It is not uncommon for widows to spend days in bed. But I must tell you, I have spent most of the last year (now, approaching 15 months- Jesus, how can that be?) in bed. In particular the last 5-6 months I can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom and I haven’t been able to walk to the kitchen. I go to therapy … my psychiatrist once a month…and recently, this brain procedure… and those are about the only things I can do. I can’t even drive myself to these things. It is not out of a lack of “trying” or because “I can’t force myself” or because I can’t “just will myself out of it” it is because I am crippled by grief and in serious depression. The weight of grief has caused me to completely melt. I cannot move. It is like the force of a freight train is on my chest. The depression from grief (losing my best friend, childhood sweetheart, partner, soul mate, our unborn children, our future, and life together will ALWAYS be there… obviously). But this clinical depression has turned into the darkest cloud – the deepest hole – the dreaming of death…the hopelessness… the feeling of no reason to live. The guilt. This is debilitating. Yes, believe it or not, I am really trying to stay alive. Desperately. This is why I go to therapy twice a week, am on medicine and trying this procedure. This is someone who is trying, as pathetic as it may seem this is all I can do. That and cry…and cry and cry… write and talk to Jacob, and sleep with his ashes. Sometimes I really feel my only reason to live is to keep our sweet cat Abe taken care of…
I think of Jacob’s hands so often, how delicate they were, how long and beautiful they were as they stroked my body. The milky white color. I think of every part of him. I miss the deep emotional connection, how we were the only two to understand each other- the inside jokes, the cynicism, the silly nicknames and language we spoke and humor we shared. I think about how literally every person we encountered we felt the same way about – no one was absolved of being made fun of or joking at something they said. Never in a malicious way (well, only if they were an asshole) but always in a lighthearted way. We just didn’t need other people, it was just us and we loved it that way. I remember when we were in college, we were invited by our mutual acquaintance who lived in our apartment complex to a “Christmas get together”. She told us it would be really intimate. Jacob and I both thought she was
a little weird – but she was so nice to us – brought us cookies and homemade jams all the time- we couldn’t say no. So we went. And man, was it awkward. And no A/C either. Jacob was sitting on what looked like a pop-up parade chair found at a thrift shop as we were both using napkins to keep our foreheads from sweating. We both were listening to the most vapid conversations. But, the worst part was that we didn’t know it was a “White Elephant” party – you know, where you exchange gifts. We didn’t bring anything – nothing. We thought it would be an event with some soda, some beer, some snacks and that was it. So Jacob and I received gifts, even though we didn’t bring any. We both got these CVS blankets that were Christmas colors, we literally saw them the day before at the CVS on Call Street near FSU. I think we still have them too… Anyway, we felt bad that we got these gifts and didn’t bring anything.
Jacob and I later said, we didn’t feel that bad because we got the shittiest gifts ever. But, without bringing anything we kind of felt obligated to stay longer. Jacob made a joke about our friend’s (the one who invited us) boyfriend – he was from Norway and didn’t really understand the difference between college and university so he was wearing a “Tallahassee Community College” shirt. Jacob was like “Coo, did you see his shirt – what the hell was the deal with that? Why would anyone advertise that they go there? Jesus.” And Jacob went to TCC before he transferred to FSU, so it wasn’t an egoistic comment, it was just – really odd. And hilarious. “Go Eagles!” Jacob laughed later (The Eagles were the TCC mascot). The whole night was so bizarre. Jacob and I were incredibly eager to get the hell out. Finally, after three hours we got out of Dodge and walked back to our apartment. We joked about how weird the group of people was – one lone international student in the corner just staring at all
of us “I thought he was going to shoot up the place” we joked, a couple preppy girls that didn’t even say hello to us, a girl who was obviously a physics major and really into talking about her research, and a couple engineering guys talking about…I don’t even remember. Conduction? Jacob tried to make some jokes with these people but they weren’t exactly the type to get humor… I remember he even said, “Jesus, this is a tough crowd.” I would say that often in high school and he loved that expression. See? We used each other’s expressions and our vocabulary became one. Our reactions, our thoughts, everything became one. I remember Jacob said “Baby, I don’t think you realize how bizzare and amazing it is that we get the same songs stuck in our head ALL THE TIME.” It was really true. I would start singing a song and he would say, “What? I was just thinking of that song.” Or he would start singing a song and I would say – “Did you sing that before just now? It has been in my head all day.”
He thought that was so incredible. He would bring it up all the time. Just another sign we were twin flames – true soulmates. Our energy was the same – about everything and everyone. We not only felt completely understood by one another but comfortable with each other in every capacity.
Our society thinks that “happiness” is the ultimate form of success. I think that is bullshit- so did Jacob. I remember an extended family member said one time (a couple years ago) something like, “You are so young, you should just be happy.” I rolled my eyes at that one… because the truth is, life is fucking hard and full of suffering no matter what age.
And I realize that now more than ever before. There is no such thing as just a happy life. And you are setting yourself up for failure if you think that is the acme of existence. No one is getting out alive or without suffering. For me? Being with my childhood sweetheart, marriage, growing old together, a big family – these were the things that I thought were set in stone, of course they would happen – these were things that Jacob and I talked about ALL THE TIME. I remember Jacob looked at me in our Glenview House (the last place we lived in Tallahassee) and gently touched my hair and said, “I can’t wait to take care of you when you are pregnant. Pregnant coos will be out of control with her mood swings and cravings but I cannot wait to take care of you every step of the way. At 3 AM when you want fries and pickles. I love you so much Kaitlin.” When he used my name, I knew he was going to cry. He had “that look” which I have captured on video two days before he was taken from the world, “that look” of true love – that he loves me so much he cannot contain it. I know that look so well. I don’t want to experience life without Jacob. He is the love of my life – and always will be. You don’t get a love like this often – it is 1/100000 lifetimes kind of love we had. I look around the street and I see couples, bickering and fighting. I see mom’s scrolling on Instagram as their toddlers try to get their attention. I wonder to myself “why them? why do they get everything I wanted with Jacob and that he wanted with me?” I am sure you are thinking to yourself the same questions. I wish I had answers. I would have never dreamed of this miserable, horrible reality- which is why I stay in bed. Trying to stay frozen in time.
I miss the emotional, the mental, and the physical connection on such a deep level it makes my insides hurt. The kisses, the hugs from behind, the cuddling – literally every night we cuddled. EVERY NIGHT. We discussed everything together – from books to art to cinema to music (oh music…) to writing screenplays together to writing music together to playing music together to Jacob loving me so much he would clean my ears for me with q-tips every night – he loved to do it. He always said “Baby, I love taking care of you. Let me do this.” I mean, to everyday interactions to recipes to EVERYTHING for so long. This is why I can barely get out of bed. This is why simple tasks like responding to an e-mail, or a text message is like hiking up a mountain. It isn’t laziness. It is grief. It is depression. It is not wanting to be alive. I want his touch, his love, the sweet kisses on my neck, the showers we shared, the way he made me feel – the way he constantly praised me and the way I praised him. I want to give him the love and support I always did, the encouragement I offered without a second thought because he was the love of my life and I would do anything for him, and I want to give him the unconditional love I showed him and he showed me every day. I want our life back. I want our house back. I want our dishes back. I want our library and bookshelves back. (not in boxes, that is). I want to kiss the sweet freckle on his left ear as the sun rises. I want to give him a loving hug in the morning from the back because he hated mornings. I am telling you he was the most perfect spouse. We were perfect together. This is why I lie in bed all day. Not out of a lack of will – but out of a lack of will to live. Jacob and I loved Hank Williams – we have many of his albums on vinyl – the real Hank Williams – not this bullshit Hank Williams Jr. garbage. We played a lot of music together, which I have recorded some of it, thankfully – but only some. Jacob had the most beautiful voice (and I feel so incredibly grateful he shared his voice with me because he rarely did that with anyone). He could sing “I’m so lonesome I could cry” (listen here please) It is a very hard song emotionally and vocally to sing – and he could sing it perfectly. We loved to sing it together but he had to take the lead because I sure as hell couldn’t hit those notes. Jacob said Hank Williams was quite possibly his favorite voice of all time – Hank Williams and John Lennon. Anyway – getting off focus here, as usual – there is a line in the song…
Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves begin to die?
Like me, he’s lost the will to live
I’m so lonesome I could cry
I have lost the will to live – and I know exactly what he meant when he wrote this song.
Another reason not to feel bad about not getting out of bed – for me? Jacob. I trust that he loved me unconditionally and therefore, my lack of ability to function is something he would understand. Because he loved me and understood me more than anyone, he understands how devastated I am because we both lost our future. Jacob wanted everything I speak of – and we talked about it all the time. Heidi and Eli, our two little children. I feel that every tear and every ounce of pain I go through he somehow understands – I cannot explain it but I just feel that he understands why I cannot function because that is how much I love him, how much he loves me and that is how deep my pain is. He understands. When you are tired of insensitive comments that make you feel queasy, think about how much your person loves you. More than anything. They understand your pain and would never judge you for it – never in a million years.
I recently read an e-mail from Jacob from June 2013 – we were away from each other for a little over a month – and he was describing how he was so sad and in pain without me, he said in this e-mail that he didn’t even want to laugh, watch movies, or do anything without me. He didn’t want to get out of bed. He said he felt like he was in grief. After reading this the other day, I finally felt understood…5 years later, by my one and only – my twin flame – my spouse and love, Jacob.