I went to my first wake and funeral this past Sunday/Monday since Charlie’s and it drummed up some abnormal emotions for me. My wife’s uncle, my uncle, Jim Pesoli was laid to rest at the age of 57. This man fought and beat cancer, endured a bone marrow transplant, multiple heart attacks, a stroke, valley fever, and a blood platelet disease over almost 40 years of the 57 he spent alive. Uncle Jim was a fighter. What he lacked in physicality he more than made up for with determination, stubbornness, and –most importantly– love. Cancer is a motherfucker, we all know this. Jim stared it down four times and gave it the middle finger each time. But that wasn’t enough for my man Jim Pesoli. He said all of the chemo, radiation, and procedures never came close to hurting as much as the first time he saw the kids in the oncology department. So he decided to start Kids Fight Cancer. A charity to help kids do just that. Fight cancer. Jim was a great man with a beautiful soul. He always put himself last and others first. The last year and a half was painful watching the body of a man I know and love slowly break down from the forty years of fighting. I’ll never forget how sick he looked at Charlie’s wake. He was actually in the hospital at the time and was unable to get released to attend the wake and funeral. But his love for Charlie, Vanessa, and myself coupled with his stubbornness and determination effectively gave his doctors that middle finger again and he was there for us. James Pesoli was a great man and one that everyone should aspire to be like.
Kneeling over Jim at the wake and the morning of the funeral felt like a tidal wave of emotion crashing down on me. I tried to prepare myself for this surge but my preparation proved to be futile. Seeing the casket as I walked in felt like I was reliving Charlie’s wake. I was in a state of shock during Charlie’s wake/funeral so my true emotions were unconsciously suppressed to help me cope. They were definitely not for Uncle Jim’s wake/funeral.
I’ve been struggling with a wide range of emotions and thoughts the past eight months. This past week has not only magnified these thoughts and emotions but they also introduced some new ones. (These may be alarming and difficult to understand but you must remember that my life is alarming and even more difficult to understand. My thought process and feelings are abnormal. I know I’m kind of crazy and the guilt I feel for some of these feelings is immeasurable. It’s a side effect of losing my son.)
I’m jealous of Uncle Jim. Yep, you read that correctly. I want to be in heaven with Charlie and I am jealous of Jim b/c he gets to be there. Do you know what I find to be great about today? I’m one day closer to being with Char again. I don’t know when that day will come but it will come and I find solace in knowing that I’m at least one day closer to it. It’s one of the tricks I play on my mind to get me out of bed each day. When I heard that Jim had passed I was initially jealous. I wrote my last post the day after Jim died and it scared a lot of people close to me b/c it seemed a little suicidal. Naturally, it was a little more emotionally charged than most of my recent posts b/c it was my first loss of someone I loved since Charlie. Let me be clear with everyone. I do not want to die. I’m just jealous that Jim is in heaven hangin with Charlie and I’m down here desperately seeking some sort of attachment to Char.
I was relieved when I got the news that Jim had passed away and I hate myself for it. I loved this man and I hate knowing that the next family party is going to now be missing two people. I hate admitting that I’m relieved he’s in heaven. Especially after watching his wife and sons go through their loss. Watching Jim’s parents, Babe and Popi, have to endure losing their son killed me b/c I know their pain and it is, without question, the worst kind of pain. But knowing that my guy Jim is up there with Charlie filled me with a sense of relief because I’ve always been afraid that Charlie didn’t know anyone in heaven. My grandma passed away when Charlie was only a year and a half so he didn’t really know her. Char knew Jim and it made us feel a little better knowing that Uncle Jim was up there hanging with Charlie again. Jim had an uncanny ability to make everyone feel comfortable, safe, and welcomed. I know he’s looking over and protecting my Charlie until I get up there and it makes me feel relieved.
The guilt I have for feeling the way I do is immense. I felt guilty at Jim’s wake/funeral b/c all I could think about was Charlie. Before the funeral service began, the family was able to say one last goodbye before the casket would be closed. When I walked up to pay my final respects I noticed an orange “Charlie” bracelet on Jim’s hand and I lost it. During the funeral service all I could think about were the impending Prayers of the Faithful. When the time came and the first couple of prayers were read I wasn’t really listening. My body began to shake uncontrollably as I knew it was getting closer to me hearing, “For those who have died. Especially (name I forget), (name I forget), (name I forget), and Charlie Tobin. Let us pray to the Lord.” This absolutely gutted me. I accidentally let out an audible sob and buried my face into my hands. I was convulsing as I was trying to catch my breath without openly wailing. I haven’t cried that hard in a long time. I guess hearing it in church makes it more absolute or final for me. It’s further proof that this is indeed not a bad dream.
Like I’ve said 100’s of times before, everything is different now. I can’t go and mourn the death of a loved one without being completely consumed with Charlie. Instead of being only sad over the loss of a loved one I become jealous of them and feel relieved that they’re in heaven with Charlie. I hate myself for having these feelings and I wish I could apologize to Uncle Jim for them. But I know he’d tell me to never apologize for these feelings I have, give me a big hug with his new found strength, and assure me that he’s taking care of Char. And I would believe him b/c he took care of everyone else first and himself last.