As I have mentioned, Jacob was a wildly talented poet and writer – he left me love notes and love poems all the time – usually on his typewriter because once I got him that thing he just fell in love. In a genuine way of course – never pretentious. Even our cat Abe got excited when he would hear the “clack clack” of Jacob typing. He would come to lay on Jacob’s lap and try to play with the paper and tear it. I remember Jacob always saying after about two minutes “Abe – stop it! Coo, can you get Abe out of here? I love you buddy but you have to go with mama for a while.”
I would get most poems from his typewriter in the later years (2015-2017), but declarations of love and little messages filled with beautiful and silly phrases or inside jokes I would get usually in his handwriting. I have these in separate plastic bags to preserve them and read them often. I talk to him every day, I cry and read to his ashes- stories he loved, poems he loved, poems I have written about him and talk to him about our memories-every night. It isn’t an option for me – even while living together for 7 years we would talk on the phone 15-20 times a day (no joke.) Since he died, I have to talk to him, every day – many times a day. It is all I know.
We were so in love, it is beyond any words I can construct. I will always be in love with Jacob. And what I try to remember when I am in the darkest of places is that Jacob loved me so deeply, and of course, that is why this pain is so all-encompassing. Grief is as big as your love is. But no one can take away our love from me. Never. In my whole life – he is my soulmate. Forever. He used to tell me- “Baby, I don’t think you realize how lucky we are- no one has a love like ours, no one. You are extremely lovable but let me tell you – no one could ever love you as much as I do.”
I would always cry and tell him how I felt like the luckiest girl in the world that he chose me to spend his life with. So much of who I am and the only parts I like about myself are from Jacob. Because we were so young (7th grade) when it all began, all of my personhood was influenced so heavily by him. He would recommend books, films, music and I would print out our AIM instant messenger conversations and devour anything he suggested immediately. I remember one time, I was so obsessed with him in middle school I had an alert on his screen name (you remember those right? His at the time was johnsmassacre960 – his 8th grade band’s name and anewkindofarmy60) – so anytime he would “sign online” I would hear a loud cashier sound from my speakers from the other side of the house. Literally, I would wait around all weekend for him to sign on – even if it was only for ten minutes. I would call off plans with friends just to stay home on the weekends and wait to talk to him.
I remember he said when I was 13, “Is it alright if I call you babe?” and my heart was pounding. “I said, of course!” ( I printed out this immediately and hid it in my journal for years.) And so, from then on – even while he went onto 9th grade and I was still in 8th – he would leave me messages on AIM instant messenger that always started with “Hey babe- sorry I missed you, I will be back on in an hour can’t wait to talk to you.” I didn’t even have a cell phone at this time – I got my first one in 9th grade, and I remember once I did we would talk for hours and hours – I could listen to his voice forever. Jacob had the best voice – in his college speech class (>150 students) he was voted as the best sounding voice. But before high school, we would talk on each other’s home phones when we were in middle school (I still have Jacob’s childhood home phone memorized). It was very cute, he always told me “you are the coolest girl ever, you wear converse shoes to Catholic School and have a Warped Tour patch on your backpack.” That was his way of saying I love you at 13. I never knew anyone to be as genuine and unique as Jacob, and at that age, it completely changed my world. How lucky did we get? Seriously. Now I am remembering… In the early stages of our relationship (age 12), I would call his house and hang up – too nervous to say anything – I also had my older brother drive me by his house before I was ever invited or allowed to go in middle school – just so I could see it.
This is a part of why my grief is so piercing and hacking away at me – we had such a rare love. There was no “honeymoon stage”, every day was beautiful. Always. Literally, two days before Jacob died he opened our door and danced when he heard me walking up the stairs saying “My baby coos is home! I have a surprise for you, I made us dinner!” He often did a little dance
when I got home. This was our love, so unique and so unlike anything I had ever known (we had ever known) – even my dad told me shortly after Jacob died and often repeats this to me, “In my entire life there has never been a better couple, including your mother and I, than you and Jacob.” We always cry together when he says that. He means it with all his heart.
Jacob and I – well, our souls were and always will be connected with the intensity of a raging fire – little tidbits of information I know from him run in my head all day long (from Shawshank Redemption being originally a short story by Stephen King or Leadbelly getting released from jail because the guard
was so moved by the sound of his singing voice…) and I think of small jokes he would make while washing the dishes or folding laundry. All the intimate moments only I know. I record these memories all the time and some of them I share with my mom because she is always there to listen to me at any time and she wants to hear Jacob’s voice in my stories. She is grieving her son-in-law who she loved so deeply. But no one knows of your day to day life, except you and your partner. So she wants to learn – she is curious and always wants to hear a new story or memory of Jacob. My dad also hears Jacob and will often say in the mornings, “I hear his voice every day – his inflection, his laugh. Every day.”
Anytime I feel like someone is making my grief worse, bringing me down, saying hurtful things, suggesting I take up a new hobby, putting on a show like they are grieving more (ugh, fuck you.), acting like they knew Jacob more than me – his soulmate (I just laugh at that one), saying stupid shit, telling me I need to “snap out” of losing the love of my life, telling me it has been one year and it is time to “move on”, suggesting he loved me less than I thought (yes, someone said this to me- total liar and piece of shit, but still hurt like hell that anyone could be so cruel) -basically, anytime I feel like people are saying things that Jacob would detest anyone saying to me– things that just make me want to run away and cry into Jacob’s arms and have him protect me, I read his words. Because they are from him. They do not lie. I know the truth. He knew the truth. I have that in my heart, but I also have it through his beautiful words. I just re-read a card he gave me when we graduated college- he wrote me a long letter and I want to share a part of it that always reminds me just how much he loved me and how lucky we were to have found each other. “… In the end, I just want to say one thing: thank you for your love and support through these trying years. Without you, this experience would be meaningless. I love you with all my heart and soul. Because of you I can smile easily, and mean it every time. Thank you again for the best 4 years of my life. I’ll never forget them. With all my love, Jacob.”
I have included one of the last poems Jacob ever wrote to me. This is hard to share but too beautiful not to. I am going to get it tattooed on my arm, I am not a tattoo girl but I want this to always be with me. More like a memorial. A reminder every day of how much we loved and love each other. And that is never going anywhere.
The hardest part about this poem is that we were unable to share a lifetime together in physical form… which is all we wanted – marriage, family, growing old together, many cats… I couldn’t wait to see him become a famous writer (I always told him “I just know it. I feel it. I know you will be a famous writer – you just wait and see.”) He would then smile this cute smile that meant, “Really? She thinks so… maybe I can do it.” I remember all his different smiles. I truly felt like my purpose on this earth was to financially and emotionally support him so he could take the time to get a body of work, publish and become the amazing writer (I always knew he was) but for the world to see, recognize, and be utterly changed by his talent. He had the type of talent that could change lives. But the hard truth of the last poem he ever wrote me is that I will share my entire lifetime with Jacob, that will of course always be true, just not in the form I want. Which fucking sucks. Not in the form he wanted either. We both loved our life together. We both wanted children. We both wanted to grow old together. We both lost our life together as we knew it and our entire future…and I just want to go back in time.