Thursday, December 10, 2009
Who wants to be millionaire?
It took almost 3 months for me to be asked the inevitable question. I knew it would come, I just didn’t know when, who or how. At a neighborhood function last night, a 6-year old boy who spent a lot of time with Jack until about a month before he died asked “Where’s Jack?” with the innocence of a bunny and the annoyance of a mosquito buzzing in your ear because of his questions. (If he only knew what he was asking…poor kiddo and parents. They were probably mortified but I have learned not to sweat the small stuff over the past few months.) As a zillion thoughts raced through my brain, I quickly responded with “Oh! He’s not here right now.” What I was thinking but kept to myself was “Who the hell knows? Isn’t that the Regis Philbin Million Dollar Question? Where IS he? Is he somewhere? He’s not here and I certainly know that.” The boy then said “Where is he?” I am not a good liar, especially when it is off the cuff. Fortunately my audience was a 6-year old who doesn’t have the social savvy yet to pick up on my dead give away clues… the stammering, the awkward look, and the longer than usual pause before responding. I said, “Oh, he’s out playing.” It was the best I could come up with and if I did have to make a logical guess, it would be that Jack is playing somewhere, happy and carefree. The boy and his curiosity still wasn’t satisfied as I am almost breaking out in a sweat trying to field these questions like a hockey goalie at the Stanley cup. He then asked “Where is he playing?” At this point, I had run out of stamina and creativity and said “Oh, just out and about.” At which point, something else caught the boys attention and he was off and running.
It was almost comical to me, the things that have been said to me when people have NO IDEA what they are saying. A week after Jack died, I was at a street fair and a local insurance man stopped me to talk about having life insurance for your CHILD. Could the timing have been any worse? I thought I was being punked again. My mom was with me and I could tell she was tensing up, worrying that this would make me upset. After I knew what the man was talking about, I wasn’t even paying attention to his speech but just shaking my head thinking “Really? Is this conversation seriously happening?” If only that man knew, he would have been mortified. People say you’re not given more than you can handle and whereas I agree with that on a basic level, there’s more to it than that. Yes, we handle what we are given but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with small miracles of mustering up the mental strength and the ability to laugh.
To answer the million dollar question…”Where is Jack?” To me Jack is in the warmth of my car after it is has been sitting in the sun all day. He is part of the sound of Kate’s laughter. He is in Dan’s arms as he wraps them around me and in the tears that still fall down my face. He is in my muscles that get me out of bed everyday and especially the muscles that allow me to smile. He is part of that refreshing feeling when you jump in a pool and he is present when we decided to get Hey Cupcake! Cupcakes. He is present when I buy milk and if I imagine really hard and can pretend enough, he is present in a physical sense, crawling all over me and hugging me. He is present when we start laughing about memories of our little boogie, even when they make us laugh so hard we cry. He is in our hearts and minds and picture frames in our house. He surrounds us and reminds us to be better people, better parents, better friends and better lovers because life is so precious.
So… Where is Jack? Jack is more places than he has ever been before and for that, I am so grateful.
And Regis, yes, this is my final answer.