This morning, while riding the shuttle on the way to work, I stupidly began reading a personal history piece in the New Yorker about parents discovering that their infant daughter had a brain tumor. The beautifully written albeit tragic prose, combined with the gorgeous and haunting Antlers’ new album was just too much for me, and brought me to the brink, as has been happening more recently as of late.
I thought that the pain and the tears would subside with time; a feeling that was accompanied by both relief and guilt. Relief from the constant feelings of sadness, and guilt for the fact that if I would no longer be constantly pained by these feelings that I would in some way be letting Gilad down, and somehow forgetting him. A silly thought – especially considering his insistence during his final weeks that we need to be able to move on with our lives post his – but a thought nonetheless.
But the feelings are still here, and every time I feel one, I’m filled with both intense sadness and a hint of happiness. Sadness for our loss of Gilad, and his loss of a future, but also happiness that he’s still in my heart and mind on a daily basis. Just the other day Elana and I were in CVS picking out Father’s Day cards to send out (it’s in the mail, Aba) and I mistakenly picked up a card to be given to a brother, congratulating him on being a fantastic father. And the feelings washed over me again – this time not the generic sadness of missing him, but the more original fear that we all had when Gilad was dying – how could it possibly be that Gilad would not grow old, have his own family, and live a full life? That was the fact that I could never really cope with, and it was the feeling that came back in full force while standing there with my wife.
Tomorrow night, we’ll be heading to see the Eddie Vedder show. I’ve only seen him once, at an unbelievable show in 2009 which I attended with both Gilad and Ezra. Pearl jam holds a special place in the heart and minds of us brothers, and this first PJ-related event post-Gilad is going to be tough. And I’m just going to have to add missing going to Pearl Jam concerts with him to the already too long list of things I miss doing with him. I’ll miss guessing the songs just as Eddie starts the first chord just like I already miss discussing the new album with him – as he was always able to have a truly honest opinion to contrast my somewhat fanboy love for anything they put out. I miss chatting with him online while we check out the setlists from other shows – rueing missing those shows because of the rarities they played, and discussing our wishlist (wink) for our show. This time around, Gilad doesn’t get to go to a show.
Thankfully, I happen have the most amazing wife in the world, who not only puts up with my concert-going, but happens to be an uber-music-fan herself – especially with regard to Pearl Jam. And there’s no one else in the world I’d rather have by my side at this show, her first EV solo show. And even though we’ll both be missing Gilad, as he certainly would’ve made this trip up to Boston for the show, we’ll be doing exactly what he asked us to do; move on with our lives, continue living, and be ok.
I didn’t pick that article back up on the ride to work, and I’m not sure I’ll have the capacity to finish it. I’ll never know if that infant survived and right know, I think I can handle not knowing. Just like I can handle dealing with the day-to-day sadness of missing Gilad. Because even though we miss you Gilad, we’re doing our best to be ok.
Pearl Jam – Wishlist