I barely made it through last week, but I did…because everything will always be “ok” right? I wasn’t sure what more could happen in one week, but here we are in a new week that seems to be dragging. Friday, I woke up from the worse nightmare I’ve had in a very long while since this disaster happened. I dreamt that we were having an argument, you left the house just as you did that morning…instead, you took your cell phone and called me as you were driving down the highway, but you wouldn’t tell me what direction. Suddenly, I heard a crash, I heard you scream….then silence, I knew you wrecked and immediately hung up the phone and called 911. You died instantly in the accident and as I was driving to the scene I saw your body on the far side of the road….as I was trying to run to you through weeds, dirt and gravel I woke up practically running out of bed. I was running to look for you in the theatre room to tell you I had just had a dream you died and it was awful! I made to the bedroom door before I collapsed on the floor and realized you really were dead and this horrible fucking nightmare was true.. I crawled back in bed and cried for a good two hours before Bella woke up.
Today seemed like an entire week in one day, time has suddenly slowed down and I woke up today feeling like I’m floating around not sure which direction I’m going in. I’ve been thinking a lot about your future lately, [that hit me on Friday], watching our friends graduate…it hit me hard that I will never get to see you get “hooded” and walk for your master’s degree; no matter how much you protested I know you would’ve ended up walking for us! I found myself stuck in thoughts about all the amazing things you would have done as a social worker, how you would have fulfilled your dreams of helping other veterans. It sent me into a whirlwind that stopped me……. I cried a lot during that ceremony and was grateful we were seated in the front row so that no one could really see me. I spoke with some professor’s, friends, and colleagues who wished us well and offered condolences for this tremendous loss.
Saturday came and it was my birthday and I wanted nothing to do with it. This time last year we graduated, celebrated my birthday and celebrated a memorable Mother’s Day. I could have never imagined one year later I’d be here, alone and trying to understand how this all happened? Some days it feels like you died a year ago, but it hasn’t even been six months. This is all so fresh still, this wound that I keep trying to stick a band-aid on keeps bleeding through and finding its way to make a mess all over the place when I least expect it….like driving to work, waiting for Johnathan on the playground after school, feeding the dogs…I’ve become an expert at crying and knowing when to control it and when to set it free.
Johnathan has started a countdown to California and the U2 concert, he keeps singing all your favorite songs and requests them every morning on the drive to school. He knows pretty much knows every word to every song now. Speaking of songs, Harry Styles has hit me hard….I heard his new single weeks ago! Loved it, felt the Paul McCartney influence and thought I was pretty cool being a Harry Styles fan…then I read that this song was about death. I went back and listened to the lyrics and fell apart……pretty sure that happened in the liquor aisle at the grocery store, go figure! Then I saw the video and felt a deep connection with you. No matter how much everyone has told me that you would want more happy in my life than sad, I still get so angry with you and resentful…I can’t help it…but dammit Harry Styles really hit me into an emotional mess and realization that what I think you would want for me is “stop my crying”. As angry as I am with this whole situation I do my best to pick myself up off the floor and work hard to make you proud! “I just want to get away from here” I trust that we will meet again somewhere….far away from here, together in another time and place, just not yet…I have too much work to finish first, too much work in your honor, to finish your work in this life is my mission. I am so deeply honored by the people who have stuck by my side….especially during my angry, ugly crying, can’t see through the pain kind-of-moments..
Josh, please, please, please, please watch over our son, protect him, let him know everything is going to be ok!!! I love you, I miss you, I want you Home.
For you, Harry Styles tonight….
I was 20 years old…you were 26 and then suddenly, I was 30 and you were 36; and that would be the end of our story. 10 years.
I haven’t slowed down one bit since you died. I continue to struggle to sit still for too long because we all know where my mind will wander and what that will mean. I can’t face it yet, not yet. Soon though. I had to book myself some time off to face it all and be surrounded by the people I love the most. I can hardly hold it all on until I make my escape and I’m constantly walking around telling myself not to cry…...just, not yet.
I kept putting this down and walking away, it’s even getting more difficult to write it out because as time goes on it just gets more and more confusing. Last night I heard your final words that night and I was more angry than I have been throughout this whole ordeal, I was angry at you, angry at myself, angry with everyone who was there that night and I screamed, cried, and cursed you on the way home…then I sat in my car apologizing to you. You were broken, you were injured, and I have to accept that in that moment that’s all you could see, that’s all you could feel. Thirty minutes before that sob fest in my car I was looking down at a long table and could feel the intensity building up in me and I looked over to a familiar face..…eyes red, welled up, and clenching tight. I knew I had to be strong, someone needed me to be strong….so many people need me to be strong – at least that’s the way it feels. Seeing that familiar clench and pain was too much to handle and I couldn’t hold it back anymore….the tears just fell and I couldn’t stop no matter how much I tried to hold it in. I can cry with most people I feel safe with and be ok…but then there’s your brother, Josh I can’t stand to see that pain it kills me, it fires me, it sends me into a chaotic firestorm of wanting to protect him the way you did. I know there isn’t much I can do, so I just sit there and watch it happen. What I don’t think many can understand is that before Johnathan your little brother was your pride and joy and continued to be so right along with Johnathan. When you spoke of Jonah your face lit up and you were the proudest big brother!
Again….I have to put this away, take a step away and not face this. But beyond me and the kids needing you, your brother wasn’t done needing you either. Only days older than me, I feel like Jonah is my little brother too, the way you would talk about him, want to protect him, get fired up with him, made me see him in a different way. I loved watching you guys play soccer together. Some of my best memories are sitting on that field with Johnathan and cheering you both on. You both were ruthless on the field, no one could break your wall and it was like you could read each other’s mind in those plays. Johnathan even remembers some of those nights sitting under the stars watching you guys play while he ran around the field yelling and screaming too. I know you wanted nothing more than the chance to finally play with your brother and I’m so happy you got that wish. I’ll never forget the final Gus Macker tournament either, I couldn’t even bare to watch you guys play. I remember that final year you guys played together; I even skipped out on your games because it was the most crazy, fun, energetic, and wild experience seeing you two on that team and it made me sick to my stomach watching the fearlessness you guys had! Always up for adventure together, it just doesn’t feel right not having your presence around us when Jonah and I are together….there is a huge piece missing here. There have been many times where we just sit in silence….like this is the part where Josh would chime into our conversation…..and it’s just empty.
Every now and then I scrimmage through a picture, or walk by him and there’s a facial expression, a smile, a laugh, an angry face…..or those red eyes and clenched jaw that reminds me of you and my heart just stops. I know you told your brother to take care of me and the kids, but I just want you to know Josh I will do the same for him, just as you did. All this hard work that I am pouring into this organization, scholarship, and other things isn’t just for me and the kids, our family…but your brother, that’s one of my main inspirations, my motivator that I CANNOT fail, I cannot let him down, I can’t let any one of us down….one of the BEST people I know (and that’s not an exaggeration)…and he did not deserve to lose you!
Dreams of you are suddenly becoming more common, they are starting to become good memories. But last night I dreamt something awful….of sitting at that long table, looking over, seeing Jonah’s face and I tried to say something to him but words wouldn’t come out of my mouth. I tried screaming at him “what’s wrong with you!? Stop making that face! What is happening!? Jonah stop!” His expression just became more stunned and fearful…I was afraid to turn around and see what he was looking at….I finally got the courage and slowly turned around to see what he was seeing ……and there you were……laying on a cold metal table, face up and I clearly saw a bullet hole in your chest. I felt the shock come over my body and I looked up as the medical examiner began to explain to us what killed you….I woke up in a panic and couldn’t catch my breath. It was the worst nightmare I have ever had. I struggled to fall back asleep and when I did it was the same scene over and over again....but a different wound each time…the entire night my dreams analyzed your entire body. I finally woke up at 4 a.m. from my final dream of being taken into a mental hospital; I’m surprised this hasn’t actually happened yet.
Above all I continue to look for you everywhere, I look for signs of you, sometimes I see a hawk and think of you (your favorite bird), other times, when it’s almost unbearable you send rain and clouds to comfort me….that’s my favorite.
Our song for the night, is for Jonah....and all our siblings.
I love you, I miss you, I want you home.