changes, chicago, grieving, Jack, miscellany, NYC, reflections

on randomness & looking back at a different life

I spoke at a meeting in Brooklyn tonight, where I mentioned (as I always do) about Jack and how he affected me, both in life and in his dying. It turned out there was someone in the meeting who was from Chicago who’d not only known Jack but was a resident at the half-way house way where we met, way back when Jack was the night custodian. And he also knows Uncle Eddie, having been a more recent resident as well.

The oddest thing, though, was that he recognized me when I walked in, and that he remembered me from when Jack and I were together. “You were such a good couple,” he said. “You made each other very happy. He was a good man, it was a great loss.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. It’s probably all true, but most days my time with Jack feels like it happened in another lifetime, to a different person. In some ways this is true; I’ve changed so much since then, and coming to NYC was move partly calculated to escape from what had become oppressive memories in Chicago. Where I am now is devoid of Jack, save for pictures and the echoes of promises I have in my mind, that one day we’d move to Brooklyn together or get married at city hall, an elopement.

It’s so far in the past, I felt more curiosity than grief tonight at the comments from this interloper, newly arrived from Chicago only 32 days ago. He could well be an apparition for all I know, for all the sense he makes to have cropped up at a meeting in Brooklyn where I’d never have gone unless I’d been asked to speak.

And now I’m here in Bed-Stuy, dog-sitting for The Architect, who’s off on his annual college reunion-vacation-road trip thing with his buddies for the 18th year in a row. I’m kind of jealous. The only thing I’ve done for 18 years in a row is make mistakes. And, also, learned from them. Which I guess is better than if I hadn’t.

In any case, it’s quiet and peaceful and I’ve got a dog to snuggle up with, yet I feel a bit off-kilter, as though I’m missing something here. Is there a stage of grief when you’ve just gotten grief’d out? That’s probably the best way to describe it: I’m just so over being sad, despite the infrequent waves over which I have little control. It isn’t that I don’t still miss Jack; I’ve just become somewhat apathetic about the fact that he’s dead. If that sounds contradictory and confusing, you’re right. It is, and I can’t explain it.

Mostly I’m happy with the way life is moving along for me: the job, the man, the apartment, etc. Some things are still askew, but some things always will be. Nothing ever lines up perfectly in life and anyone who tells you otherwise just needs a new pair of glasses.

So now I’m off to bed. My three-month review is tomorrow, and I’m of course (in true Amy style) anxious and worried and need all the rest I can muster. But I’m okay. Today, tomorrow, next week, in 2020 (if I’m still alive): it’s all okay, every day, no matter whether I run into random people who knew me when I knew Jack (and knew him as well) or are just meeting someone for the first time.

Enough rambling. G’night.

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1 thought on “on randomness & looking back at a different life”

  1. I think grief is like pain (something with which I’ve had fairly recent acquaintance). It becomes something of a companion and you don’t quite know how to react to its absence. Hugs.

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