A year ago, the world fell out from underneath me. You see, a year ago I found out that my best friend died (on the day before).
It’s been a strange year. One filled with sadness and a lot of anger. A lot. I’m not an angry person, but this had me shouting to the skies because I was so mad. I’m still angry, but I suppose a part of me always will be.
There is no making sense of it, that much I know. Jerad was a very private person, and while I was one of the closest people to him, there are so many things that I found out after his passing that it made me doubt whether I really knew him at all.
I know that in my long post about the hospital stay I urged anyone who reads this that’s been putting off going to the doctor, or who’s been unsure about whether or not they should mention past health issues- do it. All it took for me to get on the path to answers was mentioning the right symptom, which led to the right test. It pains me every time I think about the fact that if he’d just mentioned his pancreatitis in the past, it probably would have been caught in time. (And honestly, if money is keeping you from running tests- find something to sell, find someone to borrow money from, work out a payment plan. It might be embarrassing, but it also might save your life)
I’ve grown closer to my little sister- my first best friend, and still one of the few people who gets me on every level. I wish it hadn’t taken his death for us to be friends again, but I’m thankful that I have her in my life again- even if she’s half a world away. Bawk bawk, seester.
I’ve learned a lot in the last year, about myself. I realized that I am a loner, but not by choice. I had to confront a lot of anxiety attacks in the days following Jerad’s death because I’m completely freaked out by unfamiliar situations. I was fine after my grandfather’s funeral… I had two little kids, so I got to focus on them. This was the first time I couldn’t hide behind them.
I outed myself as a procrastinator and I’ve been trying to do all I can to be a writer working on a regular schedule. It also seems like what he would have been pushing me to do anyways. (Seriously people, if I was sitting online all day surfing the net, I’d get chat messages telling me that I was wasting my gift. He tried- just like I tried to push him, too. Turns out he was just more stubborn than me.)
It seems like no time has passed at all, but it feels like it was another lifetime ago- if that makes any sense.
My oldest remembers him, and I’m doing all I can to ensure that never changes. Of course, there are little things here and there that make it possible. Books that my boys discover that he’d bought them. Puzzles. Toys. Pictures of him stacking a bunch of Lightning McQueen’s for no other reason than he wanted to see if they would stack. In fact, I asked OK what he remembered about Uncle Jerad not that long ago (while I usually hate making people “aunt” or “uncle” who aren’t relations, my parents adopted him during the wedding, so he’s family. At least that was the logic I thrust upon him, telling Jerad that my boys understand what an uncle is, and know that it’s someone who is there and loves them… and they’d never be able to spell Rejershnivit.) he said that he reminded him of Doc Brown from Back to the Future.
I asked him if it was because of the hair (Jerad’s did have a tendency to stick out when it got long enough). He said it was that, and because Doc Brown was funny and smart. And he remembered how much Jerad knew about science. Which made me thoroughly happy because aside from being an amazingly talented actor, he was brilliant and always learning about science. So I think he’d be happy being remembered for that.
Yesterday was my first full day with the kids after the whole hospital thing, and I was so focused on that it didn’t hit me until I saw a headshot pop up in my Facebook stream that I remembered it was the 6th and not the 7th. (The 7th sticks in my head since that’s when I found out)
Funny how that works out. Though it’s pretty much how the last year has been. I’d function well with the kids and through my regular routine, and then in the quiet moments, it would seep in and hit me.