Historical and Contemporary Romance Author

Life Is Pain, Highness

If The Princess Bride isn’t the most oft-quoted movie ever made, it ought to be. Sometimes, I feel like I could speak entirely in quotes from it and make perfect sense in a conversation.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here or on my Facebook page, but it feels like time to give some sort of an update. The 20th of this month will mark one year since Julian’s death. But today is my youngest son’s 13th birthday. For his birthday weekend, we had a fantastic meal at a local microbrewery in Alpine and watched multiple “best” episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a family. (We are working up to “The Best of Both Worlds,” the two-parter in which Picard is captured by the Borg). All in all, it was a good weekend. I’m in a lot of pain much of the time, but I also have joy. It’s not either/or. It’s both.

As we come up on the one-year anniversary (people in my support group sometimes call in the angel-versary), I’m trying very hard not to give the date any importance at all. Dates only have the meaning we give them. There’s nothing special about the fact that Julian died on a March 20th. It doesn’t make the next March 20th anything but another March 20th. Or so I try to remind myself. Most special “dates” I’ve anticipated with dread have turned out to be less terrible than I imagined they would be. Maybe dreading them in my imagination made the reality less awful. I’m not sure.

But when the pain comes–when it’s sharp and fierce and so gut-wrenching that it’s all I can do to keep breathing–doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the date. It’s utterly unpredictable. So I’m doing my best to just let the pain be what it is, when it wants to be there. I can’t seem to schedule or pre-ordain it, so it’s waste of time to try.

Tonight, my husband and I are going to a program with a psychic. Like Julian (or maybe he was like me), I’m a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic about this sort of thing, but at this point, I’m willing to give anything that might give me a small sliver of peace a chance. And I’m not paying for it, so it’s not as though I’m likely to be bilked out of the children’s college fund. At least not in one night!

In a lot of ways, Julian was my best friend. I know I was supposed to be his mother and therefore an authority figure, not a buddy, but it was hard not to have a more collegial relationship with him. We were just so much alike in so many ways–although he was a lot smarter than me when it came to science and math. I know I’m never going to stop grieving for him. In 15 years or 50, there will still be a hole in my heart and there will likely still be days when the pain will overwhelm me.

But life is pain. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.


  • DG June 18, 2015 at 1:44 am

    So incredibly sorry for the loss of Julian!

  • Kris Eton September 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Jackie, I know we have lost touch in the last few years, but I only today learned of the loss of your son. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss and know there is probably nothing anyone can say to take away the pain that lingers in your heart. Know that I am thinking of you, praying for you, and hoping that you can find peace. I know he was a special kid and I know how much you treasured him! Your friend, Kris


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