Only an idiot would ever say “the worst is over.” I know this because I was that idiot. It was partly wishful thinking and partly a sigh of relief. It was a calming mantra, and yes, I know, I’ve been living out here in L.A. too long. I said it after we left the chapel on the way to the cemetery. I said it again after we put Rob in the ground, threw dirt on him and left a bunch of rocks. I said it on the way to Julie and Bob’s house for the Shiva.
The worst kept being over. Over and over again. That should’ve been a sign right there, but back then I wasn’t paying attention to signs. I could barely see straight. To a certain extent, it was true. We’d made it through the worst thing that had ever happened to us. But those words implied that relief was just around the corner.
The thing we didn’t ask ourselves when I said “the worst is over” to Caryn as we drove to the Shiva (a word that works even better phonetically) is—what comes next?
I was going to write about us sitting Shiva, a seven-day mourning period that we near Jews decided to condense into a one and done, and how we didn’t observe any of the more traditional customs of covering up mirrors, lighting candles or sitting on low stools.
I was going to make the sad joke that Rob hated his birthday parties when he was a little boy, but I’m pretty sure he would’ve had a good time celebrating his death.
I was going to tell you about how I mainly hung out with his friends and listened to them tell stories about all the crazy shit he did, and how I needed to give each and every one of them a giant hug because I know they all loved him so damn much.
I was going to tell you how I didn’t really get enough time to talk with so many of my friends who came to support me when I needed it the most, and how I hardly ate anything that day other than a good Rosner bagel and a handful of rainbow cookies which tasted like my childhood.
I was going to tell you how that rainbow cookie made me time-travel back to my mom’s Shiva when I was just about Zach’s age, and how her best friend Thelma came over to me because I was sitting alone and she told me how each day is precious and that we should live every one of them like it could be our last (she really knew how to cheer a guy up).
I was going to tell you how I thanked Julie and Bob from the bottom of my heart for opening up their beautiful house to us, and that I couldn’t stop thanking Bob the entire time I was there. I think that’s all we talked about, and he could not have been more gracious and compassionate, and although I’m ranting on a bit here, I need to say it again (in writing because it’s important to me): I will be grateful for his and Julie’s hospitality for the rest of my life, so thank you, guys. I love you!
I was going to tell you about all of the touching conversations I had with everyone there, and how there was so much extraordinary love in that room that I didn’t know what to do with it, so I just let it wash over me.
I was going to tell you how Maura won Shiva and how so many people mentioned how lucky I was to be with her.
I was going to tell you that I never felt closer to and more protective of Caryn and Zach on that terrible day when the worst was supposedly over.
But those fuckin’ words had a mind of their own. The moment I said them we were jinxed—forever. As it turned out, the worst was over until the next morning when it started right up again. It’s been almost six months of the worst–nonstop, day in, day out–and I fear the worst is yet to come because only an idiot would think that the worst could ever be over.