The brain is the most complex computer ever made. It intuitively knows how to process my shit. Jacob turns 22 on Wednesday. His friends, cousins, and peers are graduating, getting jobs, getting married, and even having kids. He died 6 weeks shy of turning 21 on a cold, snowy morning. I don’t remember his 21st birthday. I was in a fog. At times, I still am.
I haven’t cried in a few weeks. This is the longest I’ve gone since Jacob passed. I am even somewhat focused lately. This isn’t me. I seek comfort. I seek the easiest possible solutions. Comfort seeking has been replaced by reserved indignation to my former self. So, as Jacob’s birthday approaches, how do I feel? I don’t know. My fog is slowly creeping back.
I don’t see Jacob much as an adult now. Visions of him harken me back to his earlier childhood. Jacob was never a normal boy. He was quietly confident without unnecessary hubris. I’ve been looking for myself since I was born. Where do I fit? Who am I to my innermost self? These are questions still in need of answers. Jacob was keenly aware of himself.
With knowledge of self, Jacob explored answers to much deeper questions. He wanted to solve the economy. He had a durst of self-will to learn about anything he could. Jacob loved to learn. It excited him. One night, as we sat in the hospital, he changed subjects quickly from sports to poverty. He recognized his privilege immediately. He knew how lucky we were to have access to education and wanted to know what he could do to help solve these problems. I gave him my own cynical opinion. “We are fucked,” I muttered. “The powers to be in this country will never allow systemic change. It doesn’t fit their narrative,” I said reluctantly.
Jacob wasn’t having it. I offered no explanation. My experiences offered weak opinions, void of hope. “Dad, that’s not an answer. If we all believe this then we will lose.” Another time, I was in one of my anti-Trump rants and he stopped me cold. “Stop it, dad. Just stop.” He said that hate doesn’t beat hate, it just adds fuel to a fire. He was right.
My brain is in full protection mode right now. While much of my family openly weeps now daily, I somehow remain calm. My focus is on work, my family’s grief, and my health. This is not because I am without feeling. I am not anxious for Wednesday. There’s a good chance that I will spend Wednesday crying. Perhaps I will lose my shit Thursday. Perhaps I won’t. Today, I can only be me. Today, I can only try and be a positive light for Ana, Naomi and my nieces and nephews. Numbness will eventually fade.
I am planning to blog Wednesday. I am planning to work and exercise. I am planning to spend time reflecting on Jacob’s light while sitting in a personal dark web of grief. Living in sadness is inevitable. How do I honor Jacob’s life? I need to live, first and foremost. He was clear in his message to us. He burned a torch that lights our paths. We must carry it!