Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Things I realize

I realize Jesse would hate me spending this much time thinking about him. I realize that at some point, I have to move on.

I realize that if he had lived through that last bout, there is no guarantee (even less likelihood, statistically than after the first bout) that he would have lived another five years.

I realize he said he didn't want to live like that. I also realize he was afraid to die. Neither of these realizations helps me move forward.

I realize that some part of me believes it is somehow good for Jesse that I think of him so often, miss him, mourn him. I don't understand why this is so. Maybe it's just a holdover from the time when he and I were apart, and he was alive. As if some day he will ask me, did you miss me? And I will want to say, yes, every day of my life when you were gone. I'm pretty sure that's crazy.

I know how I would feel about my mother expressing the same kinds of feelings to me that I feel toward Jesse. As a barometer, though, I'm not sure that's helpful. I'm here, he's not; my history with my mother is different than Jesse's with me; Jesse may still have had anger toward me about our difficult times, but I like to imagine I'm easier to deal with emotionally than my mother. I think of the lifelong wall I erected between myself and my mother. I worry that I somehow created one in Jesse that we could never have overcome. Why does this still matter to me?

I realize that I must, somehow, believe he still exists, and not just in our memory.

What is the function of that belief, I know I'm not the only one who feels it. Is it just a residue of the overdeveloped human emotional memory? We can't stop loving, even when the loved one is gone, because love fulfills such an important evolutionary role for our species. For the social mammals.

I realize I spend a lot of time going over my relationship with him, how badly it was broken, and how, and what it means to have your father destroy your feelings and trust in your mother at such an early age. It is impossible to talk about what happened between Jesse and me, without coming back to that simple, horrible truth. The wound that could never heal, and never will.


  1. I doubt that you can take much solace in this...but he realized what his father was when he kicked him out in the middle of the night over juice and refused to talk to him again. Ultimately his dad being miserable and pushing people away seems to have been what killed him. Jesse realized that his dad was not as infallible as he had once believed.

  2. Isn't it strange how intertwined our feelings about our mothers are with our feelings about our kids.

    I know you know what I'm talking about. Far more than just a mere resemblance or mirroring. There is something deep and sometimes disturbing in it. I don't understand it.

    I know I am not my mother. I know that my children feel differently about me than I feel about my mother (and that's true for my feelings about my children as well - much different from my mother's feelings about me).

    And yet, there is something (in my mind?) that will throw some equivalence or something like that into my musings sometimes and it nearly takes my breath away.

    There is an abyss I find myself at sometimes that is as if all my love and care and experience is an illusion and really its just the same distant, painful, relentless connection repeated again.

    It takes a great deal of strength to walk away from that abyss and re-believe in the love and reality of my life.

    Thanks for giving me a place to share this. Its what your writing does to me - makes me willing to stop and look, and listen.

  3. Alex, thank you for that. Jesse never told me about that event, but it doesn't surprise me that it happened. I was surprised that his father disowned him the day he started college; that was, to me, the single worst thing he did after trying to destroy his relationship with me. But still, it fit the pattern. I admit I crave anything anyone who knew Jesse can tell me about him; we barely got a chance to start really talking to each other in the short years after that. I feel like a blind mother asking people to tell her what her baby looks like.

    a&s, I don't think it's strange; maybe because I spent so many years trying to become more conscious of what my relationship with my mom was, and who she was. The only way I could spend time with her was to come to terms with her limitations, to see her as half-full, if that makes sense. Maybe it's because I learned how to mother on my own, because I didn't trust her mothering. Yes, I do feel those disturbing moments, though, of course. And I can't really put myself in Jesse's (or his brother's) shoes without my own mother as a marker.

    And when I think of my role with Jesse, the times when I did it wrong, it makes me ill. It's easier to forgive my mother her weaknesses and sins than it is to forgive myself.


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