Unsure of how to begin the search for answers to the night's unexpected developments, I decided to rely on the only form of research I felt I was truly qualified in-- Facebook stalking. Although I hadn't had a Facebook for a few years, I had once been quite skilled in the art.
I had not visited Jason's Facebook page since his death. I hated the idea of seeing our friends and family mourning from behind their screens and smiling pictures. Instead, I had deleted my own account a few weeks later.
I could still remember, though that his profile picture was one take on our honeymoon. We were seated poolside, me leaning comfortably back against his chest. Something must have been happening just off camera, because our heads were slightly turned and we were both laughing. A copy of the picture sat on the dresser across from me.
In seeing the photo, I was always struck by the fact that the two joy-filled subjects were strangers to me. It was almost as though in taking the photograph we had given ourselves the permission to forget the moment. I couldn't remember what it was the couple was laughing at. I had no recollection of what the girl had planned for the day or if her husband's chin resting gently against her shoulder still pulled so much of her attention.
I could remember one Saturday morning, waking up before Jason and watching as the light from the window above our bed played gently across his sleeping face. I could almost word for word repeat a ridiculous fight we had once had over cereal brands. But it was the most well-documented moments that had faded the fastest, as the people in their frames seemed to grow more distant with time.
After paying the babysitter and checking in on Ella, I showered and changed into an old t-shirt. I curled up on my bed and pulled my laptop off of the nightstand. Opening Facebook, I clicked "Create An Account" and input the minimum details required. After re-acclimating myself to the online world, I typed Jason's name into the search bar. Instead of the laughing photo, a list of search options stared back at me. I scrolled through them, an entire list of Jason Mackenzie's smiled from the screen. But none of them were my Jason.
Confused, I tried typing the name into my Google search bar. Jason Mackenzie had won the final wrestling match of his senior year two years ago in high school in Utah. Jason Mackenzie worked for a law firm in New York as a junior associate. Jason Mackenzie had died at the age of 81 leaving behind his 4 surviving children and 13 grandchildren. But my Jason Mackenzie remained nowhere to be found in the ten pages I searched before giving up. I tried every key word I could think to apply-- "army", "Indianapolis", "Purdue University." I even typed in my own name with his.
But not a single result hinted at the life my husband had left behind. There was no obituary, no wedding announcement, no Facebook or forgotten myspace. I shut my computer as dread and confusion tangled, creating a knot in the pit of my stomach.
Without explanation, Jason had walked back into my life one Thursday evening at 8:35pm. At some point between that moment and the time I had learned of his death, Jason Mackenzie had disappeared, without so much as a trail of virtual breadcrumbs for one to follow.
I turned off the light and lay awake in the dark.