AnniPotts, Big Brother, Blues, bumper sticker, death, family, Feminists For Life, gifts, grief, I miss you, Indy, Isaac, Jacob, keep holding on, music, pro-life, return to normal, Sae, survival, Swing Club, The Absent-minded Professor, The Duchess, The Young Queen, Theology of the Body, Vanya
I think my brother has been sending me gifts. Some of them have been very big (for example, I’m driving his car right now), but some of them have been these tiny little things – things I’ve been wanting for a long, long time, but had pretty much given up on ever finding. One of them is a song. At the very first (and only) blues workshop I ever went to, back when I’d only been dancing a few months, one of the songs the instructors played kinda got into my bones and made me want to dance. I loved it, but when I tried to find it later I couldn’t remember the lyrics accurately enough. Every lyrics search I tried came up empty. I tried singing what I could remember of it to other people, and no one ever had any idea what it was. I was starting to think that I had imagined it. Every once in a while I’d remember and try again, but always came up empty. Then a week ago Friday, the first night when everything happened, I was in an auto supply store picking up more transmission fluid for my car. While I was in there, that song came on the radio. I couldn’t believe it. It was the first time I’d heard the song in, what, three years?, but I knew it instantly. This time I listened as hard as I could, and as soon as I got to a computer, googled the lyrics. This time I found it. The song is The Jack by AC/DC.
There’s also this bumper sticker I’ve been wanting for years, one saying simply, “Eve Was Framed.” I saw it on the bumper of Jacob’s ex-girlfriend’s car back before they started dating, and immediately thought it was awesome and hilarious. It appealed to my theology geek side, which likes to reason out the theological implications of random things, and my Theology of the Body loving side, which likes it when people point out that when Eve took the apple, Adam was standing right next to her and didn’t even try to stop her. I wanted to put it on the back of my car along with my “Question Abortion” and “Women Deserve Better Than Abortion” stickers from Feminists for Life, and the “Angry? Need A Weapon? Pray the Rosary!” sticker I picked up somewhere. I thought that would put it in proper context, and also possibly thoroughly confuse people. This would be an added benefit, since I hate it when people assume they already know what I think about things. I asked where Jacob’s ex-girlfriend had got it, and she promised that she would get me one. I know she tried pretty hard on a couple of occasions, but somehow things never worked out. After a while I let go of the idea. Then on Sunday I was in Yellow Springs with The Young Queen, and I walked into Sam & Eddies, and there it was! The bumper sticker I’d wanted for five years and had never been able to find, right there on the rack in front of me. So now it’s on the kitchen table, waiting for me to decide what to do with it.
It’s so sweet to have these things right now. As rough as the past ten days have been, I think we’re just starting the really difficult time. This is when we separate, go our own ways, and start trying to get back to something like normal. AnniPotts flew back to South Dakota this afternoon, The Absent Minded Prof. is on his way back to OU. Indy and the Duchess are driving back to Philadelphia tomorrow. I think Big Brother is heading back to Korea tomorrow too. The family unity that has been such a pillar of strength for all of us is – not dissolving or disappearing, but maybe becoming stretched out again over distance and different time zones and different lives. AnniPotts was talking about trying to figure out what she’s teaching her Kindergartners this week, Sae is trying to figure out how to go on living in an apartment that no longer has Jacob in it (they had been roommates). I’m going back to work, rejoining my various communities. I’m teaching the UD Swing Club tonight, the first “normal” thing I’ve done since I got that call from Indy a week ago Friday.
At the reception after Jacob’s funeral, Isaac‘s mother came to find me. It’s been such a comfort to me these days to know that she and the rest of Isaac’s family have been thinking and praying for us. I’ve been thinking about them too, as I’ve been going through these days, realizing that this must be something like what they went through last May. I take a lot of strength from knowing that they’ve gone through this ahead of me, and that, well, they’re still alive. I told her this, and we talked a little about our respective loved ones, and then about what it takes to survive something like this. In the end it comes down to (and I know I’m cribbing from Sleepless In Seattle) just waking up each morning, breathing in and out all day, doing whatever comes next, and letting yourself feel all the things you feel, whether the sadness that hits you so hard it’s like a fist punch in your gut that folds you in half, or the laughter that takes you equally by surprise. You just keep hanging on through the whole crazy roller coaster ride, through the days when you’re just fine one moment, really not fine the next, and then fine again the moment after that. It never stops hurting entirely (and you don’t really want it to stop hurting, because that would mean you’d forgotten), but one day it doesn’t hurt so bad. And one day you wake up and you realize that you’re on the other side. You just gotta hold on until you get there.