Now that we're all back home and the funeral services are over, we resume our daily lives. My clients call me in the office demanding things; friends leave casual chatty voice mail messages on my cell phone; I give the cat her daily medicine.
But I don't know how to go on after all this. I either feel empty or hopeless. My sister in law Ruby invited me to go to the movies tonight. I don't want to go. I don't want to do anything that is supposed to be fun. I don't feel like trying to have fun. I don't feel like doing yoga or mixing drinks.
When Jacob graduated from high school he announced that he wasn't going to college. He thought maybe he'd do a technical program at one of those schools that advertise on late night television.
His parents weren't happy. My sister called and said she wanted to send Jake out to stay with me for a while so that I could convince him to go to college. I said "fine." He came out, we had a blast, we talked about college every now & again. When he got home he told his parents that he was taking a year off, but that he would go to college after that. He did. He graduated with straight A's.
A few years ago my sister called to tell me Jake wanted to join the Army. She asked me to call him and talk him out of it. "He'll listen to you," she said. I never called. I figured he was an adult and able to make up his own mind. I also believed the lines they fed him and his parents about not sending only children into combat.
I wish I had called him. I could have called and said "Jake, I know you hate your job. I'm sending you a ticket to New York. Come stay with us for a while, take a break, do whatever you want. Let's talk about this Army idea." It would have been so easy. A phone call, a plane ticket. I didn't do it.
Then when we found out he was going to Iraq, my sister asked me to come for Christmas because he'd be home. I didn't go. I was having stresses on my new job, and I just wanted some time to myself. I could have seen him again. I could have given him a hug before he left for Iraq. Instead, I called him from a bar in Manhattan on Christmas Eve. I said to him "it will be ok. They'll just have you in an office over there." That was the last thing I said to him.