I could be on my laptop reading the Times (to cheer me up) or listening to Aimee Mann (her album “Mental Illness” is particularly comforting these days) or watching “Survivor” (who ever thought that’s what I’d become), and I’m feeling pretty okay.
Maybe I just took a hit from a vape pen and everything feels a tiny bit lighter like it’s almost back to normal. Maura and I are sitting on the couch sharing some wacky flavor of ice cream from Salt & Straw (tonight it’s Rhubarb Crumble with Toasted Anise), and we’re watching Jeff Probst snuff out somebody’s torch—the tribe has spoken—when out of nowhere, I’ll see the cloud.
At first, I can see it in the far distance, but there’s no doubt where it’s headed. It’s a bullet with my name on it heading straight for me. And before I can run for cover or try to change the channel in my mind or throw a sneaker at it, it’s here—a Charlie Brown-style dark cloud—ready to make its hellish descent.
Rob caused plenty of headaches when he was alive, but they were nothing like this one. This one is a black fog of unrelenting pressure and sadness that no medication can relieve because it only starts in my head before it makes its way into my heart and then it’s in my belly until it engulfs my entire being. My entire being is shattered by the loss of Rob—my being, his nothingness—and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.
It’s a tidal wave, a tsunami, an earthquake, name your favorite natural disaster, except it doesn’t feel natural at all. Losing a child is unnatural, losing a child to suicide is even more unnatural and losing a child we adopted to suicide, well, it’s just a perfect shit storm.
And that’s really a perfect description: a storm of shit that combines guilt, anger, sorrow and so much endless love that the sheer weight of it all is paralyzing.
I can’t move, I can’t talk, I can’t even cry because I’m being crushed to death…no, make that crushed by death. Rob! Rob! Rob! Rob! ROB!
And just when I can’t bear the pain for another second, the shit cloud begins to lift, like it somehow knows exactly my tolerance for despair, and just before it’s gone, I hear a little voice saying, “Later, Father.”