Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Sitting atop my side of the closet are multiple boxes filled, packed, jammed w/ cards. Cards filled w/ emotion, love, and devotion. Cards you'll never see. Roughly half written by Jill to me. The balance in my handwriting. Cards I may never look at again.
Jill always had a fondness for the handwritten word. She liked to receive personalized cards almost as much as she liked to give them.
I, on the other hand, have always been apathetic toward the Hallmark concocted business model at best. Why write it when you can just say it...and save $3.79?
Well, when you find yourself falling unexpectedly fast for someone w/ this affinity, you head to Target, spend much too much time trying to narrow in on the perfect card, pick it up, grab a pen, and do your damnedest to write something heartfelt...and legible.
For every occasion - both established and fabricated.
(It's probably worth noting here that while neither of us run short on appreciation, Jill and I both su-uck at writing thank-you cards. Jill admits as such in this video post. But, just b/c you may not get a written thank-you from us, it doesn't mean we are any less appreciative of you.)
And while I remain unenthusiastic about the greeting card racket, I always took this process seriously. Which isn't surprising, really. What propelled me between the walls of card stock was a genuine love for Jilly. I wouldn't be there otherwise. So, if I was doing the card thing, I was going to do it right.
Judging by Jilly's responses, I often-to-always did it right.
I can't recall a time where I picked up a card in haste, scribbled "Love, Jas" on the inside, and flipped it to Jilly. As far as I can remember, it never went down like that. If Jill was getting a card from me, it was going to be dense w/ truth and sincere appreciation for my best friend.
All that being said, the line had to be drawn somewhere.
I drew that line (in Sharpee) at birthday invitations.
Why do twelve 4-year-olds need to receive physical birthday invitations to our daughter's birthday party? (Evite, baby. Evite.)
According to Jill, "Because it's exciting to get mail in the mailbox. Everyone loves that!" She expressed this w/ such childlike glee and conviction that I knew I'd never win this battle. So, more often than not, birthday invitations hit the mailboxes.
For the first several years of our official coupledom, November served as the month to quarrel over holiday cards.
"Why do we need to send people updates of our lives? If we care enough or they care enough - if either of us cares enough, we've found the time to get these updates throughout the year. If you're reliant on an end-of-year highlights' card, maybe you need to evaluate your relationships." I preached this w/ confidence and a dash of force.
"This is what you do," Jill responded exasperated (veiled in poise and calmness).
"This is what you do. I don't know this," I retorted.
"Well, this is what we do now." Check and mate.
And while I put up futile fights in subsequent years, the Lustberg New Year's cards have become our winter mass mailing staple. (And if you don't receive one, it's very likely b/c I don't have your current address.)
I found myself at our mailbox late one afternoon last week for a quick pickup.
Like most (I assume), what awaits me inside the mailbox is rarely anything of significant interest or surprise. (Bills do not qualify for either of these categories.)
However, what finds its way into my hands on seemingly random occasions is junk mail.
We all get it.
But, I assume I'm the only one that gets junk mail addressed to...
"Jill M. Lustberg"
"Jill Marie Lustberg"
Big deal, right? Pick it up. Glance. Pitch it. No harm.
Every time I have a piece of this junk in my hand it's a reminder. Not that Jill's not here. I get that. I get that all the time. All the fucking time.
No. Holding that junk w/ her name staring back up at me reminds me of the obvious truth that not everyone on this planet is aware that my Jilly is gone. That there are people in this world that have continued to go about their lives since November 12, 2014 as if something tragic, something catastrophic, something universe altering has not occurred.
How is this possible?
Practically, I'm not (completely) a moron. I get it.
But, this is not my space for practicality. This is (clearly) my emotional outlet.
I think it comes back to that theme I've hit on previously. The little things. The unexpected little things that carry more weight and continue to catch me off guard.
This junk mail serves as a subtle slap in my face. "The world didn't stop spinning b/c you lost your best friend. Shit, most of us don't even know about it."
I can't imagine a time where I'll ever come to terms w/ this truth.
Instead, I'll continue to take conscious, careful steps down the driveway to what may await - junk mail addressed to someone who no longer lives here.
J, J, & r