Thursday, July 22, 2010

Time drags on here in this dark and frightful place

It has been over a month since I lost my best friend and Brother. His name was and is Jake Gregory Wendling. Much of who he was as a man is someone that came to be while I was gone, out exploring the world. But even as we were apart for those years there was a bond, a closeness to us that I could sense his growing. I was always so proud of him. When he started working out and getting bigger and stronger, I was impressed. I didn't show him how much though, and I now wish that I had. When he got sober, I was so thankful and happy. He was always my hero and I was his big brother. At times I took that role too far, and I babied him. He may have not have always understood why I treated him so, but it was because he was so precious. As I have said, he is the only man I've ever wanted to be more like. He was none of the things that I have always been. he was slow to anger, not vengeful, easy to laugh and smile, he would gladly show his love for all of God's children and creations. He was not perfect, but he was a wonderful kind and truly loving person. When he left this world a great vacuum opened up in my soul. A great emptiness that has left me without purpose or direction, without desire or happiness. Where once there was the greatest love for my Brother and knowledge that my best friend would always be there, there is now just numbing sadness.

It's hard for the other people in my life to understand this, and for that I am so sorry. So sorry. I love my wife and children, my parents and sisters, my two dogs that I've had for the last eleven years... but I am so overcome with loneliness and grief that I can not smile. I can not eat. I feel like I am just marching in place.

My Brother. Oh how he was such a sweet person. He loved me and I him, he loved us all and cared so much for us. I missed the last six months of his life and we seldom spoke on the phone. There was no problem between us, life had just taken us in our own directions, like the flowing river that it is. Now all I feel is deep, deep regret that I didn't swim against that river and make more of an effort to be in his life. After all, he was truly my best friend. I will always feel like I let him down by not staying in touch. I have an anger for myself for allowing this to happen. I was the big brother. It was my job to be the one to keep the ties strong and I failed. Now it's all gone. There will never be another dinner with him, or fishing or hunting trip. There will never be another chance to help him with a project, or to just see him while visiting my mom. Never another hug and an "I love you, Brother" when I would bump into him somewhere in town. It hurts so much and it is so big and awful that I can not wrap my mind around it. It still hasn't sunk in like I know it will someday. I still can not completely accept that he is gone, but at the same time I do and that is why I am so miserable and filled with loneliness.

I don't know when or if I will ever get past this, but I am sorry for the way it must surely be affecting the rest of my family. To my wife, it is not you. You are just as beautiful as you have ever been, my heart still loves you and needs you. To my kids, both two and four legged, I still love you and am not angry or displeased with you, you are all wonderful and I am so proud of you. To my parents and sisters, I love you and pray that you all are having less difficulty with this than I am.

I love you all, but my heart is so broken that I do not know how I will ever put it together again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I wish I could forget... because I almost can't remember

I am haunted by the image of my Brother, lying in his coffin with his eyes closed and glasses off, like he was sleeping. His lips were slightly parted on the right side, with just a glimpse of his teeth.

I can't remember seeing him alive and it's breaking my heart. I almost can't remember his voice. I can't look at pictures of him because it hurts so much. I hate being alive without him. I hate so deeply not having him with me. I've had my heart broken before, but this is beyond that. This is like having your eyes cut out and knowing you'll never see again, or having your back shattered and knowing you'll never walk again.

This hurt will never go away.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Children think deeper than we think

My son and I were going to the store and he was very quiet the whole way there and back. When we got near the house I asked him if he was sad about something and he said "yes"

I asked him what it was, thinking he was say that he missed his mom or would miss his brother who is soon going off to school, but he said "I miss Jake."

And that's all he said, but he said it with a deep and genuine sadness. I told him that I do too, every moment for the rest of my life.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Not going anywhere?

Today I was looking in my locker for something and I found a half eaten snickers candy bar. As I was about to throw it away I realized that I couldn't... it was the candy bar I bought the day my Brother died. I held it in my hand and I cried. I had eaten half of it while he was still alive. Just like that candy bar, my heart is forever torn in half.

This is my prayer.

Yesterday I was at work and I glanced up for a second and I saw my Brother. I was jolted and did a double take and of course it wasn't really him. The person was Jake's height and had his haircut and hair color. My heart was broken all over again.

Last week I was walking up my driveway thinking of Jake and wishing that I could just hug him once more, and I realized that my arms were out in front of me, encircling the empty air.

I pray Dear Lord, give me strength. I know that it is not my place to understand your will. I ask Dear Lord that you give me the strength, that you help me find the strength to accept it. I ask Dear Lord that you have pity on me and that you have mercy on me. I know that you are powerful beyond all measure and that anything you will can and will happen. I know that you can and often do teach us harsh lessons that we think of as cruel. We do not understand these lessons and often our faith in you comes into question. I ask you Dear Lord that you bolster my faith, that you make me like a rock in my faith. I ask that you make me thirsty to know you better and that you compel me to read and learn more about you.

I pray Dear Lord that you drive me to be a better man, to take responsibility for the things in life that are mine to own up to. I ask that you help me find the strength, wisdom, and patience that I need in order to be all the things to all the people in my life who need me, and whom I love. I ask Dear Lord that you compel me to never forget to do more for others than I do for myself. I ask for a servant's heart, Dear Lord. I have been humbled and my world is shaken to its core. I ask that you build me up, Lord. I ask that you guide me to do the right things, and to be a better person and to be the Christian that you wish for me to be.

I ask that you give strength and all the things that I ask for myself to my family as well. I ask that you keep us all close together, and that we never forget how to love each other, and that we always love, honor, and respect each other. I ask to be a better son, a better brother, a better husband, and a better father.

This is my prayer, Lord. I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ and ask that you hear my prayer.
Amen.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away...

It's sad that we take so much for granted. Most of the time we can love someone, be close to them in our heart, but allow time and space to keep us apart. We think that tomorrow will always be OK because they will be here.

When we are wrong it is the most terrible kind of wrong in the world. Without my Brother I have no care for life. I took him for granted, thinking him being younger he would always be here with me. I was so terribly wrong.

Even though I rubbed his hair and held his hand while he lay there in his casket I still can not accept that he is gone. I feel like there is a place somewhere where if I go and wait, he'll come along and we can go on living as Brothers and best friends. If I could just find that place. I feel dead inside. I feel empty and even though there are people in my life who love me, I feel alone. I am wracked with regrets about what I should have done, or should have known, or could have done or said to make things different.

I dream of him and we are doing things, going places. Mostly I am trying to keep him safe in my dreams. I feel like there is a stop watch or an hour glass at work and I an desperately trying to gain control of a bad situation and make it turn out all right, and then when I awake... I know that I have failed, and nothing is right.