They said to me “I would never keep track of that date,” in the most condescending way. As if they had any right to say a thing. As if I gave a shit about what they thought. I don't even know them, but the truth is I don't need a date on the calendar to remember he died. I don't set an iPhone reminder. I just know. I just know by the warmth of the sun. By the long sunny summer days. By the exact feeling, I had the weeks following his death. The feeling of everyone enjoying the beauty of summer vacation while I tried to simply keep my head above water. It's summer but around now my own personal storm starts to brew. I get cold and sharp. My water table gets high, and I cry most of the times I find myself alone. Habits that got me through nearly three years ago fall back into circulation. Hats, headphones, wiping tears from my face before I get out of the car. In the early days, I wasn't even self-conscious enough to care. Like when you are really really sick, all sense of embarrassment goes out the window, and you beg to feel better. In the early days, I would write for hours at the coffee shop as tears rolled like rivers down my cheeks. I never even looked up, never even wondered how many people wondered if I was ok. I'm more aware that it's awkward now. So today when I was talking to a sales girl I played it off as allergies. Nearly three years and when the storms come, it's reminiscent of day one. I feel like it's exactly as it was, but if I honestly remembered it's not. I was in a dark place then. I see a lot more light now. I do see a lot more beauty. Still, at times the pain is right there. A knowing that sits on my heart and consumes my mind.
I've become softer again. I am for the most part kind, so when these hours, days, weeks pass through, I am aware I'm perceived as rude. Sometimes I just fake it. Pretend all is well, it takes so much out of me, but there is no getting into details. What would I say? My then fiancé died three summers ago and in this moment that knowing is so painful the only way for me to cope is to shut down.
That is the truth. The pain still comes in a way too intense to unpack and keep a regular life, so the logical thing to do is become numb. There is nothing in between. If the past predicts the future over the next few weeks, this will get worse. I will have days where getting out of bed and showering will be for me an accomplishment. I will struggle to maintain a resemblance of my regular life, to follow through on commitments. Yet for the most part, I will. Most people won't even notice; some may feel a little dismissed and the one person who now knows be best will stand by my side as I weather this alone.
Alone. Grief is like that. We go through it alone. Some people more able to do it in the presence of others, some not. But regardless the griever is alone because the relationship is between them and their loved one. It's between them and the deceased. Just as in life no one else can fill the shoes of a loved one, so in death.
“I wouldn't keep track of that date”. Haha one day they will have a day etched into their soul that the calendar has nothing to do with. The smell of freshly cut grass, the feel of a warm summer's night breeze, the summer vibe, will slap them in the face with a memory of the day after they lost a great love. It will shock them how the soul just knows, like an animals migration. It's in them.
Because while it's so much more than a day on the calendar; there is no getting around it. It is a day on the calendar; the day he died. The night I heard those words. There is no ignoring it. No simply forgetting it. To most, it will just be Thursday. To some, it might be a birthday or a wedding anniversary, maybe the day they divorced, and to some, it will mark numbers of years past since the death of a loved one.
Try to be compassionate, some people are deep in their storms during these sunny days.
With love Chels