It’s kind of bittersweet. The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart. -Yakov Smirnoff
The reception is beautiful. Siroi lilies sit in blue vases along the edge of the casket. My casket. I think it’s bittersweet. April would have liked that. Maybe she had something to do with it. Everyone is beautiful. Dressed for mourning. I wish they had a happier occasion to dress for. Bittersweet. My mother wears a sad smile and tear stained blush. I know she loved me, even if she didn’t fight to show it. Bittersweet. She gets up to speak, her words are practiced, but they tremble. She’s crying silent tears again.
“Jude Klassen.. My sweet, sweet boy. He had a heart, he did. Too big for his chest, really. When he was ten years old he and I took a weekend holiday to England—and it rained the whole time, and I complained the whole time..” She laughs sadly. “But Jude.. Jude insisted we go out and see the city regardless. There was a little boy sitting in the park, soaking wet and I.. I admit that I was going to walk right past him—but Jude..” She has to stop to collect herself. My sweet mother.
“Jude took off his raincoat and ran out from under our umbrella, and he handed it to the boy, and he sa-said, ‘It’s my favourite. But I think it looks better on you’. And when Jude fell asleep that night, I sat on the edge of his bed and I cried.. because at ten years old, he cared enough to give away something he loved to someone he didn’t know. Just so they would be warm for a night. And I, at thirty four didn’t even stop to look at boy sitting alone in a city park in the rain. Jude was always a better, a stronger person than I. Than most. He would take all the pain in the world onto his shoulders if it meant that everyone else was happy. Especially those he loved..” And bless my mother’s heart, she looks at Liam.
The service continues, but before she sits down, she pulls out a few envelopes from her pocket and walks them over to my group of friends in the front row. One to Austin. One to Chloe. One to Jake. And one to Liam. Chance already has his.
There are a few others I recognize from the clinic. A blonde girl, Sylvia. She looks sad, and I think I thank her for coming. For caring. I wish her the best in her recovery. I laugh, I think, when I see Christian; smile, and shake his hand. Tell him that’s it’s okay he’s an asshole sometimes. That’s how people handle pain. I think I smile at the sight of Delinda, her soft face twisted in mourning. I thank her, too, for being there. For being there. For all she’s been through lately and the heart she still holds inside of her.
I find Austin, beside Chloe. I think my heart aches, in a good way now. He holds her close, protective. I think I hug him. Tell him that he’s going to be a wonderful father to Matthew, a wonderful husband to Chloe one day. That I know he’ll keep her safe in ways I couldn’t. And Chloe. I think I tell her I’m sorry I was selfish, and simply that I love her, and I love Matthew. I think I kiss her forehead and hold her hands and promise that it’s always darkest before the dawn. Just beside them, I see Jake. He’s hurt, angry. He has every right to be and I think I tell him, you saved me. Just not the way he thought he would, not the way he wanted to.
The music is soft, it’s quiet, now. A Lucy Rose song I used to listen to with Liam. He’s beautiful, even in tears and sadness. I think I say I love you. I’m sorry I hurt you like this. I miss you just as much as you miss me. I think I say that one day you’ll be happy again, Liam. One day your smile will come back for real. One day you’ll find love better for you than mine was. Let me go. I think I kiss him one last time. Chance is sitting beside him. He reaches over and takes his hand, and gives him a look I recognize well. I think I smile again. I think I tell him thank you, for everything you have done, and everything you will do. Thank you for keeping my heart safe and kissing the scars. I think, fill the inside empty. You’re the only one who can.
Yeah, they will be okay. They will all be okay because they have someone to hold their head up when their hearts are heavy. Bittersweet. I think I say Goodbye.
Don’t you worry // Lucy Rose
Healed enough. That was the phrase they used to deem him worthy of being discharged from the hospital and readmitted to the clinic. Healed enough. Jude stood before his mirror, shirtless and staring at his new battle scar. Deeper, uglier than those self inflicted injuries littering his chest. There was a moment, where he smiled. Where the sight of this scar wasn’t weighted down because this scar… This scar had saved Liam’s life. Just like Liam had saved his. Healed enough.
The smile faded to nothing. How can one be deemed healed enough? Didn’t they know? Didn’t they see? The seas behind his dark chocolate eyes; the scars inflicted from the demons swimming in those waters? The pain behind every breath he managed to force in and out of his lungs? The gravity behind every word he said, genuine? Didn’t they know? Jude Klassen never healed. He was always deemed healed enough, but he never healed. Not physically. Not mentally. Not fully. No, the wounds just reopened by trigger, by blade, by breath. His thoughts flickered dangerously over each resurrection of his battle scars. Of the thoughts and feelings that caused them. Of his own hopelessness. Jude tried to save everyone he could. Anyway he could. He was Jude, the Patron Saint Of Lost Causes. But he was never healed enough to save himself.
The little orange bottle of Vicodin felt familiar in his hand. He had been here once before. Empty eyes stared back at him from the reflection of a person he didn’t recognize in the mirror. Uncapped. Tossed back. Chased with the remainder of a Jack Daniels. The razor was cold as it bit into his skin. One bite on each wrist. Then two. Four. Twelve. Deeper than the scar that saved Liam’s life. These would end his own. He stumbled back, back against wall, head against tile and he watched as the light danced in and out of focus. Whispered to the pair of green eyes that he begged to still love him, always, “Forgive me, for I was never strong enough to find the happiness you needed me to be.”
The fading lights pulled him under the surface of the dark waters in his mind as the demons over came him from the inside out. Slowly suffocated him with the pain. Shoulders held under by the gravity. Breathing in every wave of tragedy. Drowning. Drowning. Drowning. Anchored down by the loss of light instead of his light houses. He should have died so many times before.
Life let him win this time. Offered a sweet surrender, affectionate death. Finally, Jude Klassen was free.
He was no longer a caged bird with no direction; he was no longer a son, a fiance, a best friend, a flower, a fighter. No longer jumping but jumped. Jude was no longer anything but an empty body battered by conflict and self destruction. He was a memory, bittersweet with the gravity of loss to those who cared enough to remember he ever existed; because now he didn’t.
Jake licked his lips slowly while he listened carefully to Jude. When his roommate had finished all he could think about was how much that didn’t make sense to him. How could it only make sense to him? It was pretty logical, even his Aunt agreed. It was Jake’s fault and he deserved to be dead. He didn’t say anything for a moment, looking at the ground in front of him. He didn’t know what to say. No matter what he said everyone always told him otherwise. After another moment or two of silence he finally cleared his throat. His voice was still quiet and had a slur to it, “The word lucky shouldn’t describe what I am.” His voice grew louder, but not in an angry type of tone, “I carry the guilt around with me every single day. T-the only thing that really makes anything slightly better is when I can help someone else from killing themselves or hurting themselves. But it’s nearly impossible in here.” He recalled the group therapy session and his secret. “As you might already know or have guessed.. I’m afraid of losing anyone else due to death. I can handle someone telling me they never want to see me or talk to me or whatever, but if someone were to die and I couldn’t stop it.” He paused for a moment, taking in a deep breath, “I’ll lose it.” He pulled the bottle to his lips, chugging the remainder of his drink. After swallowing what was in his mouth, he let out a long sigh.
Jude shook his head, down the remainder of his drink and slamming the glass down on the floor in front of him. “You should feel guilty, Jake. Because you’re fucking letting them down by treating yourself like this,” he snapped, angry, slightly slurred. “I realize that you’re scared of losing people you care about, I’m worried about the same thing. I’m scared of that every fucking day with Liam, I’m scared of that with Chloe, and I’m scared of that with you. Constantly, asshole. We’ve both got this nice hero complex, but listen. You saved my life. You saved someone. And I wasn’t even there in time to save you. So don’t, Jake. Your debt has been repaid. I’m still breathing because of you. Keep breathing for me. Stop feeling guilty for me; if you aren’t going to do that for yourself.” His voice was bitter, warm with the alcohol. A deep sigh left his lungs, causing his head to fall back against the side of his bed. “So many people love you, Jack. I fucking love you. Don’t let me down,” he whispered.
I know! There’s always all of these obsticals between them! And they should just be together! ALWAYS. LIKE YOU AND I. YOU ARE THE ROSS TO MY RACHEL, JUDE.
Glad I get to be Dick!Ross, thanks babe. Then again, you are the pretty one, so it makes sense that you’re Rachel. I love you, and your precious dimples.
Don’t wait at the airport for him.. Ross, you dick. You can’t do that!
Argh, Ross frustrates me. This episode every time. I just want to through my entire hospital bed at him.
I don’t know.. maybe it’s all the medicine, and I haven’t been out in so long, my stitches ripped open last night- I just feel like shit.
Babe.. that’s no good. Let me help you, how can I help you.. Please..
I should be so happy..
Why aren’t we happy, amour?
Seriously?! You know what she’s done to me!
Yes, I do! But you’re no better than her, if you’re doing this shit.
If I could get my head together, I wouldn’t be in this hell hole. I was drunk, alright? We’ll blame it on the alcohol.
I don’t even know what to say to you right now. You shouldn’t have, Chloe..