I’ve spoken with very few people during the past week. The New Year was not celebrated nor was it a cause for dread. For years, we would take the kids bowling, drink sparkling cider and be home very early. I would stay up and watch Dick Clark’s “Rockin Eve” and be hopeful for the upcoming year without a plan. As the kids got older, we switched the routine to an early fondue dinner. We loved it. We loved being together as a family of four.
Our life is now different. We miss Jacob terribly and don’t need a Gregorian Calendar to control the narrative. I feel a much more connection, as does my family, to a Lunisolar Calendar of events, anyway. The Hebrew calendar makes more sense to me. My plan started a few weeks back and had nothing to do with either. My grief has no regard for time and place. With that, I think it’s important to review. This is entirely for my benefit today. I need to write without consequence.
I don’t remember last January 3. In fact, I remember very little during the first 6 months since his death. Birthdays came. Birthdays went. Holidays did the same. We were in a constant state of paralysis. At times, we are still. I leaned heavily on close friends and my family. Naomi, Ana, and I grieved differently. I can only speak of my own path. As inversely as we handled ourselves, we respected and loved the others’ journeys.
As the seasons changed, the universe was dealt more blows. One of my closest friends, Maxine was given the news her cancer was incurable and that she was going to die. We cried together. I was so lucky to be able to see her one more time. We laughed that day. We also cried. Max was close with Jacob. She told me how honored she was that he allowed her along his journey. I was honored to be part of hers. I miss our late-night chats so much. She had an attitude that is unmatched. I’ve never met someone more perfectly unapologetic. I miss Max.
I used to live a fantasy existence in every negative way. I would dream without action. Jacob’s fight has changed my actions and preparation. I met my friend Jackie during this period. On paper, Jackie and I shouldn’t be friends. She went to MIT and either Princeton or Stanford. I’ve been a serial salesperson. She’s a published author and was a consultant with freaking McKinsey. We live on completely different sides of the city. We became friends because of our own journeys with cancer. With all these “differences” we’ve become dear friends. We share the two biggest similarities that are needed by humans: Love and Empathy! With these two things, anything is possible.
Assessing life and filtering my exposure to nonsense has been ongoing this year. I am not immune from politics and Covid. I am not immune to fear. In fact, fear as run my life for years. So, the year that I decide to really face it, my son dies, and we have the Trump/Biden nonsense. I was affected. BIGTIME. I am still affected.
This past year has allowed to assess my life. What is truly important to Brandt Butze? Foremost, Ana and Naomi. Naomi has a way to just get shit done. She is our glue. I get frustrated with myself for my delays. Naomi teaches me so much. I just want to be better everyday for her. Ana has a view of this world that everyone needs. She’s optimistic and real. I want to improve and for them as well.
2021 was about survival and ONLY about survival. I still want to thrive in life. That hasn’t changed. With that, separating real from bullshit has become paramount. I am sad every day. I am working to not let my grief paralyze my actions. I made Jacob a few promises before he died. I looked him in his eyes and told him we would be ok. I told Jacob that I would lose weight. I told Jacob that we’d love life. He wants Naomi, Ana, me, and the rest of us to love. Love life. Love One Another. Be the change we want to see in others. I keep my promises.
I’m sad today. I’m a little angry at myself. I need to acknowledge this. I need this acknowledgement so that I can recognize and change. Tomorrow, I will lay out a few goals. I have personal and financial goals. I also have a “pipe dream” goal that I want to make a reality. I wish I could hug Jacob today. I wish I could hug Max. I wish Jackie would just be fucking cured already. I wish I could take away Naomi and Ana’s pain. I need to work on my own pain, my own journey and just love them!