Because Jake’s best friend now lives in Nebraska, we were able to meet him and his girlfriend at lunch in Omaha. it’s a bit of a drive, but after 15 years of having Alex around, it seemed natural. I first met him when he and Jake were in 2nd grade. Since he lived a block away, I watched him grow alongside Jake, with the two of them sort of glued together. Their relationship consisted of years of Jake performing while Alex laughed, but they also had the closeness of brothers, and were always there for one other no matter what. I can see that Alex is in pain, but I can also see what a blessing his girlfriend is to him at this time when he needs love and support, and that makes me smile. As we shared a meal, I realized that Jake never got to meet Alex’s first serious girlfriend. I also realized that this was the first time I had ever spent with Alex without Jake being there too. It was so bitter-sweet as life seems to be these days. Hardly a situation occurs without the sense of a void. Will the world ever seem right again? Everything is changing with time and it’s changing without Jake and that is hard for me. I’m not one who has ever liked change. I am nostalgic and sentimental and I can even remember feeling sad as a child when New Year’s came. New has never felt good to me and although it is a part of this life, I don’t think I can manage much more of it right now. Ray wants me to choose house plans, but for some reason I can’t even look at them without a sense of feeling overwhelmed. A new house? Another big change?
A Vietnam veteran has drawn a portrait of Jake as an act of service. He has drawn over 3600 fallen soldiers over the years and it turned out beautifully. It looks exactly like him and I love it so much, but it breaks my heart to look at it. There are still so many pictures and items that I cannot have around me because of the pain the sight of them brings me. I can’t figure out why some things/pictures trigger sadness and heartache and some can even bring a smile. At the risk of sounding crazy, doors have become painful. I sometimes catch myself staring at the front door, willing Jake to open it and bust through like he did for almost 22 years; always with a smile and a “Hey mom”. I find it so hard to accept that he will never again come through the door. I will never again feel the joy of him coming home to report whatever it was he had been up to, or to ask how or what I’m doing. How long must I wait to see him again? Only God knows and I remind myself, as I am Jake’s mother, He is my Father and He will do what is best for His children. I just wish I could ask Him why this is best.