Respect the Mullet

6 months.

6 months since

  • I last heard Jake’s voice
  • I got my last text from Jake
  • I brought Jake coffee for the last time
  • My kids hugged their dad for the last time and said “bye dad” without even a thought in their heads about what was going to happen that day
  • My cell phone last rang with a call from Jake
  • My world stopped turning
  • I’ve been able to focus or pay attention
  • “AFTER” began
  • I put on my Kristen Suit

Why this arbitrary number? 6 months?  It’s so stupid.  But it has been a really hard day.

Everyday throughout the last 6 months, my brain is constantly re-playing the events of that day.  Then I hit rewind and watch it all over again.  Rewind. Replay. Rewind. Replay.  WISH. WISH. WISH. Rewind. Replay.

I try to distract myself.  I try to distract myself with BIG things.  Should I sell my house? Should I not sell my house?  Should I buy a car?  Should I buy an RV? Should I go on a trip?  Where should I go on a trip?  Should I buy a vacation house on a lake?  Should I move across the country?  Should I move out of the country?  Big decisions.  Most of them are things I’d never even thought of in the “BEFORE”.  But thinking about these things and researching them are temporary distractions for me.

I was telling my very wise friend about these thoughts and she basically advised me not to make any major decisions about what I don’t have right now–but to evaluate what I want moving forward.  As always, this friend makes so much sense, but reflecting on this has completely thrown me off-balance. Moving forward?  I am so stuck in that one day in my past, that moving forward hasn’t really even occurred to me.  So, what direction am I heading?  What in the world do I want moving forward?  My brain hasn’t even accepted the fact that Jake is not coming back.  It hurts to think of moving forward without him.  Maybe that’s why my brain is stuck on that day.  6 months ago.  He was still here.

I have a dear friend and she had been friends with Jake from long before I ever met him.  She married his best friend.  Anyway, she recently had a dream about Jake where she looked out the window and was startled to see Jake’s face.  She said, “He was just standing there, but he had a mullet. So I started laughing at him and he said, in his Jake way that ‘well, everyone needs to show respect for the mullet'”.  I LOVE this dream.  This dream sounds so much like Jake.  He would be the one to get a mullet just because it was so uncool and just because it would make people laugh.  Just because he could tell people to “respect the mullet”.

When we first started dating, I showed up at one of Jake’s punk shows and was horrified to see that he and his buddy had given each other mohawks.  I was still getting to know Jake at that time and could not yet appreciate his sense of humor about such things.  It’s just hair!  But I almost turned around and walked out the door.  I didn’t though, because just like the black socks and sandals, I didn’t even notice the mohawk after a while.  I just saw Jake.  (Although-I will admit that I was very happy when his hair grew back in!)

I realize that my “story” leaves a lot of unanswered questions.  I need to keep it that way for a while to protect the “innocents” in my life.  Be assured, that I will end up telling the whole story, the whole truth.  I do want the world to know what happened to my Jake.  Maybe that’s part of my moving forward.

Mercy Mercy-Who took Percy?!

IMG_0661Jake passed away before Percy Harvin left the Seahawks.  Before that, Percy Harvin was his favorite player.  He had other top faves–but Percy’s was the only jersey he had.  After the Seahawks won the Super Bowl last year, he bought a DVD of season highlights.  He watched it over and over again.  Sometimes he would stop and rewind the amazing plays that Percy made.  He admired the way Percy came back from injury and made such a big contribution to the Seahawks victory.

Jake and I used to run his favorite trail area together.  He was much faster than me and he could run much further distances.  A lot of times he “ran” with me in the morning and then went and did his training run in the evening.  Jake would run behind me and threaten me if I slowed down or wanted to stop.  He would say things like “I’m going to start talking if you slow down!” and then he would start talking on and on about things that he knew I didn’t understand until I picked up my pace.

I used to be afraid to run that trail by myself.  I knew there were bears, cougars, and all sorts of dragons and monsters out there in the woods just waiting for me to come along so they could eat me up.  Since Jake’s been gone, I have run that trail many times by myself.  As a matter of fact, I have a hard time running anywhere else except that trail.  When I’m by myself, I beg and plead that Jake will be standing around the next bend waiting for me so I can give him a giant hug.  I am honestly disappointed when that doesn’t happen.

In the AFTER, people started leaving little trinkets and toys and keys and notes on this giant tree stump that I run past.  Now, whenever I run there, I stop and examine the tree stump.  I look for “signs” from Jake.  Usually, they have been pretty generic–an angel, an anchor, a peace sign, etc.  I call that my “sign” from Jake until I get about 30 feet away and tell myself how ridiculous it is that I am assigning meaning to something like that.  But, one day when I was rounding the bend to that tree stump, I asked Jake to please, PLEASE give me a sign–something irrefutable.  Something that would leave no doubt in my mind that he was still connected to me–still with me.  I stopped and started examining the stump and noticed a little Seahawks Lego man complete with the Super Bowl Champion helmet.  With my hands trembling, I picked up the Lego man and turned him around to see his jersey number.  There it was!  #11!!!  Percy Harvin!  I literally laughed out loud, put Percy back on the stump and skipped off down the trail with a giant smile on my face.  That was it.  That was my sign.  Jake still loved me and he was still with me–and he let me know that.  I was a believer.

I continue to stop at the stump and make sure all my “signs” are still there.  I touch each one, fix them if they’ve been knocked down, etc.  This week, Lego Percy was gone.  I searched and searched the stump and the area around it.  Someone took Percy.  I know I sound like a complete loon (and I probably am) but I’ve had a rough few days (emotionally) since then.  Whomever took Lego Percy off that stump, also crushed my faith that Jake is still with me.  I guess if it was that easy to crush, my faith in that connection was not that strong in the first place.

I feel myself growing more overwhelmed with sadness.  It seems like I am sinking deeper and deeper into a hole and I’ve just lost any determination to try to climb my way out.  I feel stuck and disconnected with the world around me.  How can this world keep on going when Jake is gone?  How do people still go about their lives when Jake is gone?  I can’t even make it to the grocery store or do a load of laundry.  None of that even matters to me lately.  People say I’m strong.  But I’m not.  I’m so not.  A strong person could pull herself together and get shit done.  I am overwhelmed with giving my kids a shower.  Jake would have been the much better parent.  He should be here.  How did things end up like this?

Jake gave his mother a plant last Mother’s Day.  Even though the plant had died, my mother in law did not want to throw it away.  Her friend told her it was time to throw it away and convinced her to do it.  My mother-in-law cried because Jake would never be able to give her a plant again.  I am really pissed about that–about what her friend did.  If my mother-in-law was comforted by a dead plant–I don’t care if it was rotting or covered with bugs–she could have kept it.  It was her son’s last Mother’s Day present to her.  Who does this friend think she is telling my mother-in-law what she should do and what it is “time for”??  I guess its kind of the point of this blog.  Everyone grieves in their own way.  There are no “shoulds” or timelines.

I try to be okay with where I am–but I have this constant urge to flee lately.  Fight or flight response, I guess?  I am so, so very tired of “fighting”.