Today looked for many like an ordinary day. I too, looked like I was having an ordinary day…saw clients, made phone calls, dealt with issues, looked after administrative chores at work, and household chores at home.
But it only looked ordinary. It didn’t feel ordinary. For weeks, there was an impending sense of waiting for the day, knowing it was coming.
It was the anniversary.
The anniversary of the death of dear and loved family members who died suddenly and tragically on this day years ago.
Amazing how things can look normal, and so much can seem like a regular day, even when today is not at all like other days—for me. Many days now, the fullness of life covers over the gaping hole and I, after all these years, don’t even think about the loss. There were months years ago where I couldn’t imagine grief being a daily and ever present mantle of heaviness. Life has gone on, I can smile and laugh without feeling guilty. I can remember the times before with fondness, and talk about those days without bursting into tears.
But today is a day when the hollow ache is ripped open fresh again and it seems like yesterday that I heard the dreaded news. I am reminded of the emptiness in a “get hit by a Mac truck” sort of way. Leaning over the grave and hugging the ground seems like a pathetic way to connect with the love that was lost on that day—pathetic, but I wouldn’t miss being there today for anything. It is a day I dread, but a day I wouldn’t miss, can’t miss, won’t stop acknowledging.
As I sit by the grave and weep, I sit in the silence and remember. I go through the “what ifs”, and spend time wishing things were different. A time of restless contemplation. I notice the ants crawling over my feet and pant legs and I idly am reminded that there is life. The nearby roar of the train tells me that life keeps moving forward, and as much as life stops at the grave, it goes on too.
Tomorrow is a new day, and the burden of the anniversary will be lifted. But the memory of my loved ones is not forgotten: there are the wind chimes in my kitchen, statues in my living room, the beach glass in another room—all of which serve as symbols of the lives that were lived, and they comfort me.
Gone but not forgotten.
And life goes on.