My youngest son spent the anniversary weekend (April 30/May 1 – aptly named May Day) with me. He took time off from work and was intent on being with me as I walked through the shadows. This continues to comfort me as I navigate life in general.
Another anniversary now: From Thanksgiving on the holiday season is a wrecking ball. Family images in ads, in stores, –and the word joy – suffocate me. And Jake’s birthday is December 6.
I am conscious that I am not alone in these verklempt holidays. Souls are sodden with grief for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the pandemic. This thing has traumatized us in ways that are difficult to articulate, and in some ways, the trauma feels counterfeit if you didn’t lose anyone. Motivation’s at an all-time low for many people I know, and simply showing up for anything is strenuous. I’ve heard many people say, bewildered, “Why is everything so hard?” We are changed forever: we sanitize carts, door knobs, tables and chairs. We go rigid when we hear a cough, and when we cough we hasten to assure everyone, “It’s not COVID!” Our perspective has tilted, and it will reverberate in the same way the Great Depression did for those who lived through it.
I believe that my experience with Jake’s disappearance gave me tools that served me through the pandemic, and I’ve seen that others have found their way through the last year and a half in the same way, so I know this is true: creation is the way through. We are literally making something out of nothing, which is hugely symbolic. We have a void, a nothingness, and we’re ripping creations out of that void and putting them out into the world. This is no easy birth: it’s messy and violent and awe-inspiring.
I’m not O.K. You’re not O.K. But were we ever?
I am tracking sharks now. I have no idea where Jake is, but I have a shark I’m tracking that gives me a weird serenity and sense of hilarity. I’m tracking one shark for each of my three sons here: https://myfahlo.com/collections/save-the-sharks
We find our way, don’t we? It is hard, but here we are.