I’ve been writing about Rob nonstop for the past six months. I kept telling myself that I needed to do it, that I’m compelled to do it, that Rob had become my muse, that I have to get it on the page while it’s still fresh in my head and heart.
I also needed to make you feel what I’m feeling right now because in six months I know I’ll be feeling differently. I worried that I wouldn’t remember certain details or exactly how I felt about a certain shitty thing that had happened to Rob.
I’ve been driven to write these stories because I thought it would be a way to ventilate, that keeping it all bottled up inside would stress me out further and give me a heart attack, that if my thoughts and feelings didn’t find an escape hatch they would remain forever buried deep inside me like what happened when my mom died. Writing about Rob has helped me process what happened to him, what happened to us and what happened to me. It’s a document of our love and loss. And someday we’ll all look back on this and cry.
I thought this would somehow make me feel … better? … good? It certainly helps make me feel, but I didn’t realize that it would sometimes make me feel worse. That reliving the past, particularly the last two years, would feel like a recurring dream—more often than not, a nightmare. Still, it has always seemed worth it—I can take it if you can—because it keeps me connected to Rob. And I need that more than anything. I need it like I need air. Every word I write is like taking a breath. It’s like breathing life back into Rob.
Staying connected to him, however, is a doubled-edge sword. It cuts me open and makes me bleed these words of love and pain, and sometimes it’s sad and beautiful and sometimes it’s agonizing and ugly and sometimes it’s all of the above swirled together like a shitty Mister Softee ice cream cone.
I write to honor his memory and also to curse him out. I write so he can hear my anguish and also how much I miss the sound of his voice. I write to remember and also to forget. I write because it’s the closest thing to Rob still being here and also to acknowledge his monumental absence.
Sometimes I write because I want to tell you what a great father I was or how guilty I feel because, no matter what Rob’s problems were, we ultimately lost him, and that will haunt me forever. Sometimes I write because I’m an emotional exhibitionist seeking adulation or a broken shell of a man who will never be the same again.
Sometimes I write to avoid things that I’m too scared to write about. Sometimes I write because I don’t know what else to do, and sometimes I write because it’s the only thing to do. Sometimes I write because all of these contradictory thoughts are just too much to bear, and sometimes there’s a moment of peace and clarity that allows me to keep going.
The words pour out of me every day, forever trying to fill the hole, trying to explain the unexplainable, trying…. I don’t even know what I’m trying to do anymore, but I know I must continue to do it. It’s become an obsessive act. It’s the only way I know how to grieve. It’s what I do with all the most important things in my life—I write about them. I express my unconditional love. I express my agonizing pain. I express what it means to be a father and what it means to lose a son. I know it can’t bring Rob back, but it makes me feel alive and gives my life meaning.
When we first adopted Robbie, I knew it was the best thing we would ever do in our lives, and I feel more strongly about that than ever before. And even though he’s no longer here with us now, his story must live on and that’s why I write.