Jacob was the ultimate teammate. He was the quintessential friend. Jacob was honest and true to himself. He demanded the best of himself and those around him. He did it without judgement. Jacob was never an elitist, even when I would act as such. He was selfless in the best ways, knowing first, to take care of himself to better serve those around him.
I am struggling to thrive right now without him. Dreams of Jacob have swathed my daily thoughts. There have been times I haven’t been able to dream about Jacob. As part of my pre-surgery prerequisites, I had to do blood lab work. I’ve had a recurring dream that I’m getting the same diagnosis as Jacob. He’s alive in my dreams. He looks healthy but is dying. As I try to reach out to him, something happens, and I cannot tell him.
I don’t interpret dreams. It’s great that he and I have dialogue. This is what I miss. I still talk to him daily. I say hi to the hanging pictures in our house. I visit him at the cemetery several times a week. I do plenty of talking in real-life. My dreams are the only place I can hear his voice. We have recordings of him talking but I cannot bear the thought of watching them.
Naomi has spent the better part of a week cataloging photos. Photos of Ana and Jacob. Photos of us all. Some of these pictures make me happy. Most are melancholy reminders of Jacob. Reminders that he’s gone. I remember calling my sister-in-law Becky and yelling at her. “I cannot lose Jacob. No, I cannot fucking lose this kid!”
Regret is real. Regret is also extremely unfair. It doesn’t bring Jacob back. We did all we knew we could for Jacob. His caregivers gave it their best efforts. I know this empirically. My conscience, however, is telling me I should have done more. No amount of well-wishing helps. No amount of anything helps when I’m living with this angst. Jacob died at 20. It makes no sense.
I don’t feel warm and fuzzy. I feel trapped in a body that is too big. I’m being held captive by sorrow and regret. Hope is fleeting today. Jacob was a healthy 18-year-old who graduated high school with insanely good grades. He was respected and loved. He gave of himself. He didn’t give a thought to his image. Jacob cared about doing right. He cared about having fun. He cared. This world didn’t.
My feelings are fleeting. Tomorrow I will wake up with hope. Tomorrow I will wake up with a better acceptance of Jacob’s death. That is the goal. Today, I’m anxious. Today, I’m fucking sad. Really fucking sad. I need to do exactly what is right in front of me. Go back to basics. Plan, and do the next right thing. Stay the course, Brandt.
There is hope. There’s hope because I am sober today. There is hope because Jacob is shining the light on my path. He shines the light for us all. In theory and ideology, I believe this. It’s hard for me to see it. Some days are better than others.
Here is my short-term plan for a better tomorrow:
- Go visit Jacob
- Take a brief walk OUTSIDE today at the cemetery
- Make a plan for tomorrow TODAY.
- Stick to my plan
- Write 10 “thank you” notes. I am behind on offering thanks to those who’ve helped us
- Go to bed at 9PM
- Wake up tomorrow at 7AM
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