The last week or so has been extremely hard. Not that any of the past 19 weeks haven’t been, but the last week has been over the top rough. I started thinking about the number 18. It was the number of years I got to have my son on this earth. The number 18 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word chai. This word means life. In Judaism, it is customary to give gifts in increments of 18. We give this to bless the person with a good, long life. At Jaidon’s bris, he received so many gifts in increments of 18. It was such a joyous time. 13 years later, at his Bar Mitzvah, more gifts in increments of 18. Then, on June 9th, he was taken. Why on the 9th? That is half of 18. Is there significance? In this time, everything that I know has been tested. My spirituality, my relationships with friends, co-workers, spouse, children, and other family members. For whatever reason, I keep coming back to “chai,” or life.
Well… life has been depressing. G-D forbid there is ANY downtime. Downtime means time alone in your head. That is not good. Downtime means wondering about different outcomes and wanting to trade places and trying to understand why the fucking universe hates you and your family. Some say we were dealt a bad hand. NO SHIT, worse hand ever. I should’ve been able to fold.
One of the things that I was not prepared for (besides any of this) was the times when I get so depressed, out of nowhere. It hits at any time. Sometimes it is quick, sometimes it sneaks up, like a lion stalking its prey. I go days, even weeks, putting on a happy face at work, because my mind is occupied, and then the minute I get in my truck, a tidal wave of sadness hits. I tried “being strong” for my family. If you know me, you know that means I only cried and sobbed a few dozen times this past week. I want to get on the phone and call, someone, ANYONE, but talk myself out of it and go to bed. I know that I can call most, if not all, of the people I know, but that isn’t the point. I will say, it is times like these that I can see how people become alcoholics or users and give up on themselves. It would be so easy to do. Fortunately, I have a close support system to help put those thoughts to rest.
Speaking of rest. This is something I have not been able to get a lot of. Why? It is simple, nightmares. Vivid, soul-scarring, terrifying, sleep paralysis nightmares. My nightmares are the same, except for two different endings. They always start off with me in the car with Jaidon and his friends. They can’t see or hear me, but I am there. I am in the back middle seat. The wreck happens. The first ending, the one that jars me awake, is when Camille looks at me and says, “Why won’t you help us?” Jaidon is crying and asking the same thing. The other ending, where I can’t tell if I am awake in my room because I have sleep paralysis is when Jaidon is screaming, “Daddy, help! Why don’t you love me enough to help?” Usually, at this point my eyes are open, but I can’t move. When I do move…I startle awake, sweaty and cold. I then see his picture and realize it was a nightmare.
This is my reality. This is my world. This is my exhaustion. It is nothing that anyone, except those who have gone through it, will understand. All I want is one more hug. I would give anything to hear his voice. I go to his place of rest and lay there. It is how I feel connected. It is knowing that I am close in proximity to him. I am blessed and cursed in knowing how he died. I am blessed with all of the outpourings of love we have gotten. But, I am also pissed off at the universe. I am pissed off at G-D, or whatever anyone believes in. I do not understand how we, a family that goes above and beyond for so many others and asks for nothing in return, got fucked over with this one. Then, I watch the news, or read it, and realize that it isn’t just us. There are so many others, and there always will be.
My journey in this is going to be a long one. It will be the rest of my life. I will never get over it. The time between the bad episodes will get longer, but I am sure they will hit hard down the road. Hopefully, I will figure out a way to be a little happy. Maybe Jaidon’s 18 years was the chai. whatever the case may be, hold on to those you love. Don’t let the little things run your day-to-day. It isn’t worth it. I will try to get some sleep. Maybe this is my way of getting it off my mind.