Two weeks ago, I sat in The Auditorium waiting for the Eureka Springs City Council to kick off its meeting. The agenda on my lap displayed the date ó Nov. 27, 2017. I circled it and wrote a message underneath. ďFour days without Melody,Ē it said.
As many of you know, we lost our graphic designer and dear friend Melody Rust over Thanksgiving. She was one of my best friends. She taught me to be adventurous and creative and to say ďI love youĒ when I felt it. In the week following her death, I wrote a story about her life. I wrote a column about how wonderful she was. I attended her celebration of life.
Then it was over Ö business as usual. The world kept spinning, and we kept putting out newspapers. Realistically, I know thatís how the world works. Life doesnít stop when we lose our loved ones. Everything keeps moving. The Christmas Parade still rolled through downtown Eureka Springs but I couldnít go. I went last year with Melody and another friend. Once it ended, we walked through the residential part of Spring Street admiring all the holiday decor. I couldnít stomach the thought of going to the parade without her. I took a nap at home instead.
I woke up feeling angry and sad. For the most part, thatís how Iíve been feeling since I realized Iíll never see Melody sitting at her desk or corralling her dog Oliver again. I canít count how many times Iíve picked up my phone to call her before remembering she wonít be on the other line. Most of the time, Iím reduced to tears. Iíve cried enough over the past few weeks to fuel a rainstorm. Itís been my own personal storm, the kind that lets up occasionally and strikes back when youíre just starting to feel good again.
This is grief, and itís not good. Lucky me, Iíve been experiencing every stage of grief in waves. Last Wednesday, I pulled a pitcher of water out of the refrigerator and began pouring it into a glass. The lid fell off just as I filled the glass, causing water to fly everywhere. In that moment, I couldnít hold in my anger. I threw the pitcher on the ground, still half-full, and kicked a chair over. ďCan anything go right?!?!Ē I screamed at the pitcher, lying in a puddle of its insides. ďCanít you just pour water the way youíre supposed to?Ē
Then I started sobbing, fell onto the floor and thought of everything I couldíve done differently to keep Melody with those who loved her. Of course thereís nothing I couldíve done. I know I couldnít have saved her. Nobody could have. We all go when itís our time, and it was her time. That doesnít make it feel fair or right. That doesnít make me feel like the world should keep spinning without her.
If it were up to me, it would still be Nov. 27. Iíd still be able to say I spoke with Melody a week ago. Iíd still be grieving, but it would be understandable. It wonít be long before itís a month since we
talked. Then itíll be a year. I still canít grasp how Iím going to live a whole year without her. It doesnít feel real yet. I suppose thatís how grief works. Eventually Iíll come out on the other side. People keep telling me that, so it has to be true.
In the meantime, Iíll be yelling at water pitchers and feeling empty inside. Iím embracing the grief as much as possible, because I want to overcome it. I want to live the way Melody would, full of excitement and adventure. She took on challenges with a smile.
I canít do that yet, but I hope I can someday. I know sheíd want me to.
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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.