Continuing bonds

Day Ten: – grief journaling

For today’s journaling prompt, we want you to write about the small, personal, everyday ways that you continue your bond with your loved one.

• What objects do you hold onto? 

• What rituals do you engage in? 

• What sayings do you repeat? 

• What traditions do you uphold? 

I have an old suitcase in my room that holds a few items of Jacob’s clothing. A couple of my favourite t-shirts of his with funny sayings written on the front. A nice sloppy joe kind of jacket with a zipper. His warm and fuzzy winter trackie dacks that became his most comfortable attire as it hid his skinny frame and a catheter. A couple of his good old faithful shoes that he bought in Hawaii (our last holiday as a family) that he tenderly walked in when he was using crutches and in a wheelchair. We had hoped they’d walk along a different path for our beautiful brown eyed boy. I love wearing his 2 beanies when the seasons change to keep my head warm. These kept the world from seeing him rock the bald look in the winter months. His Hawaiian shirts he bought for him and his mates to wear at was his last New Years celebration. One of those shirts is missing a sleeve, I cut it off to create a stitched up heart. A few brand new t-shirts he bought for his mates to wear as they watched WWE wrestling in Sydney. I have his beautiful straw hat he’d proudly wear and would look really shmick wearing it with his dark sunglasses. I have his wallet with his licence and cards in it still. His pirate patch he’d wear to relieve his double vision takes its place on his memorial shelf. Ohh there are so many other items I treasure.

I guess we do have rituals we engage in to keep his memory and spirit alive. My husband Pete has created ‘Jake’s bar,’ a special place to feel his presence and to have a toast to him as you ring his drink bell while you browse through family photos in a frame with Jacob pulling funny faces making us laugh. We write messages on his table with a permanent marker. We get out his life size stand out cardboard cut out at family celebrations to have him physically there with us and to take selfies with. We scatter a little bit of his ashes nearly every holiday destination we travel to over land and sea. We raise money for one of his favourite charities dreams2live4 and an awareness and research one to hopefully one day find a cure for sarcoma on his behalf. I’m using his camera so I’m seeing the world through his eyes the lens of his camera keeping us connected.

Jacob had 2 mottos as he neared the end of his life – ‘live each day as if it’s your last’ and ‘be thankful for everyday you’ve been blessed with.’ His dad quoted a line from one of Jacob’s favourite movies and these words became very powerful for Jacob to give him more fight that he needed – ‘stay gold pony boy’ from The secret life of Walter Mitty. The song by Ball Park Music ‘it’s nice to be alive’ was playing right up until he took his last breath and yes it truly is ‘nice to be alive.’

Disabled sailing gives out a memorial trophy each year with Jacob’s name on it to the most inspirational person of that year. Jacob will always be part of the movie ‘Truth’ with Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and many others and when we watch the movie we pause it and say ‘there you are, found you’ when we see the photo of him and Cate in Mary Mapes office. Lennie shows the WinTv news segment we starred in showing Ben pushing Jacob on the beach with an amphibious wheelchair in his line of work that he does with physiotherapist etc to spread awareness of the great piece of equipment to be used with people with a disability to enjoy recreational times in the water. I will continue to feel him near me as I see a butterfly or dragonfly, see a rainbow, the stars I wish upon at night, a penny from Heaven, a feather, a song on the radio with messages in the lyrics, numbers, dreaming of him while I sleep and connections with him with the help of a psychic medium.

I loved him yesterday, I love him still, always have and always will x

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