Over the course of six months I’ve dealt with a new feeling I’ve never felt before and that’s grief. I haven’t been very open the past six months since losing my brother and while it often hurts me a lot I’ve found comfort in masking my feelings. However, in doing this I’ve built up lots of anger, sadness, and questions. Of course this is no good way to accept death and begin to move past it. To backtrack I’ll share how I found out, whats happened since, and how I’ve been able to overcome this tremendous sadness.
As I look back on this day, never would I have imagined that something so awful would happen to my brother that would end up costing him his life. It was a normal Friday for my family and I, my parents were out of work, I had just gotten home from the gym and my mom asked if I wanted to go shopping with her. I said yes and off we went shopping. While doing this, we split up and I went my way and she went hers. When we met up to leave, my mom showed me a shirt she bought for my brother Jacob for Christmas. Genuinely I was surprised my mom was already thinking about Christmas gifts and especially a gift for Jacob, because every year she would always wait until the last minute and scramble on what gifts to get him. We got home and parted ways to go to sleep.
What started off as a normal morning of letting out our dog Chloe to use the restroom and feeding her turned into a day I don’t ever want to relive. I woke up and began brushing my teeth when I heard someone ring the doorbell at around 8:30 a.m. Immediately our dogs began barking and I heard my mom answer the door. A man asked for the parents of Jacob Rodriguez. My mom rushed to put our dogs away and she went and grabbed my dad to come out to the formal living room to speak with the man. To this day the one thing that I’ll live with forever is hearing the story of what happened to my brother. I was in complete disbelief and I remember my mouth being open because of the state of shock I went into. My parents immediately began to cry so I came into the room and finished talking with the man about what our next steps were. My dad walked away crying uncontrollably. His son, his best friend, his everything died. To this day what makes me most sad is knowing the pain my parents have in their hearts forever from losing their son. When the man left, my mom and I began crying together and we went into their bedroom. We all sat there on the bed crying and holding each other. We made calls and I had to tell my sisters and my other brother. Everyone immediately came over and tears were just being shed uncontrollably.
As I was still in shock over what happened, I wanted to know what exactly happened to Jacob. The man that delivered the news and basically ruined the rest of our lives as we knew it, told us he had been involved in a car accident which also involved another person which was a female. I called the detectives number and in a horrific shock I found out what exactly happened. My heart immediately fell into my stomach and I felt sick. I won’t exactly share what happened but I’ll leave this here.
In the days after this, I was just numb. I wanted to escape from this hell that had been put upon us. Just when everything in our lives was going amazing, something so devastating happened. I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, but why this? Why did Jacob have to make this awful decision that took his life and an innocent persons life? My brother was the sweetest most caring person. He was funny and got along with everyone. He loved his rescue animals with all of his heart. So why him?
Of course we’ll never know why my brother did what he did and although the pain of not knowing haunts us everyday, it’s best that we don’t know. Having to “move on” has been so difficult. We brought in his animals which consists of two dogs, Teddy and Zuko, and one cat, Kiwi. They have been the biggest blessings out of the whole situation. When I look at them I cry because they’ll never know why Jacob never came back home.
A few weeks after we laid him to rest I had to work 10-5 at my job all alone. This day we had awful rainy weather so of course it was empty at my work. I was bored from not having any human interaction so I began remembering things from the past. Because of the weather I remembered back to New Years Eve of 2014 when we woke up to Jacob banging on our dads bedroom door saying, “dad it’s snowing outside!” Nicole and I woke up so fast because we were so excited that it was snowing and we didn’t care that it was 3 in the morning. So outside we went as siblings playing in the fresh snow that was falling in Temecula of all places. We used beach boogie boards as sleds and made snow angels on the street. That’s a memory I’ll never forget as it’s one of my favorites. But as I thought back to that moment, I felt so alone and empty when suddenly the song that played at Jacobs funeral in his slideshow began playing on the stores speakers. I instantly started crying and I knew I wasn’t alone.
For two months I cried every day on my drive home because going home didn’t feel like home anymore.
I used to find the formal living room couches to be so comfortable and the best place to relax and take a nap. But now that room feels cold and the couches are hard. I hate that room. That room will always be the room where we found out what happened to Jacob.
Over time we’ve found peace in this situation. The holidays without him were probably the most difficult. We’ve accepted his death and have began to move forward but we still keep his memory alive everyday. We light a candle everyday in his honor that never runs out.
I miss him so much everyday and I know one day we’ll all be reunited again as a family.