I'm struggling writing this week. I know the general gist of what I want to say, but some of it keeps seeming harsh, uncaring, like I'm an insensitive bitch. Because it's about the relief and positivity I've figured out I find in Ian's death anniversary.
This past weekend was the second anniversary of Ian's passing. And although it may sound odd to many, my experience of it was a positive time of transition. I was sad, and there were some bitter sweet moments, like me mentioning to John that daddy played field hockey, while we watched some highlights from the world cup, so John went up and asked which was daddy... little hard. I explained again that daddy died, but stifled a bit of a giggle, since daddy wouldn't have been playing women's field hockey!!
But I also felt a weight had been lifted. And in general living life terms, it was just another ordinary Saturday with swimming lessons, me working on uni stuff, cleaning, laundry, playing with John.
Having now passed through 2 cycles of anniversaries, I'm certain my really hard period is March, when Ian got sick and I went through what was for me the most traumatic part of the illness that lead to his death. He should have died that day, and I spent most of the day feeling the weight of that. And I began to grief the loss of what our life would have been from that moment. But as much as March is my heavy anniversary, there is a weight that sits in the background up until his death anniversary.
By the time he did pass away, it was a relief for me. He wasn't being put through test after test, and wasn't lying in a bed, paralyzed and unable to speak. No more seizures robbing him of his cognitive ability bit by bit.
As harsh as it sounds, I knew I'd reached the point that I couldn't carry on with the uncertainty, the stress, the roller coaster that had been his illness. It was keeping me from being the best parent I could be for John, even though I was doing the best I could given the circumstances we found ourselves in. I didn't want him losing two parents, particularly since we reached a point that losing one was inevitable.
By nature, I'm a planner. When it looked like Ian would survive with decent cognitive ability, but be in residential care for the rest of his life, I was looking at options to keep our family as intact as possible.
Then we reached the point where that wouldn't happen. And I was lost. I couldn't plan. I couldn't find security for John and I in anything.
So when he died, although I was and still am, sad, it was a huge relief. In fact the first words I said were 'Thank God it's over" - for both of us. And I could transition to the immediate practical aftermath of the death of someone - I had stuff that needed to get done, rather than sitting and waiting with nothing I could do.
So the upshot is, the anniversary of his death for me is a time of renewal, where I feel like I can look forward to the future - in terms of years now, not just days, weeks or months that I had in the initial loss.
I guess another part of it is knowing I have 9 months of less weight on my shoulders, without the anniversaries looming over my head.