After a particularly hard stretch of emotion, I sat back and tried to remember the “good days.” Those days when everything seemed to align with the plan. The days when I felt peace. The days without any financial insecurity, food was plentiful, my relationships flourished, my health was without concern, and my family was healthy escape me. I know there must have been a sweet spot somewhere. There must have been balance at one time, if even momentarily. There was not. This isn’t to say that my life hasn’t been or isn’t wonderful. I’ve helped raise two special souls, and I have a wife who likes my presence. Well, mostly. I am lucky.
In the 631 days since Jacob left, I’ve run the gambit of emotions and thoughts about the world in which we live. I’ve questioned G-d’s existence. I’ve lost faith in humans while gaining faith in humanity. I am tired. I. I. I. Discovering beauty in previously unnoticed objects, has been exciting. This is paired terribly with finding ugliness in materials and people. This has led to one awful current truth.” Life isn’t about everything working in sequential perfection. With that, it’s nice to have as much going well as possible.
I cannot recall the “good days.” The times when Jacob and Ana had little cares escape me. I have pictures proving that the events happened. There were times when Naomi and I, both, loved our jobs and companies. There were times when enough fell into place and I felt that my life plan was working. Then, in April of 2019, our world crashed for the first time. Life is broken into chapters, but this felt different. It felt and feels as if the original book was burned along with those memories. I have vivid memories of the early days in the hospital. I can remember every minute of the initial appointment. I remember the walk from Taussig to G111. I remember.
The shortest chapter in our book was in December of 2020. We were told Jacob wouldn’t make it. As much as I know I shouldn’t, I replay every second of that chapter with regret. What else could I have done? Did Jacob know how much we loved him? Did we make those last moments special? These are questions for which I don’t need reassurance. Intellectually, I know these answers. I know he knew. It was confirmed in his actions and words. It was confirmed by the way he lived in those moments.
The most recent chapter(s) is entitled, “What Now?” For this, much more will be revealed and recounted. What vexes me now, however, is remembering and embracing the earlier chapters. Days and years when we had bliss. Days and years when Ana could lean on her brother in the present for counsel. The Good Days! This escapes me, as if I were a victim of amnesia. I know they happened. I was there. I have pictures proving this. How do I recall without feeling isolating pain? This question is slightly less rhetorical.
I am in multiple therapies to gain understanding and acceptance while remembering the good days. My iPhone camera roll plays out this book in multiple chapters. Hockey games we attended are followed by Broadway shows and vacations spent loving on us all. Once, before seeing Hamilton in Chicago, Jacob looked at me and told me he was meeting up with his friend Gillian from middle school. He told me she lived in Chicago and was in the city. He jumped in a cab and met us just prior to show time. I know it happened. I do. I just don’t remember much else about that. But. It. Happened.
I am sad. I am confused. I am a lot of things. What I want, selfishly, is an unadulterated memory of the “Good Days”, if only for a moment.