Milestone dates. Don’t you just love them? When they are reminders of things to celebrate they’re great, but when they’re hanging around reminding you of something you’ve lost, not so great.
My husband Roger died in summer 2015 so I’m into the second year of anniversaries now. Far from being an old pro, but actually much more able to get through these dates without a sense of foreboding, sadness and worry like I had in year one.
March 12th was our wedding day and today would have been our sixth anniversary. Yesterday it was two years since we were told Roger’s cancer had spread and there was nothing that could be done. I definitely want to keep remembering the first date, but hopefully in time the second will fade.
It was the day I started grieving for my husband, a grief that began while we still had each other to lean on. When I’ve spoken to others who’ve been through the same experience they’ve said the same thing. When you’re faced with a terminal illness, the grief starts with the worst news.
The whole point of this post was to write that I was going to try not to dwell, and the darkness seems to be creeping in regardless. But this morning – moments after waking up and like the modern woman I am, checking my Facebook feed – I saw a blog post shared which I have read before but it’s never quite struck the same meaning as it did today.
It’s called Don’t Get on the Anniversary Train by Christina Rasmussen at Second Firsts. I remember reading it last year and feeling like it had nothing to do with how I felt at all. I read it now and kind of get it.
Anniversaries should be for honouring the good times, not fixating on what has gone. It’s impossible to live your life that way if you’re going to try to feel happy or fulfilled. Grief has to move on and part of that is learning – teaching yourself – how to deal with these dates without falling apart.
I’m well aware I’m writing this at 8am on my anniversary date so we’ll see how it goes and whether I can practice what I preach. But for today, as I live just round the corner from our wedding venue, I’m going to look after myself, get out for a walk, spend time with my family and look up to the sky.
I’ll look up and smile, wave and say look how far we’ve come. We’re still here, we miss you every single day but we are ok. The date of 12th March doesn’t always have to be a sad one after all, as Christina says in her anniversary train post, that would be honouring death, not honouring the good times.
Happy Anniversary to me!