January is when Megan was first diagnosed with chronic organ transplant rejection. February is Shelby’s birthday. May is Mother’s Day, June is when she was admitted to the hospital, never to come home again, July is her birthday, August is our anniversary, September is when the next year of school starts for Shelby, October is my birthday, November is when she died, and December, is well, the “holidays”.
March and April though have no special “milestones”. I can’t really think of any specific memories or significant happenings that have or will occur as it relates to Megan and her death. I get to “coast” through these months, in a sense, fairly comfortable with believing that I shouldn’t have any “predetermined” triggers.
That’s all well and good, if I stand back and inspect the situation. I usually don’t though, until it comes time to compose a blog post. I don’t stop to think that “hey, March and April are fairly easy in the grand scheme of things” unless I am forced to.
I’ve written time and time again that it’s OK to not always be actively grieving. It doesn’t mean I miss Megan less, or I’m forgetting about her, or she fails to still mean the world to me. It’s just that I’m able to be a normal human adult and father without her.
Perhaps her spending so much time away, in the hospital through the years better prepared me for that. I HAD to be a normal human adult and “single” father when she was alive, so her complete absence, while devastating for awhile, was something I was able to recover from over time.
Writing things like this always feels weird to me. I am almost “five years out” as we say, like we’re in prison or something. I know though, that there are widows and widowers that have lived decades beyond their partner’s death that still actively grieve every single day. That’s OK too. None of us has any room or justification to instruct someone else how or when to grieve their own loved one. It makes me cringe when someone, even another widow, has the gumption to look a widow in the eye and say things like “you should move on” or “you SHOULDN’T move on”.
All I can personally do is share my own path. I can write here, or talk at Camp Widow about my own experience, what I did and didn’t do, and how I personally feel at this point. I can’t say if it’s the “right” way for anyone, even myself. The best I can hope for is that someone, somewhere in the world is in a similar situation, and decides that they feel the same way, and that it’s OK.
I feel pretty good right now, at least in the sense that Megan’s death isn’t slapping me in the face very frequently. March and April mean my stupid brain gets to stress out about a whole host of other things, but Megan being gone isn’t one of them.
I won’t say it’s a relief. Perhaps “coasting” isn’t even the correct term. “Idle” might be better. My grief is “idle”. Or, maybe, it’s “waiting”. Plotting? Hibernating? Hell, I don’t know. See? Now I get to worry about it. Dammit.
Nah, I’m gonna stick with “coasting”. It’s the right way to outwardly analyze it for ME.
So, if you’re 5 years “out”, or 5 decades, or 5 months or 5 hours out, and you’re reading this, just know that whatever you’re doing, however you are choosing to grieve or remember or even just deal with day-to-day minutia, no one has the right to say if you’re “doing it wrong”. I mean, there are definitely unhealthy ways of masking or numbing grief, but even so, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, you do you. Ask for help, and receive it with gratitude. Climb into a protective shell, and isolate yourself until you’re ready to come out. “Move on” if and when you damn well please.
I’m going to coast through these next few months until Mother’s Day. Then, I’m going to allow myself to be sad, and pissed off, and miss Megan something fierce.