep in the big bed alone. It was what kept me going, because even though we didn’t have the rest of our life together, the time we had was everything to me.
I wish I knew then what I know now. That he was never actually fine. I wish he knew he could talk to me. That maybe I could help him. I wish I didn’t miss him so much. And I hope to God he knows how much I loved him. Knowing what I know now, it makes me feel selfish every time I pray for him to come back to me. People always say “they are in a better place” and I never liked it, the best place is with the people you love so how could there possibly be a better place to be. But this was different. Blake was actually in a better place because this place was never good enough for him. He was too good for it. So how do I have the right to pray for him to come back? Just because I don’t like it here without him? Just because I want to make things right? I feel selfish, yet I continue to do it because I don't know what else to do. The only thing I do know is I am calling his therapist and agreeing to the use of the recordings and notes from his sessions. It was the least I could do and I know it is what he would have wanted. I knew Blake and he always helped wherever help was needed and his death should be used the same: for something good.
BLAKE and what he never had
“If you decide to take your life, how would you do it?”
I knew it was a trick question. It was very obvious. That is what therapists ask to see if you have ever thought about doing it, ever considered it. And it is a way to see exactly how much you have thought about it. How big of a part that question takes in your life. The easiest is to lie and say “I don’t know, haven’t given it much thought” and move on to the next question, but I didn’t do that. I pay for these sessions to get help and I had promised myself that no matter what, I would tell them the truth so they could give me the best help possible. The help I needed. If I was not gonna tell them the truth, I didn’t need to be here. I could be swimming with my husband. Which was honestly a lot more tempting right now and in that moment I regretted all my choices. But this was for the best, I knew that, because if I did get the help then this would not be my last chance to go swimming.
I finished the session and drove to the barbecue. Talking about your feelings is not easy and I was exhausted so when I arrived I looked in the little mirror in the car to make sure nothing was too obvious. I had dark circles under my eyes, but those had been there for a few days and they always believed me when I told them it was just school. Then I quickly - and might I add pretty smoothly - used that as a segway to talk about how school and writing my masters degree were going. It is funny how good a person can become at hiding a truth when necessary. But this time, when I smiled in the mirror, it looked fake. I stopped smiling and just stared at my pale reflection. “Come on, you can do this” I told myself, closed my eyes for a few seconds and oped them smiling. That was better. Not my best, but better. I got out of my car, closed and locked it, and then gave the command to my tired eyes to search for my husband. They found him rather quickly, but then again, they always did. Suddenly my smile was not so fake anymore and although still not good, I felt a little bit better. The rest of the day was pretty decent and after I got over the first part of it, it became one of my better ones. I stayed close to my husband because he made me feel at ease, and comfortable, and the most important one, loved. So in the end, to my surprise, I had a good day and I went home happy despite everything. The only bump in the road was the dread of the next day when I had to do it all over again, but with a little less happiness.
The next few days went on as I imagined with work and shopping lists and some tv. Dont get me wrong, most days actually do have some happy moments, it is just that the bad usually outweighs the good. The barbecue was an exception, not the rule. I love Jacob, with all my heart and I would not have lasted this long without him, but sometimes life is a lot and not even the ones you love can stop that. So when I drove home that night, at the end of the week, I was tired. More tired than I had ever been and I had not even done that much this week. A lot of the time I had just stayed in bed and stared at the wall. Yet, I was tired.
It was a beautiful night. The stars were shining, giving the little help they could, but no moon was visible so the darkness was unavoidable. The headlights gave an illusion of control, but in reality I could only see a fraction of what was going on outside the car. I made a turn to the right, then to the left. The road was familiar, I had taken it hundreds of times as it was the path home from work. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention. That is the problem with having done things a hundred times, you become complacent. Suddenly the familiar curve in the road came faster than I expected and I momentarily lost control of the car. I saw the headlights pointing to the right side of the road which only meant one thing: I was no longer headed in the direction of the road, I was heading straight off it. Then the headlights pointed to nothing but darkness. Then it pointed to a big tree. Then for a second they went out and there was nothing again, until I felt something hitting my head and I got knocked out.
After some time, down ask how long, I opened my eyes, but I saw very little. I saw a big tree trunk hugging my car and that the impact had popped the hood. I saw the soft outline of some branches stretching over it, reaching into the car like it was attempting to fix it to get it started and me back on the road again. I smelled smoke, although where it was coming from, I couldn’t identify. My head was pounding, my neck and back felt bruised and a shooting pain came from my thigh. I heard some birds calling out for their loved ones but mostly I heard my phone being the good servant it was and still playing the list I had put on for the drive home. Good, at least one thing had not been wrecked, I thought. I leaned back in my seat and reached for my phone. I struggled a little bit at first, but I let my hands follow where the sound was coming from and eventually found it. I unlocked it and stared at my husband smiling at me and I smiled back through the pain.
“I love you.” I whispered.
Then I changed the song to my favorite one, locked the phone and closed my eyes. I pictured my husband wrapping his arms around me and telling me he loves me too. The pain was not as sharp when I did this and I felt a little smile creep up on my face. This could be peaceful too I guess.
I knew. I knew this was my chance. You see, life is precious, I agree. But life is not for everyone so why waste it? Why waste it on someone like me? On someone who does not want it?