I've read articles about how those who have lost someone they adore shouldn't count days or note anniversaries, that it's just scraping the scab off and not allowing the wound to heal. I have mixed feelings about this.
- I don't know that the wound will ever heal. I feel as though I am now someone so radically different, that I've become one of those trees that was struck by lightening but somehow managed to not die. It may have wanted to die. I did. But it eventually sent out another green shoot and now is essentially a different tree than it was before the strike. It had to learn to grow around the wound, cradling the damaged part and incorporating it because to lose it would mean losing the place where the new growth emerged.
- I don't want to deny the important dates. His birthday. Our anniversary. Even the date of his death, which was the hardest and holiest day I have lived through. How would I want to forget any of it? Admittedly, some of those days are hard, but not all of them. On the last anniversary of his death my new love and I went for a walk. We found fossils. We talked about Kevin and remembered him. I cried and was comforted. It was a gift of a day where we celebrated the small things that go into making a life. Remembering is one of those things that we cannot escape, so I would rather embrace and incorporate it.
- For some it may be very important to not remember the specifics, but I don't know how not to. Every part of the year is in some way associated with Kevin and also associated with his illness. By October 2013 we knew something was wrong but didn't know what. No one thought cancer. So I remember the good days and the bad. I remember my birthday party and how happy he was to be with me. I remember his smile as I blew out the candles on the cake. And I remember how he barely ate any cake because his stomach hurt. I cannot remember the good without sometimes also remembering the hard. It's just how I am. It may be how most of us are.
We all mourn in our own way. There is no set of rules. I don't need to count days anymore but I still feel his loss on the 28th of every month. I toast him every Friday. And that's okay. Other widowed people I know, those who lost their partners a long time ago, have told me that you never stop missing them but it becomes easy to remember the good times and not just the hard. I already have noticed this. I think of Kevin and smile far more often than I cry now.
I bear my new growth with astonishment and wonder. I cradle my scarred places tenderly and cherish the love that created the wound. I wouldn't choose differently; I would rather keep him alive in memory and word, even if it sometimes hurts. I am a different person now, forged by love and loss and being too stubborn to stop living.
And in case you were wondering, it's 937 days.
(c)2016 Laura S. Packer