“Share your memories! (3 years ago)” Yeah, that’s what Facebook likes to do to me every year on June 9th. It helpfully pops up a notification, showing me a picture I took on that date in 2014, that I might like to share with the world. It’s such a heartwarming gesture by the team at Facebook (or timehop, or Google Photos, or any other “assistant” service, really) to helpfully suggest that “Hey there, old buddy! Looks like you had a big moment 3 years ago that we’re so sure you remember that we’re going to assist you in making sure EVERYONE remembers it!”
It’s a picture of Megan, in a colorful gown.
It has been an incredibly warm winter here in Ohio, one of the warmest on record. Christmas came and went with not only a lack of snow, but mud and rain; something we are not entirely used to in the waning days of the year. By no means is every Christmas white, but it is almost always cold.
I can remember the weather final few weeks of the year, and the first few of the next so vividly not because they fall around the holidays, but because on January 6th, 2011, I was pacing hurriedly around in the snow, trying to calm myself, as Megan received her double lung transplant. It has been a day of happiness ever since.
To briefly cover her backstory, on New Year’s day that year, in the late evening, Megan shuffled out to our kitchen, and blew her nose. Her lung collapsed. At 9:30 PM, I was calling 911, waking up our daughter, and watching my wife be put onto a stretcher. After an ambulance ride to the local hospital, and another to her primary hospital in Cleveland, she was stabilized. We sighed in relief, and hunkered down for another one of her month-long hospital stays.
Something I say to my grief-therapist often lately, is that I feel like I'm generally doing "okay", as long as I don't think about the future, or let my mind wander there. I feel okay or sometimes even good, as long as I can stay in the present. Do you know what she said back to me? She said: "So stay in the present." Oh, okay then. Guess I'm done with therapy now. ALL BETTER! ALL FIXED! Thank you for that brilliant advice! You mean I just need to stay in the present and everything will be fine forever? Cool! Awesome! Sometimes my grief-therapist has a hilarious sense of humor. I think me laughing in her face when she said "stay in the present" maybe surprised her a little bit, but its just not that simple. If only my brain didn't find itself in situations that catapult me directly into "the future that never was." It happens all the time, and I don't feel as if I can control my reaction to it. My reaction is extremely emotional, for example, whenever I see elderly couples together, living their ordinary days together that I will never have, as happened yesterday.Read more
Last weekend I attended the wedding of one of my husband's closest friends. This happened to fall on the second anniversary of his funeral, and a week after his anniversary.
I always knew it was going to be a difficult time. I knew it would hurt and bring up all kinds of triggers, sad thoughts and memories. But somehow, despite knowing something is going to hurt, I never really feel prepared for the intensity of the pain as it knocks me off my feet.
I also wasn't prepared for the anger I'd feel that he was missing this important moment. It was a really beautiful day, but oh my, was it tough.
This week marked another anniversary in the long and winding journey without my husband—his 65th birthday, on July the 2nd. Last year, his birthday came less than a month after he died, and I can’t say I even remember it. I had returned to work the day before, and I must have walked through my day in that office like a zombie on auto-pilot, still numb from the shock of his sudden passing.
An entire year has ensued, without him in it.
When I think of the cruel twist of fate that brought us together for such a short time, then swept him away from me in an instant, my anger rises, and sometimes I let it carry me away. I get lost in the injustice of it. I shake my fist at the skies. If I believed that there was a God with a plan, I would be cursing him. Instead I cry out to Stan, asking him why he left us in the way that he did—as if he deliberately chose to wreak this havoc on all of our lives.
Sometimes grief does not conform to our sense of propriety. Sometimes there is no logic in it. Sometimes we have to let it erupt, so that we can move through it.Read more