A Way to Hold Rob in All of His Complexity


My friend Anndee sent me an email last week and there was one line in it that has stayed with me ever since:

“Hope the writing continues to be a refuge, a catharsis and a way to hold Rob in all his complexity.”

I’ve been struggling to explain all of the contradictory thoughts and emotions that are wildly pinballing around in my brain and “a way to hold Rob in all his complexity” is by far the most eloquent expression of that feeling. Walt Whitman (which was also the name of the elementary school Rob attended) came close when he famously wrote that we contain multitudes, but my friend Anndee is a much better writer.

How can I reconcile eating soup dumplings with Rob in the afternoon and him taking his own life the next night? How can I be so furious at what the stupid idiot did while blaming what he did on lifelong depression and mental illness? How do you love someone with all of your heart even though he keeps breaking it over and over again? How do you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved? How do I hold on to Rob in all of his complexity now that he has simply let go?

I always had a problem with letting go of Rob. No matter what hardship he was going through, no matter what crazy shit he did or said, no matter what my head told my heart to do, I held on to him tight. Whether he liked it or not, I held on. Right up to the bitter end.

And I continue to hold on. I will hold on for the rest of my life to Rob in all of his complexity.


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