Thursday, November 25, 2004

Leaving New York

This time last year, we knew Jody's cancer was back. I guess it was right at the very end of October when he started having pain in his side again, and co-workers chased him to the doctor. I remember him leaving me a terse message on ICQ that it was back, and then getting together with him on the net the next morning. Both of us in tears. He was scared, and he didn't want to die. But by the end of the conversation, he'd recovered somewhat and was preparing to take it on. I was scared too, but I thought, I hoped, he'd beat it again like before.

He told me the doctors had given him two years to live. And I remember last spring him musing to me that he'd already used up 1/4 of his alotted time left. Neither of us knew at that point he wasn't going to live even another three months. Me, I thougth two years was the conservative estimate. It should have been. He was young, strong, with good people behind him and a good medical plan. He should have been around for years to come.

Just a few minutes ago, as I started thinking about writing this, I went looking for a disk in one of the drawers. I found the card from the See's Famous Old Time Candies (chocolates) he sent me in 2001. They were godly. The card smelled of their luxury for ages afterwards. But the scent's gone now. There's just the card. Inside, the See's people printed Hiya! Adore! —RubyOcelot and FROM JODY YOUNG. Over the months I looked for this card a couple of times, but never found it. It was between a couple of disks. I've held onto it all this time, from long before Jody ever got sick. I'm grateful I still have it; it's always meant something to me. Now I can take it home and put it in the cedar chest with his ashes and other memories. That young man, now gone, he touched my life both so deeply and so broadly. He was a presence in my life though we never met face to face, through everything I did and everywhere I went for ten years.

Lately, the new REM song Leaving New York has been on the radio a lot. I heard it on the way home last night. It's different enough from what happened that it doesn't really hurt to listen to, but it's still tangential to the idea... leaving... Jody leaving us all, and it wasn't easy for him... All of us leaving him behind in time, and how hard it is to feel his presence fade. I don't want his presence to fade but life has a way of filling up the empty spaces of the moments that once belong to someone else. That's a betrayal, but one that's built into us. We can only try to fight against it and burn those we love into memory. Memory with the power to force itself into our conscious thoughts. We owe those we've loved and lost that effort, even if they're still alive somewhere.

It's almost six months now since Jody died. Probably about the same happy space of time that he was "well" between bouts of cancer. That golden summer he had his life back and before him, and we were secure in his existence in our lives. Oh, Jody. How I wish you could just spring up on ICQ and talk to us. That would be plenty. I'd give pretty much anything for that, if only that much were possible for the rest of my life, however long that turns out to be.

Today is American Thanksgiving. Today he should be with family and smiling, an absense in my daily life because he's away from work and ICQ. A happy absense, because I would know he'd be back on Monday with things to tell. Today instead my thoughts are with his mother and father, his brother and sisters. This first holiday without him. I guess God will understand if the thanks being given by the Youngs today aren't that effusive.

Adore, most beloved.

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