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The anniversary That Isn't

I have to say I'm a little disappointed and unsettled.

My 27th wedding anniversary is coming up on Friday, and well …

I'm ok. I feel ok. I had to do the math to figure out what anniversary it would have been.

I feel like it's just another December 17th.

And it feels weird.

The first few wedding anniversaries after he died were excruciating.

I remember 2014 when it would have been our 20th anniversary. It was five years after he died. I was in SF at an all-company retreat. I got out of bed that morning, not even thinking about what day it was. I went into the bathroom, looked at myself, and started sobbing.

And then I just couldn't stop.

I was familiar enough with this soul tearing grief. I knew that the only way out was through. I called my boss and let her know that I wouldn't be at the morning's event in between sobs.

My morning was filled with moments of feeling like I was done crying, starting to get ready only to start sobbing again as I put on my pants or tried to reapply my make-up. By the time I made it to the event just after 1. I was exhausted.

I don't remember other anniversaries very well. They all were some version of the above.

I knew this day of peace would come. I couldn't picture feeling this way initially, and I'm glad I couldn't. It would have made me sad. I could not see a day when I thought about him and would feel 70% gratitude/joy, 5% regret, 10% grief, 15% long sighs mixed with a dash of darn-its!

He's removed from the life that I now have, from the kids who were young when he died. He's removed from my sobriety, what I do for work, and my life experiences over the last 12 years.

You know those walkways in the airports? When Art first died, I had this feeling that I was on this slow-moving walkway that stretched to the horizon. Art was at the beginning of that walkway, standing on the ground. I was on the walkway. At first, I would run back and try to smell him, absorb him and rub him into me. But then there were obstacles in the way, children and rent, support groups, and new jobs and friends and men.

It got harder and harder to get back to him. And as it became harder, I grew not to need it as much. I was ok staying on the moving walkway. While my memory of him grows less and less sharp, I see now that I have absorbed him. He has become a part of me, so much so that I sometimes can't tell what part is me and what part is him.

Huh, maybe that's why this day doesn't hurt how it used to. He is still at the beginning of the walkway, but he's also with me, in me so immersed that I can't tell him from me.

What a gift that is for anniversary #27.

Dammit, you're still the gift that keeps on giving! How lucky I am!

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