So, the three of us spent the end of the week camping at Jalama. We’ve done this a half a dozen, maybe ten times before… the memories run together. We went up there with my mom. We went up there with Marquita’s parents. We’ve gone up there alone, and then several times again as the boys were growing up.
And so this was the time we went there without Ethan. I remember him learning to ride a bike there. I remember a very young Ethan when we first got Shasta, our husky. And there were many memories encountered this week… Driving on the road. Talking about music, playing Uno, eating a world famous Jalama Burger, or staring into the flames of a campfire.
This is my last week of freedom before returning to work and it was good to be in the unpleasant winds, or walking down the beach, or setting up the new used camper… so it was a really good experience. It started strangely enough with me destroying the door of the trailer against the front of Marquita’s car. I left it open and then moved it forward so I could get the other car and drive and get a box. Two of the three hinges were ripped off and the screen door was utterly destroyed. I was however able to clear off the broken screen and bend the aluminum hinges and frames enough to rivet the door back on and get it working.
So let me tell you about grief. It is about memories. It is about pain. It is about missing someone. Longing, wanting, missing. More than anything else. You think you’ve gotten through the worst of it… and then you are right back there. But I tell myself that I am healing a little every day. Getting stronger with every step.
It’s also a feeling of betrayal. Cosmic, karmic betrayal- that feeling that I did everything I was supposed to do and so did Marquita and we frankly don’t deserve anything like this. This feeling that this is a mistake. That God simply got it wrong… is unshakeable. But this is a real as it gets. This is what life is and overcoming what trials and tribulation… that is the challenge.
Fear? Fear of more loss. Fear of losing anyone else close. Fear of losing myself. Fear that joy is always tempered. That this will never change. Fear of hoping. Fear of being too timid. Fear of mistakes.
People know about anger… but anger really is different. Angry at Ethan. Angry at myself. Angry at God. I think those are expected. Angry at random strangers. Angry at things. At the relentless blowing wind. Impatience. Easy disgust. Indignant injustice. That questing which is (and excuse the profanity) easier to say now:” why the FUCK is this prick alive and my son dead?” Pretty much anything from someone cutting you off, to someone proudly announcing their stupidity on facebook, “Why are YOU alive?”
And so now I have to find some way of getting back to being a teacher… to being back in front of a class to teach history to a bunch of kids who have failed at almost everything. And right now I could probably use another month of this… maybe another year. I can’t just sit up there in front of the class and cry. I can’t work on my own schedule. Neither can I stand there thinking or worse, saying to some kid, why the FUCK are you alive? I have to find a little more strength that I don’t have to be overwhelmingly optimistic and to give of my self to others when now it seems that I have lost too much and have nothing to give.