Those Left Behind

“You have to acknowledge that what he did was predictably horrific. He knew, on some level, that it would shatter everyone close to him for the rest of their lives. That’s no understatement. I know he was anguished and beaten down by all of the years of failed treatments and dashed dreams. I know he couldn’t see even a flicker of hope. I can understand all of this logically, but it means nothing on an emotional level. He is gone. By his own choice. Leaving you, me and everyone else he knew to deal with the aftershocks.”

“I’m angry, hurt, confused and a whole list of other things that I don’t want to discuss. He was seventeen. A baby, really, when you consider how hard it was for him to cope with even the most basic emotional blow. He didn’t have the skills or the tools to navigate life and some of that has to fall on us as parents. No getting around that. We can nature/nurture this until our hearts break even further into shards and it won’t change the fact that we let him down.”

“Somehow I thought that him getting out of the house more was a sign of improvement, but I know now it was just a necessary element of his plan. He didn’t want us to find him afterwards so he planned to do it out in the woods. He fucking hated the outdoors, but that was the last thing he probably saw: trees swaying in the wind as he lay on his back.”

“I can’t get rid of his clothes. Even after a year, I can still smell him. The faint citrusy smell from his stupid cologne. The books he loved so much. Hardbacks of his favorite authors. He said he liked the idea of the longevity of hardback. A treasure to pass on. The treasure was my son.”

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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