How can two years feel like an eternity and 10 minutes all at once?
We added numbers and figures to time thousands of years ago to orient ourselves in the space we occupy.
Why then, does time feel like the most disorienting thing in my world.
Why then, does time feel like a trap I am caught in.
2 is such a small number compared to the number of years I am expected to live here without you,
and yet, it is the largest number of years I have ever lived without you.
“Time heals” is perhaps the biggest cliché thrown around after a tragic loss.
So far, the only thing that time has taught me is how to compress the gargantuan hole in my body into a pocket-sized portion of grief I can carry with me always.
Time has taught me how to wander through my life speaking your name and carrying forward your legacy with the weight of you dragging behind me. My legs have grown stronger but endurance has never been my strong suit.
It has been two years and I am both angry and amazed by that. The number of days between when I last saw you and the present moment continues to grow and my anxiety and dread grows with it. So does my strength. My determination. My will to carry on.
My biggest fear, and perhaps the biggest fear of anyone who has ever lost someone who held the stars in their sky, is that we will stop saying his name. That we will all get tired of carrying the pain and weight of the 14 letters in your name, Jake, and slowly we will start putting them down in the hopes of carrying on a little lighter. One of the many beautiful parts about being your sister is that I don’t carry on without you, because to do that would leave 50% of my cells behind. So if you meet me at the grocery store or online or at the movie theatre, I will probably say his name. I will probably start sentences with “Jake loved…” or “Jake would think that was so funny…” for the next 50 years. Please smile back at me. Please acknowledge that part of me with as much strength and vulnerability as you can. Please don’t shy away from his name or grow awkward when those 14 letters spill from my mouth like it’s the only thing I can say. Please let me include you in the space in my brain that constantly assesses the world through the beautiful blue eyes of my brother.
In two years I have gotten married, bought and rebuilt a house, started my master’s degree, and continue to cultivate your legacy through The Jacob Puddister Memorial Foundation.
In two years I have experienced more sadness, grief, anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, hostility, and fear than I ever thought one person could contain within themselves.
In two years I have felt more supported, loved, appreciated, and uplifted by my friends, family, and community than I ever thought I could accept and hold within myself.
Time has passed and somehow I love my brother more than I did on August 24, 2016.
Time has passed and I somehow have more and less to say to you all.
Time has passed and I am still here.