A life in a box
I’ve been looking through piles of old photos lately. Remember that important stuff I went after in Arizona? It turns out that most of it really was important. There was the china my father purchased in Japan during the Korean War. There was the Depression glass that belonged to my maternal grandmother. There were boxes of books, notes, cards, old love letters, and all of Jarrod’s school records. I even found the Psychological Report that was part of his Individualized Education Program when he was nine years old that noted, “Jarrod is fairly bold for his age and seemed to lack desire to please the adult, which is usually shown in his age group.” That’s my boy.
Among the photos there were some from my childhood, all of my old modeling photos (I actually found the snapshots my mother took when I was 16 and sent off to an agent), photos of David (2nd husband) and I through the years, and a box that I had set aside for Jarrod. I remember going through photos when Joe (1st husband – Jarrod’s dad) and I split up, and separating them. I tried to be fair and mailed some to him, keeping what I wanted when Jarrod was a baby and toddler, and putting a box aside for Jarrod. A box containing all that was leftover from a previous life. These were snapshots of a family before it splintered.
Some were difficult to look at. Joe passed away six years ago or so of a sudden illness. There was no warning. He was on vacation. Jarrod made it to his hospital bed in time to say goodbye, but I had not seen or talked to him in a very long time. After our divorce, we never got to a point where we could be friendly. When Jarrod was a little boy our communication only went so far as arrangements for him. We didn’t share custody and we didn’t live near each other so there was rarely an occasion to be at the same place at same time. It happened occasionally if Joe was in town and able to see Jarrod play baseball or something, but we never chatted easily. I reached out when Jarrod was in high school. We were both married to different people. Couldn’t we be in the same room and socialize like normal people at Jarrod’s graduation party? I invited he and his wife, but they didn’t come.
Our story is too long. I will save it for the book, but there was a part of me that pictured us sitting down together one day and laughing about old times. His death hit me hard. I realized there would never be that opportunity. I wanted to bury the hatchet. I wanted to be able to look him in the eye and tell him I forgave him. I got the news of his death at work. I felt ill. I went home and sobbed into the arms of David. I cried for words left unsaid, and I cried for Jarrod, whose own relationship with his father had been a difficult one.
Once upon a time this teenage girl fell in love with a reckless, cocky, handsome young man with long curly hair and a guitar, and without him there would not be Jarrod. And Jarrod was meant to be.