I just don’t know.

“I don’t know.”

“I just don’t know.”

These phrases dominate her vocabulary at the moment.  I’ve talked to her on the phone twice and seen her in person once since she found out her husband died, and these expressions have become her default conversation starter and go-to silence filler.

The memorial was a traditional Catholic Mass.  Words of hope and faith were spoken.  Traditions were performed.  I’m not an expert on Catholicism so I’m not sure what it all meant or represented and therefore won’t go into any great detail on that aspect of the service.  The parts that mattered most to me, were the words spoken by Rara’s sister about the kind of person Dave was, the post written by Dave explaining what it was like being married that Rara shared, and AR Neal speaking about the wonderful community of support and love that Rara has gathered around her on the blogosphere.

She spoke when I could not.  She spoke for those of us who were present in the room and those of us too far away to attend, while ceremonial candles burned and Dave’s ashes rested nearby.

“I don’t know.”

“I just don’t know.”

After the service, Dave’s father graciously invited everyone over to his home, to share in food and fellowship.  The walls of his home were adorned in artwork his son had created.  Coffee tables and counter-tops held Dave’s collected published works.  I browsed through these, skipping over the ones I’ve read and own, and picking up “The Angry Dragon.”  It was a title I didn’t recognize, and because dragon…

A children’s book, it only took me a minute or two to read.  It held his unmistakable art and a lesson that, while not fitting the situation, was fitting for some current struggles within the kingdom – the Little Prince throwing temper tantrums and our efforts to help him do so more constructively while also getting him to help clean up the messes those tantrums can create.  It was odd to find something so poignant for my life in such a place and such a time.

But, perhaps I should have long ago gotten used to Rara and Dave spreading knowledge and joy at all times and in all places.  It’s who they are…  It’s who they were.

“I don’t know.”

“I just don’t know.”

She is worried about her future, uncertain of what lies ahead for her, and concerned that she will never return to who she was.  What will she do when she is released in a couple months?  She no longer has a home to go to.  She will be a felon.  She is now a widow…

Those of us who gathered on Saturday to support her, spoke softly of time, and firmly of her strength of character.  We offered our shoulders.  We gave hugs.  We gently reminded her that she didn’t need to worry about the future yet, and it was okay for her to mourn, it was okay for her to not know: what each day would bring, what to say, how to act, anything.  There is no script that has to be followed for death and learning to live after.  We did our very best to assure her that she is loved and that she will have plenty of people looking out for her when she gets out.  We will make sure she is okay.

She nodded along, appreciative of our words and their sentiment, but…  It was too early for her to accept the truth in them, and none of us were the person she wanted with her, none of us were her husband.

“I don’t know.”

“I just don’t know.”

Before the service started, early in the morning before I’d even headed that direction, I got an email from Rara’s sister asking if I could get a song onto my phone in case there was a time for music.  I downloaded the song immediately and let her know I had it.

It was a song that Dave was partial to, and had wished he could have played at his mom’s funeral.  It didn’t dawn on me until after the service was over that I could have stood and played the song during the time people were encouraged to share stories about Dave.  I should have played it while Rara and her sister were up front sharing their stories.  I should have joined AR Neal at the front and played it while she was talking about the blogosphere in glowing terms.  I should have stood on my own and played it.

Those moments and opportunities have passed, however.  So, instead, I’ll share the song here with all of you, and I’ll remember Dave as the notes and lyrics of the song tell their own story.

Jimmy Eat World – Hear You me

“I don’t know.”

“I just don’t know.”


30 thoughts on “I just don’t know.

  1. I am glad you were there for her. I don’t know why this is happening to her, that’s for sure. 😦

  2. You did alright. She knew you were there for her and for Dave. She’ll have that in the back of her mind. She needs to grieve now. Once she gets out we will all help her all we can to get some of her old self back. Will it be all of her old self? No, it won’t. It can’t be. But it will be enough to build on for her new self. And friends like you will help her build it.

  3. “didn’t need to worry about the future yet”

    Yes to everything you wrote, but especially this paragraph.

    The letter that reached me last night had me in tears. She was searching for a silver lining, but the painful “I don’t know” leaped out at me, though she used other words to express it.

    Now is enough to worry about. Then will be time to take care of then.

  4. I don’t know was exactly what I thought first when I heard the news. Why, what will happen, the whole 9 yards.

    She has friends, she has family. She is loved. While it will be hard, Rara can do it if anyone can.

    It’s a beautiful song. But don’t worry about not playing it. You were there. That’s what mattered.

  5. Not only were you there, but you told others so they could be there too. My dear, sweet, kind Jester, do not do yourself down. You have been there in ways that so many others of us are unable to be.

    • I forget nothing. And thank you. Yes, the song… I remembered hearing it years ago, and liking it, but now it … well, it has slightly more power and meaning behind it.

  6. What a great song… I thought of Dave and Rara while I was listening. Thank you for the recap of the ceremony and your thoughts for those of us who could not be there. Beautiful post… there just aren’t words.

  7. This must be so hard for her… I don’t even know her, but it’s good to see how supportive everyone is. No doubt it makes things lighter for her, even though it’s just a little!

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