5.6: Empty

Y’know, I’d never really put much thought into what a “New Year” really means until now. Sure, you switch over to a new calendar, and spend the first two months training yourself to write the date properly. Other than that though, January first has always just felt like any other day to me.

But this year feels so different. And not in a good way.

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This is the first year of my life I’ll be living without Luc. Probably the first of many. And it feels so empty without him. Lonely, almost.

And I know how ridiculous that sounds. I spent so many years away from him, with an ocean between us. Why should this feel any different?

But it does. It really does.

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Still, they say a new year is supposed to be a new beginning too, right? And it has been, for some of us.

Clara and Florian are expecting another baby. It was kind of a surprise when they told us… But not an unpleasant one. It’s just complicated. Lots of mixed emotions. We’re all thrilled for them, of course… But I think that’s the problem. It feels so strange to be happy… To be celebrating a new life when we’re all still reeling from the pain of a lost one.

I think it’s something we’re all struggling with right now.

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And Clara and Florian aren’t the only ones with something to celebrate. Gus got accepted into an apprenticeship position at one of the law firms downtown. He’s finally one step closer to becoming a full-fledged lawyer. We’re all so proud of him, and I know he’s proud of himself too, but… There’s just something so sad about celebrating without Luc.

We all feel it.

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I just keep dreaming of the day when things can start feeling normal again. When it feels okay to laugh and celebrate and be happy. When I’m not haunted every day by that last phone call. When I don’t feel Luc watching me in my sleep every night. When I don’t hate myself for all those wasted years.

I’m fighting so hard to keep my head above water right now. To stop myself from drowning in all this. But it’s not easy.

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And watching the people I care about struggling too doesn’t help.

We can’t all be as lucky as Gus and Clara.

Poor Zayne. Ever since his breakdown at Christmas, he’s been having such a hard time. Acting out at school. Withdrawing from his peers. Not smiling as much as he used to.

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Dr. Becker says to keep an eye on him, but that this behavior is pretty normal for someone in Zayne’s shoes. “Working through the grief”, he calls it.

But that doesn’t make it hurt any less to see him like this. I really, really love that kid. The longer I’m around him, the more he’s starting to feel like one of my own. Which also means that seeing him in pain is hurting me more and more.

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And he’s not the only one.

I’m so worried about Papa. We all are. He hasn’t been eating very much, for months now. And he’s been drinking so much more than he ever did before… It’s almost scary. I mean, he’s not doing anything scary. He doesn’t yell or get angry. He doesn’t even drink every night. But when he does, he’s just… not himself.

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We’ve all tried talking to him about it… We try telling him alcohol isn’t the way to solve his problems. And that’s when he gets angry. He won’t listen to any of us. He won’t let us help him. I don’t know how much longer I can stand seeing him like this.

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And you know what the worst part is?

There are days when it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. To just drink until the pain stops. Until the terrible thoughts fade away. Until nothing matters anymore. Until I can pretend to be happy again.

Because I realized something recently.

I haven’t been happy for years. Years.

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Don’t get me wrong – my girls bring me so much joy. They’re my whole world. My life wouldn’t be the same without them.

But deep down inside, the happiness just isn’t there. And it hasn’t been for a long time. Not since before I moved to Willow Creek. I can see it all so much more clearly now.

At first I was just plain angry. At my family. At Mark. At myself

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Then the sadness came. I think it lasted even longer than the anger.

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After that, it was the guilt. It was overwhelming. Like I was drowning in it.

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But now?

Now I just feel empty.

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39 thoughts on “5.6: Empty

    1. He’s definitely headed down a slippery slope! 😦 He’s actually more of a sad/sloppy drunk though… Which is still rather unpleasant for the family to see :-/ (The angry/mean part is sober-Tobi getting defensive. He’s so not ready to admit that this is becoming a problem… *sigh*)

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  1. Hahahaha nice little speech for Joce there 😛 I agree with most of what you say here. Jocelyne definitely did this to herself. She only has herself to blame for her current situation.

    However, I wouldn’t say that she’s necessarily making herself the victim. I think there’s definitely a bit of feeling sorry for herself going on, but at the heart of things, she really just hates herself and is angry at herself for her mistakes, and I think on a subconscious level, she’s punishing herself by not ALLOWING herself to feel happiness. She’s trapped in a vicious cycle.

    That’s the only reason I’m disagreeing with the victim part — to me, someone acting like a victim makes it sound like they are not acknowledging their own mistakes. And with Joce, it’s the opposite — she’s basically drowning in self-blame and self-hatred right now. And she wants it to stop, but she doesn’t know how. Hopefully she’ll figure it out though…

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    1. Well, you don’t necessarily have to agree with me either 😛 Once my chapters are published, it’s pretty much fair game to interpret my characters’ thoughts/actions how you want 🙂 I was just offering my perspective on things.

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  2. I am a little confused at Tobi’s behavior. I get he is hurting. They all are, but he doesn’t seem to be able to deal with it. Is this because he saw Luc after he died? He just can’t get that vision out of his head? It certainly would be haunting. A lot of people have to hit rock bottom in order to realize they need to take control. I hope he doesn’t have to go that far down, it will only cause more suffering.

    I hope Jocelyn is finally getting there as well – rock bottom. She has been in self induced misery for a very long time and is beginning to recognize it for what it is. Time to start living your life Jocelyn. Only you can get rid of the empty.

    All of them have to try to move on as horrible as that sounds. They have to know Luc and Hazel would want them to live their lives and be happy and ensure Zayne doesn’t suffer. Hopefully he isn’t feeling the overwhelming depression and sadness that is pervasive in the household right now and that is part of what is contributing to his anger.

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    1. Yes, the heart of Tobi’s drinking is from being haunted by the image of Luc’s body. He literally sees it daily. Like a hallucination, almost. The drinking helps to make it go away… :-/

      And yes, Jocelyne is very very slowly realizing that she needs to move forward and allow herself happiness. She’s the one in control of whether she’s miserable. No one else. I don’t think she 100% sees that yet, but she’s making baby steps haha.

      And I don’t think it’s horrible, it’s true. They need to move forward with their lives and get past their grief. It’s taking time, but most of them are headed that way… Tobi and Joce are probably the two who are struggling the most to move on 😦

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  3. Yeah…feeling empty sucks. It’s a terrible feeling, but it’s not completely a bad thing. Emptiness creates space for new feelings to come and fill that space…hopefully good ones. *glares at author*

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  4. I love the flow of pictures in this. From the everyday looking at all the couples caught in grief (btw I WANT Jocelyne’s sweater so bad) to her memories and reflections, and then back to the current again. Angry Tobi is kind of scarey. Have we ever really seen him angry before? It was normally Stefan and Mari. Lots of good realizations from Joce here, it’s about time. 🙂

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    1. #TeamBabySteps for Joce haha. She’s slowly starting to understand/accept the situation. 🙂 And yeah, we’ve only ever really seen Tobi like once or twice. He’s not normally a hot-head. But boy, is he defensive about his drinking… :-/

      I’m glad you enjoyed the screenshots 🙂

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  5. I feel like no good can come of wallowing in sadness for too long. Luc and Hazel’s death was horrible and so goddamn heartbreaking, but I don’t believe they should feel guilty for being happy! They deserve to still have a great life and live out to the fullest, even after a tragedy like this.

    I’m looking at you, too, Tobi. This is not the way to live.

    Also, I think the reason why this year without Luc is different because Joce knows that she can’t take it all back and speak to him. At least in the previous years, she knew that he would still be there once she decided to forgive. But, now? Now, it’s too late and she can’t change it.

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    1. That is so true. They need to start moving forward. I think Tobi and Joce are the two who are gonna have the hardest time doing that :-/

      And yeah, Joce is really being hit with the fact that it’s too late to fix the past.:(

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  6. Awwwww, poor Joce! Poor Tobi! I agree that feeling empty sucks. They should learn to move forward. I’m beginning to question Tobi and Lettie’s parenting. Did they discipline their children enough?

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    1. I’m not sure what you mean about disciplining their children or how it relates to the chapter? Haha. But yes, the whole family definitely needs to move forward! Hopefully they can, in time 🙂

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      1. What I meant was did Lettie and Tobi set any punishments if the catch their children do anything wrong? Did they set any curfews? I hope this clear things up, but I’m SURE they’re wonderful parents.

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        1. I’m sure they disciplined their children and set boundaries for sure 🙂 I just don’t know how their parenting affects what’s happening now with Joce haha

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  7. I’m sorry for you Joce, but you will probably be feeling like this for a looong time. With Luc and your dad and Zayne… Not easy times ahead. It’s now that you need Marks companionship:D

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    1. I love that you were able to turn this around in a pro-Marklyne moment hehehe.

      No but seriously, it will most definitely take her a long time to heal from all this sadness 😦 Hopefully she can learn to move forward soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Things are never easy in life but drowning in the bottle only add to the situation. Poor Tobi needs to get his life in order. I hope she and Mark find some sort of happy place together or apart .. they both deserve it .. they were robbed of love by circumstance.

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  9. Oh my goodness! I caught up without even realizing and I’m filled with such sadness at the loss of Luc and Hazel. Is Joce truly over Mark or will she decide he is what she and Zayne both need in their lives? Part of me wonders if Joce will be over to overcome everything on her own, though I feel like deep down Joce loves to love and be loved, she does want that and maybe Mark really is her soulmate? Time will tell…I CANNOT WAIT!

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    1. I’m glad you caught up! 🙂 Thank you so much for reading! You ask great questions about Joce’s feelings, as well as the future of her and Mark (or maybe not a future). Like you said, time will tell! Things are really rough right now. Hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight! 🙂

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    1. Thank you! That’s very kind of you to say 🙂 My character’s personalities/development is probably the part of the story I work hardest on, so I get very happy when I get positive feedback about them. ^_^

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  10. I have too many thoughts. Jocelyne has definitely been in a depressed state which can cause isolation, irritation, and emptiness. She needs help, just like Mari did, or nothing will get better. She’ll continue the cycle, and she has to get better for the people around her if not for herself.

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  11. Her opening paragraph actually reminded me of something I wrote for one of my books. Let me find it:
    Twenty, I never understood what the big deal about a new year was. It’s just the time where I’m constantly scribbling out the last digit of the date to fix it. Seventeen, I suppose the concept of a resolution is positive, but nobody ever follows through. New Years is a time of forgotten promises. Fourteen, maybe I’m just pessimistic about the whole thing.

    It goes on, the numbers are because she’s counting down lol
    The beginning of this gen is so depressing. I’m gonna need a drink after this too, Joce, and I don’t/can’t even drink alcohol.

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