I’ve experienced this feeling many times in my life. Feelings that I’ve been somewhere before, knew where something was, or knew how things would end up....even while being damned sure that I’d neither actually been there or done that.
The problem with deja vu is that you never expect it. It just happens. You can be going along your merry way, planning a vacation, a trip, a move....and that sense that something might just come along and bite you in the ass again happens.
Those close to me know about my friend Jon. I’ve told them about how we met, and about why we had to say goodbye. But what I don’t talk to anyone about is those last few months that we were together. How hard it was to watch him hurting, trying to hold back his tears, his anger and his frustration.... and how awful it was being unable to do anything to make him smile. How difficult it was to watch him struggle to hold a pencil or a paintbrush, and the sick feeling in my stomach I’d get when Gerry would call me and tell me that Jon wasn’t feeling well enough today “to entertain”. That was Gerry’s code for Jon was in a lot of pain and didn’t want me to see him like that. I hurt for him when he couldn’t cut food, hold a fork, tie his shoes, or brush his teeth by himself. I tried to understand, accept, and be graceful about things, but it always irked me a little that Gerry was there for Jon while I couldn’t be. I was with them both enough to see the changes happening in Jon. And I was there enough that I began to feel useless in my inability to take the pain away from him. I was angry at Jon for getting sick. And then I was angry with myself for thinking that way. To those that have ever watched a loved one deteriorate to the point where they are no longer comfortable around you because of their pride, and push you away in their embarrassment, you’ll understand.
I think this is where I probably developed my aversion for causing pain to anyone....and my subsequent affinity for becoming a magnet for those that need help dealing with pain. I felt as if my very presence reminded Jon of what he couldn’t do anymore and that simply being around him hurt him. And because I couldn’t help him, I reached out to others who were in pain and tried to help them instead. I re-focused what I couldn’t do for Jon into something that I could do for others.
I rarely show the pain that I sometimes still feel when I think about those last days together. I hold onto that one for myself. I thought it made me stronger. Keeping the pain inside me like a shield against feeling anything of the sort again. And it worked for a while.
Until I met Daddy. And until today. When I had that sense of deja vu. It's nothing of the same sort of course. But it did give me a rather odd twinge when Daddy made nearly the same joke that Jon did when he first told Gerry and I about his diagnosis. And I’m really trying to remember that even when you feel a sense of deja vu, there’s still always a point where you still have no idea what comes next. And whatever it is, this time I know that I'm not going anywhere.