Grief is a strange thing. There are days where I feel "normal" all day long. There are days where all I want to do is cry and lay in my bed. There are days where the grief just sneaks up on me out of nowhere and all of the sudden I am sobbing or angry at the world or both. And then there are the days that I just feel completely numb, void of any emotions at all. These days scare me the most, as I don't like not feeling. I've been totally exhausted too and have been falling asleep on the couch (something I never do) and having a really difficult time getting out of bed. I wonder how long grief is going to have its hold on me. Last week Tuesday, I went for my morning run around my complex and got about fifteen minutes in and started sobbing uncontrollably. There was one point where I was crying so hard that I had to stop in my tracks and pull it together so I could continue on. I hope no one saw me. I haven't felt like this since my last real heartbreak six years ago. I don't want to feel this way, but I don't know how else to feel.
My birthday is this weekend, I'll be 34. And everyone who knows me, knows I L.O.V.E. love birthdays. I love celebrating, spending time with friends, getting dressed up, doing something fun and just having a good time. Bit this year I don't even feel like celebrating. I would be perfectly content sleeping the day away and talking to no one.
I lost my friend. My brother. He's been the man in my life for the past thirteen years. And I hope the man that I marry one day is a lot like Jim. Every two weeks I would spend an hour and a half with him and his wife. Laughing, joking, talking, learning, connecting, loving, sharing - doing life together. He brought so much joy to my life. I don't think I realized just how much until now. I'm never going to laugh with him again, and that breaks my heart so very much.
Jim's memorial was on October 1st and it was so very sad, so very beautiful and truly honored his life. At the service a woman named Mary read a narrative that she wrote about Jim's like and the many journeys he's been on along the way. It is one of the most beautiful and amazing things I've every heard. It's really long, so I won't post the whole thing here, but I want to share the epilogue that she wrote about Jim's final journey.
I always think I live long time, my family have endless years together. To watch my children grow up and settle happy make pride in my heart. When sickness strike me, I pray and pray and fight hard to live. I tell some people, if I not die thirty year ago, I not die now. But God have other plan for me. God take my body to different place, but leave behind my spirit……to hold together treasure pieces of my life, to visit again all spaces on earth I love. If you look close, you find me in velvet grass of well care-for lawn, in delicate spice of steamy noodle soup, in flea market loud bustle, in green stalk of lucky bamboo, in strong energy flow on Vietnam New Year Day. If you see hunky Chippendale dancer or Heineken beer drinker or turtle with painted toes or ailing plant come back healthy, it will be sign I am here. I want no sadness for me, only good memory. I hope you smile to think of me……with five broken lawn mower or second-hand trailer with flat tire or big elephant clam with magic power. Laugh to remember my family drive away fast from campground in early morning light or eat Thanksgiving dinner late because turkey not thaw before roasting or hunting in snow for hours but not find right Christmas tree. Some times in my life hard, but always more joy than sorrow, always my family love to lift me up. Vicki, Jimmy, Derek and Yuki, too, know I still stand by their side and help light the way. Cindy know my happiest time is 22 year I spend marry to her. I say one week before I go, with friends to witness, I wait for Cindy and I will marry her again. This promise I keep until end of time.I don't know about you, but like Jim, I have always just assumed I would have a long life. But that is not guaranteed to any of us. So every time I see a really nice lawn, lucky bamboo, Vietnamese New Year, koi fish, Heineken, turkey dinner, Chip n Dale dancers, well manicured nails or laughter - I will think of my friend and I will miss him. These things will always remind me of my beautiful friend Jim Dung Diep and will serve as reminders to honor my friend's life and legacy and to live a life filled with joy and love.