I am going to Fredericksburg, Texas, to spread some of Jack’s ashes on Enchanted Rock. This is the end of a pilgrimage that started on December 7, his birthday, and officially ends on January 15, the anniversary of his death. It isn’t a planned pilgrimage. But it’s one I can’t avoid even if I wanted to.
Each year has been different. This is the 3rd. The first was hard but not the hardest. Maybe it’s like bracing for the intense pain after the doctor says, “This might hurt a little.” (Ahhh. It’s not that bad.) The next year was rough and this year even worse.
Is it my alcoholic soul that denies reality until it sits beside me and serves me dinner? After three years, the death of my son hasn’t changed, will not change. It just is. The pain doesn’t come from fighting that reality, I think, as much as recognizing its immutability.
I’ve been a disagreeable woman for this past month, resenting all that continues to exist and spending great resources of energy acting like I am not caught in that resentment. I have glared at Bob’s son with a hairy eyeball for these past few weeks with my frustration piqued when he drank out of the 3 liter bottle of Sprite at my house without a glass and erupting when he put a salad bowl that he’d used as an ashtray in the sink.
I sucked back the annoyance about the Sprite bottle only to have a tantrum about the bowl which I jerked out of the sink and slung into the garbage can. (“Dinner ware is NOT used as an ashtray!”) to which he replied (“Those aren’t ashes.”) Really? Really!?
The truth. It wasn’t what he’d done. It was the fact that he isn’t my son. Jack perpetrated those same crimes against dishes and got the same angry reactions. But he isn’t here. Bob’s son is. Thank God for that. I do mean that, but I hate the reality of loss.
So, I will make the 3 hour and 28 minute trek to Fredericksburg. I will not listen to Jack’s favorite music on the road. I can do that. For a long time it was too painful. But today it seems like pouring rubbing alcohol onto the wound. I may go for silence or I may go for listening to AA speaker CD’s.
Tomorrow morning at dawn, Georgie and I will start the climb. We won’t be as fast as if Jack were with us, jabbering along the way, darting off to join another, possibly more interesting group of trekkers, and returning to announce, “You ought to see what’s ahead.”
(Okay, Jack. Check it out. We’ll catch up to you.)