I just can’t stop myself. The allure of momentary pleasure is far more than I can resist.
Like an alcoholic who knows that there is no such thing as just one drink, I already know this will escalate into a storm. Tomorrow will bring the experience of various unpleasant physiological and psychological effects — but I don’t care. Right now, at this very moment my only desire is to satisfy my addiction. I take the bait.
I can try to suppress it — control it — and even believe I’ve survived it — but I hopelessly cave-in at the mere mention of its presence.
Reminiscence — my drug of choice.
One part of healing from grief, whether I want to admit it or not is that I’ve become accustomed to his absence. I’ve gotten used to not calling his name or hearing his voice. But when I stumble across his old Junior High classmates acknowledging that they still talk about, and miss him, well that brings him back to the forefront of my emotions. It revives the addiction I’ve kept hidden within, and makes me crave just ones more story.
Most of the friends I had when I was 14 have drifted out of my life. Its nobody’s fault, it just happens. We went off in different directions, acquired new interests and met new people. Before I knew it I had all new friends and old ones became fading memories in the rear view mirror of life.
It seems that 22 years after his death, his name wouldn’t come up in the conversations of his classmates anymore — would it? Would you expect that something he said would have been so relevant to one of them that he wrote it down on a piece of paper and hung on his refrigerator door for years? Or that another who would write an essay about him in college? Would you expect to learn that just the other day they were still talking about him?
What made him so special? Why does he stand out? Is it because he was killed 22 years ago? Or is it because he modeled something within that was attractive?
I spend the next several days thumbing through old pictures and yearbooks. I’m taken back to an innocent time of future promise, when we dared to dream what lay ahead. But as I scour through the Facebook pages of his old friends, reality quickly sets in. I see how these once young kids have matured into adulthood. Their lives went on — they have families of their own — I’m happy for them — I’m jealous of them.
While it feels so good to know that he still matters, my family is forced to once again readjust to his absence. There is no next chapter in his life — we have only the promise of God to cling to.
Most of our friends these days never knew Jacob — they only know of him. There are few people who can provide never heard before stories. So when there is a sudden eruption on Facebook by his old classmates posting wonderful comments and sharing memories, we just can’t stop ourselves from wanting more.
We live for just one more minute with him — one more story — one more post. One more person who says he mattered.
Much like a healing wound that has been reopened, my family bleeds afresh. The wound hurts once more. Is that small dose of delight worth the trauma that follows and the renewed sense of absence — the melancholy?
Yes, it’s worth it — but not just for the purpose of appeasing our obsession.
If we conceal our emotions deep within, how can we be of value to those who need to let theirs out?
If we refuse to allow Jacob to be a witness of the hope we have in Christ, we deny the beautiful example of faith his life represented. How regrettable it would be to ignore what Jacob died trying to accomplish just to avoid the sadness his memory sometimes generates.
“Life is not what you think, it is what you do”
Jacob Kiepura 1992