Part 1: Three Journal Entries

Saturday April 18th, 2020

Will Lucas died today…

I have a lot to say
But no words to say it right now

I am in shock beyond words

I do have questions

And feelings:

Sadness, Anger, Guilt

But mostly, I’m just Numb.

***

What the fuck day is it?
Wednesday April 22nd, 2020

I guess I’m thinking a lot about death. I’m feeling this overwhelming sensation of guilt.
Why? Several thoughts come to mind:

  • I didn’t see Will the last time I was here, when I could have
  • I didn’t text him to see how he was doing even though I had thought about it and planned to but procrastinated like I always do
  • I could not find the strength within me to show up for work the next day, and I used his death as the reason for canceling all of my classes
  • I went back to my life as usual soon after: working, playing animal crossing, reading, writing—but not about him
  • That I get to go on living, and he doesn’t…
  • That I didn’t cry enough
  • That all of these reasons mean I didn’t mourn my friend deeply enough, when he so deserves it

But here’s the thing: It’s just left me feeling so numb. I expected this torrential wave of emotions to come crashing down over me, but instead I feel empty. Hollow.

I can sense myself easing back into the waters of depression (they are warm at first, inviting). Slowly enough that I can see it happening yet so swiftly that I feel powerless to stop it. I feel restless, watched, paranoid. I want to leave this town immediately but can’t because of Covid. I also still don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know anything right now. I don’t know.

I am watching my cat, Shorty, eat grass. He is 19 years old. I often wonder how much time I have left with him. If I don’t pet him enough, I feel guilty of neglect, as if I can already sense the regret that is to come. I wonder if I’ll be here when he goes.

That’s the strange purgatory of death-in-retrospect. After it has already come to pass, you wish you had been there.

Part of you does. Because you know what it is to be alone and you don’t want anyone to leave this place with no one beside them. You also crave a final word, a touch, a look: a goodbye.
Closure.

Yet the other, perhaps wiser (but maybe not), part of you thinks of death and shrinks away. Do you really wish to have been there? Is it not better you were away? There is then some detachment and perhaps even some small respite from the immediate onslaught of pain (slight). It might take longer for the blow to hit you, for the sting to really bury itself under your skin.
There is no closure though.

I know my grandma is gone. I was there when it happened. But Will? I keep expecting to see him post a photo at the river—his favorite haunt in life. There is also the matter of expectation: My grandma had a stroke; we knew she was going. Will’s death was completely out of nowhere, a car accident.

Fate, chance. A candle blown out, not by the breath of a living soul, but by the fey and capricious wind. And so, can you ever really accept that? Or will you go on forever not feeling them truly gone? But, instead, that they are carrying on somewhere as usual? You were never around to see them anyway. All those years apart, they lived on without your direct observance or immediate proximity. Only a cursory awareness as you scrolled through the pages of social media.

It has been over four years since Theo killed himself. And I still have trouble believing he is truly gone. Though I suppose I must admit it’s easier now than it was even just one year ago.

But, in my mind and heart, they both seem to still exist in this realm, in the same way that all friends do who live away from you.

***

Dream August 20th, 2020

I just dreamt of Will

Sometimes I feel like dreams are visitations, but I can never seem to grasp the meaning in the message.

We were in a cabin it seemed, something rustic, cozy, grandfatherly, out in the woods. There was a window in front of me through which I could see trees.

Will was sitting away to my left in what looked to be a comfortable chair. Maybe it was a rocking chair.

He was showing me pictures of himself. Childhood photos—class pictures, birthdays, family. They were in his wallet, tattered brown leather, a stack in each card holder. They were small like those little polaroids that are popular now. They had a white border around them, but they were square and flat like paper. Some were worn and weathered, some were torn. He looked so happy in all of them.

But Will, sitting off to the side watching me looked grave, chagrinned, forlorn. Never had I seen that kind of emotion on his face in life—kind of frustrated and sorrowful…It made him seem older, more serious.

It felt like Will wanted me to see a specific photo, but I couldn’t find it in the stacks. He seemed disappointed (in me?) by this. Something like “If you knew, you would see it” was going through my head, or he seemed to say it without speaking.

I thought of the pictures and the family that is still missing him so.

I woke up, choked up, with tears welling in my eyes.

It’s been just over four months now.

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