Sunday, March 20, 2022

Some things, I don’t forget

We all have dates that we always remember, even if maybe it’s just our own birthday. Most of us, though, remember plenty of dates that have special significance for us, and the loss of someone we love is pretty difficult to forget.

So, it should come as no surprise to anyone, and certainly not to anyone who’s followed my grief journey, that the twentieth of every month is a date I remember, and some more twentieths than others. Like today.

The truth is, there’s nothing particularly notable about the fact that today marks, as the graphic above from my personal Facebook puts it, “2½ years. 30 months. 130 weeks. 913 days.” since Nigel died. Sure, six months was notable, and so was 18 months, but 2½ years? Yeah, well, things are never all that clear-cut when it comes to profound grief.

The first factor is, of course, that I notice the 20th of every month. What makes this particular one notable to me is that two years ago today (by date) was also when the last house Nigel and I shared went to new owners (who sold it a few months later, actually). Selling that house was much harder on me than what I talked about at the time. In fact, it was for awhile afterward, too.

There were times after I sold that house and moved to Hamilton that I wished I’d stayed in the old house. When I moved, it was absolutely the right thing to do, but the unforeseen global pandemic changed everything and I ended living only slightly more socially than I would’ve at the old house. However, the real reason I thought like that was that in the old house, everything had a place. Yes, the garage needed a good clean out, too, but it was at least not in my way as things are here. That job is utterly overwhelming—except for the majority of the time when I simply don’t care about it.

I’ve always thought that planning one’s life around stuff is a stupid thing to do, and, in fact, I kept pushing Nigel for us to get rid of stuff rather than pay for a storage unit. I know all that. However, none of that means I’ll stay in this house or in Hamilton forever. On the other hand, it also doesn’t mean I won’t stay on one or both forever: I have absolutely no idea what will happen in the near future, let alone farther out, and I currently have no plans or goals.

Despite all that, this odd semi-notable, mostly not notable anniversary wasn’t actually a particularly reflective day for me, not like the actual anniversaries are. Things are still so unfixed, uncertain, and, well, not notable, and they probably will be for some time to come. I don’t need any particular day to reflect on any of that, and when I do, it’s kind of short and episodic, not like the early days of this journey.

So, today was the twentieth of the month, and I was aware it was coming days before it arrived, as I always am. I’ll be aware of it next month, too, and the five after that until I get to the third awful anniversary, which probably will be a reflective day for me, as most of my anniversaries are.

Naturally, I will still reflect on my experiences in this grief journey—how can I not?!—even as I move forward. The bandaged heart emoji in that graphic above, next to the broken heart one, is meant to convey that forward motion, from utterly broken heart to a bandaged sort of stasis to last until until healing can happen, whenever that may be.

Well, then: 2½ years. 30 months. 130 weeks. 913 days. And I’m still here to note that—and talk about it. Right now, that’s honestly enough. I’ve got too much to do, including clearing out that garage. It turns out that I care about a great many things, just not that last one very much.


Roger Owen Green said...

I was reading Dear Abby this week, and I became enraged by the question, actually. https://www.uexpress.com/life/dearabby/2022/03/14

DEAR ABBY: An adopted family member tragically lost a close member of her biological family a while ago. Her grief has been intense, and she continues to air it on social media. The rest of us have been drenched in her tears long enough. She needs to get on with her life, which includes a husband, two kids, and an adoptive family that has loved and supported her through her time of grief. What would be a kind and tactful way to let her know she has overstayed her time on the pity potty? -- ENOUGH ALREADY IN MONTANA

My answer would be for the writer to do untoward things to themself.

DEAR ENOUGH ALREADY: NO! Please don't do that. Everyone grieves differently. Some heal quickly; others never get over their loss. Because you can no longer cope with the poor woman's grief, quit reading her posts. The most helpful thing you could offer her would be to suggest she ask her doctor or her spiritual adviser about the various grief support groups in her area.

People's clocks for other people's grief REALLY get on my last nerve.

Arthur Schenck said...

I cannot understand why some people feel they have a right to judge other people's grief journeys. I get they may feel annoyed or uncomfortable about someone expressing grief, but their discomfort is not something they get to impose on others. Like on Facebook for example: People complain about a grieving person posting about it: It seems highly improbable that the complainer's FB App or web browser of choice won't let them scroll past things they don't want to read…