It's not all bad. There are wonderful things. Things that words cannot begin to give enough depth to. The way I was loved, for instance, is beyond words. But to have that taken away, seems to me, might be more horrible than never having experienced it. That's the negative side of my mind talking. I know I was blessed. I know how lucky I was. But it still doesn't seem fair. And that's because it's not.
Do I sound like two different people in this blog? Sometimes that's what it feels like. I'm excited about life, I'm positive, I feel lucky to have known such a love, I'm ready for the next chapter. I recognize my worth. Then other times I'm just sad. I miss my best friend. I feel like the rug got pulled out from under me. I can't help but feel some bitterness for the pieces left behind in the aftermath of an incredibly difficult time. All the energy -- physical, mental, emotional. In other words, I tried SO hard. And I know there was nothing else I could have done, but sometimes, it all seems so futile. So much effort. So much belief. So much hope. So many physical tasks, mental breakdowns, and so much unconditional love. So much beauty wrapped in so much pain. Wishing with every breath for things to get better. It was tiring. It overtook everything I did, overshadowed every thought. But then it was all over.
A few days before he died, Jon said he wasn't ready to leave me. He said he'd "be fine". He told me I could go to work and school and he would just wait for me at home. He said that was enough of a life for him. And it broke my heart to look at him and hear him say that. I would have traded my own life for him to have the chance for a better one. If I could have taken some of the pain, some of the nausea, some of the disappointment... if it meant he'd have one good day where he could feel good, and run, and play basketball -- I wouldn't think twice. And I mean that, even now. I wanted so much more for him, for the both of us. And we promised each other we'd never allow the other to settle. And there he was, dying, looking at me saying he would be content just to wait for me to get home from work. It was the end. I feel like we both knew once the words came out of his mouth, that there was no going back. I sometimes wonder if that's when he allowed himself to give up. In my weaker moments, I wonder if I allowed him to, and if it would have made a difference had I taken my usual "no -- you're going to get through this" position. But instead, I shook my head and let the tears flow.
There are things that nobody knows. There are flashbacks that pop up unexpectedly in my mind... things I must have blocked out. And I wonder how I'm still able to breathe. It's so silly, but there is so much guilt in my heart. When I was still working, Jon was my main concern...and I have such guilt for leaving him at home while I was at work. And so much resentment for not having been able to focus on anything but the intense anxiety over why he wasn't answering my phone calls or getting in touch with his doctor to figure out the next step. When I was out of work on leave, I was frustrated at how difficult it was to do everything. I did everything for him out of love, but I couldn't help but feel angry at the overwhelming task at hand. I think I was more frustrated at the fact that I couldn't fix him. It was pure powerlessness.
I learned to anticipate his every move. I could tell when a seizure was coming sometimes minutes before it would happen. I understood what he was asking for even during those horrifying times when his words didn't make sense. I would wake up the second I felt him stir during the night. I hooked up hydration. I heated up egg drop soup and easy mac. I washed him and changed his clothes, put his deodorant on, lotion on his skin. I cleaned and clipped his nails. And numerous other tasks that annoyed the hell out of him.
I remember one night getting so frustrated at him because he wouldn't answer me when I asked which ice cream he wanted. He would look at me and say "yea", when I called his name, but then not respond. At first I thought he was just being his usual day-dreamy self, but it occurred to me when I let it sink in, that he could not understand or formulate the answer. When he stopped commenting on sports games we were watching, I was terrified. I told myself it would pass. It was a side effect of the radiation. It was this, it was that... it was never the end. Until it was. And I tell myself I'm only human, but there are moments when I wish I could go back and be more patient, more loving. I know I gave him my all, though. I hope he knows that.
There are things nobody knows. How we talked about having "genetic all-star" babies. How we had secret hand squeezes. How we frequently told each other complete sentences with one look. How when I'd come home from work we'd "Team Shower" (sorry for any family members reading this -- TMI). How we always went to sleep spooning. How we ate Chick-a-rina soup at least twice a week. (Both of us grew up with it as our FAVE -- soul mates for real.) How we made fun of literally, everyone we knew... out of love, of course. ;) How our first fight was over face book. How he used to not like public displays of affection (that changed, real fast). How we said I was him with a vagina, and he was me with a penis. How we both said we wished we'd never met anyone else or been in any other relationships simply because they didn't compare. We'd say, "If I knew you were coming into my life..."
He taught me about basketball -- watching it, players, trades, March Madness brackets, and even how to shoot. We once played at the JCC after a concert event. We snuck off to the gym and I was in a dress and heels. When he was about to shoot, he stopped, looked at me with that look that always made me melt into a puddle and said "My girlfriend in tights -- there is a God." He taught me about The Beatles, musical terms (flat, sharp, pitch, etc), the combination of mayo & mustard = heaven, how to throw a football, how to wrap a wrap so it doesn't fall apart, Lox bagels, Mac computers, Photo Booth, beer pong technique. He showed me how to love unconditionally, how to be a better friend, how to fight without yelling (not great at that), how to calm myself after a panic attack, how to be a sister (seester). He taught me that lullabies weren't just for children.
There are moments nobody knows. Like the silly dances we'd make up in the kitchen while making omelettes. Songs about stick butter. Songs about windy beach days. Songs about balls and other things that would make 12-year-old boys giggle. I'll never forget how he looked at me the first time I got dressed up. Things like that are forever recorded in my mind.
Sometimes the sound of his voice makes me smile. Sometimes it makes me burst into tears. Usually a little of both. I wonder if and when that will ever change. And then I wonder if I even want it to.
I once covered Jon's entire bedroom door and walls with yellow post-its. Each one had a different inspirational quote, or phrase about love, or inside joke. I just wanted to reassure him that I wasn't going anywhere, and even when I wasn't with him, the post-its would do that for me. (They are still hanging). I could use some reassurance. At a time when so much has changed, so much has been broken. Every little disappointment seems like another loss at this point.
There are things nobody else knows. Things I will keep in my heart forever. Some I will try to forget, or at least remember less. I can say with certainty that I was lucky. I can say without a doubt, I knew another human being like he was another part of me -- an extension of my heart. But nobody knows what that love felt like. Nobody knows what that disconnect felt like when he was taken from me. I knew so much of Jon's heart. I wish I had a chance to know more of it. I wish I could have seen him on our wedding day, or as a father, a grandfather. Those are the things no one will ever know. And what I will always miss deep inside my heart.
Was I worthy of such a love? Of Jon? I'm not sure. But whatever it was that made him love me, I hope I still have some of it left. I know I carry him with me, and that's the best part of me. <3