Occasionally, the little munchkin and I will go out for dinner instead of staying at home on a weekday. I would still cook but not that often since it’s just me and the little one. Most of the time when we go out, he would order his mac and cheese. It’s interesting to see how different restaurants interpret their own version of mac and cheese. I think he had tasted them all. He’s my little creature of habit.
After our meal, I brought him inside the public bathroom for potty time. As I was cleaning him up, he looked up to me and started talking:
With all the things that I have on my plate, I’m filing my taxes so late. Thank God for the extension. While I was working on my 2011 taxes, I’d just stopped to listen to the music that was playing on my macbook. It was “Without You,” from the musical Rent. Most of the time there are songs that just speaks to you.
WITHOUT YOU by Jonathan Larson
Without you, the ground thaws, the rain falls, the grass grows.
Without you, the seeds root, the flowers bloom, the children play.
The stars gleam, the poets dream, the eagles fly, without you.
The earth turns, the sun burns, but I die, without you.
Without you, the breeze warms, the girl smiles, the cloud moves.
Without you, the tides change, the boys run, the oceans crash.
The crowds roar, the days soar, the babies cry, without you.
The moon glows, the river flows, but I die, without you.
The world revives—
But I know blue, only blue, lonely blue, within me blue.
Without you, the hand gropes, the ear hears, the pulse beats.
Without you, the eyes gaze, the legs walk, the lungs breathe.
The mind churns!
The mind churns!
The heart yearns! Mimi
The heart yearns!
The tears dry, without you.
Life goes on, but I’m gone.
Cause I die, without you.
I’d always loved reading books. I could go on for days just reading. Steve loved it, too. We could be sitting side by side reading a book. But we do have different taste in books. He prefers nonfiction and I prefer fiction works. But these days, it seems I have a lot less time for reading. Whenever I can, I try to read a few pages at a time to read a book.
Here are some of the books that I’m currently reading or planning to read:
“No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving The Suicide Of A Loved One,” by Carla Fine.
“Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide,” by Kay Redfield Jamison.
“Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief,” by Pauline Boss.
These books had been inspiring me to continue on writing down my thoughts. Maybe, I’ll write a book someday but that’s too far ahead and that thought scares me. Again, one day at a time.
The last set of books that Steve had been reading were:
“Red on Red: A Novel,” by Edward Conlon
“Blood Lessons.” by Charles Remberg
“The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda,” by Peter Bergen
“A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose,”by Eckhart Tolle
In the 80 days that Steve had been missing, I’d always anticipated that he’ll be coming back home. But sometimes, it felt like that the probability of Steve coming back was nil. There were times I’d felt uneasiness in the pit of my stomach because I had no idea where he was.
The longest time Steve and I were apart was when he was training to become an FBI Special Agent. We didn’t see each other for two months and yet, we called each other almost everyday. After that, I would visit or stay with him. I knew then where he was and he was doing something really important for himself and I supported that. We always supported each other’s career. We both believe that a person’s work should be something that you enjoy. It should be more than just a job.
One of the things that has been helping me to live through “this” is my work. There are days that it’s a struggle to get up in the morning but because I’m working, I have something to look forward to. I have a reason to get myself together aside from my precious little one, regardless of my pain.
The unexpected kindness from my colleagues at work was overwhelming. They respected my privacy in spite of the very public way our family’s tragedy had been unfolding. And my bosses. I’ll never forget what one of my bosses said to me when I told him that I needed another week to be off to take care of the funeral arrangements:
“Just take care of what you needed to do for yourself and your family. You don’t have to worry about work. Whenever you’re ready, we’re here to welcome you with open arms.” I bawled after that.
It is important to me because my work allows me to contribute however small that is to something beautiful, something that makes people happy. And that’s one the things that gives meaning to my life right now.
Steve has been found. Some people might think that it should have been enough for me. That I’m lucky somebody had found him. I’m very aware of that because I’d searched for him and in my search and reaching out for assistance, I’d learned about the statistics for missing persons. I’d been through the agonizing days of not knowing where he was. And I wish that the families of missing persons would be able to find their loved ones soon, too. But I hope not in the way that I did.
Why am I still here? Sharing my thoughts? It’s quite unlikely that people will find what I write entertaining. I don’t really know where this is going. The two months of silence to take care of personal business has been building up. And I realized that this time, it’s for me. I needed to do this for myself. Also, this website is a testimony of my search for Steve. There will come a time when my son has grown up, he’ll have questions about his Dad. Lastly, I want to be able to speak about the issues that are important to me. Issues that people tend to have difficulty understanding and even discussing: missing persons, depression, suicide and workplace bullying. Maybe this is something that touches you, too.
When Steve was still missing, we were advised to focus on just the search for Steve. Any other issues will be dealt with later. Our fear of not ever finding Steve silenced me, silenced my family. Until now, there are things that I may not be able to share for self-preservation. And I expect people will respect that.
To those who continue to pray for Steve and our family, I’m eternally grateful for your kindness. Knowing that people cared, really cared and extended their assistance to me and my family without any agenda is important to me. In spite of this tragedy, I recognize that there are blessings that still comes my way. In spite of the uncertainty and despair that I feel, I do yearn for hope. I still choose to live. Living for today, one day at a time.