Our Day

What would have been Megan’s 35th birthday was a few weeks ago, on July 24th.  I would venture to say that, for most widows and widowers, birthdays are one of the hardest days to remember.  They are associated with memories of fun times, friends and family celebrating that person’s day, and yet another year “in the books”.  To have that annual event suddenly take on a different meaning and a different remembrance affects all of those who knew and loved that person.

Megan’s came and went this year with what has been typical since her death.  I’m grumpy most of the day, but we do something to remember her, keep occupied, and have an enjoyable day in her honor.  Cliche as it is, yes, it IS” what she would have wanted”.  Multiple people ensure they post to facebook about how they miss her, and say “Happy Birthday” on her wall.  Heartfelt paragraphs about things they remember doing with her, or “breathe easy” are digitally pushed to her in the afterlife via keyboard, somehow.  There may have been a few less posts this year than last on that day, but still, her friends remember her birthday.

A few days later though, and facebook is silent.  Memories tend to fade when you don’t have automated reminders popping up, don’t they?  As far as the internet is concerned, life moves on until the next year, when suddenly it seems like everyone is thinking about her again.  

I don’t have that option.  I think about Megan...every...single...day.  It’s a matter of HOW MUCH I think about her that changes, and August 6th was a doozy.

You see, the 6th could have been our 11th wedding anniversary, had she not succumbed to her disease.  We might have been on vacation, as we normally planned around those dates.  We would have made sure we posted on each other’s facebook walls about how happy we were to have been together, how proud we were of Shelby, and how we couldn’t wait for many more years together, more of a token gesture, really, but honest just the same.  The hive mind would have taken over from that point, and given congratulations or humorous comments on those posts.  Perhaps even a few would have posted their best wishes before we did, since their reminder popped up telling them it was our anniversary.  

Instead, there was nothing.  Nobody actually remembered that it was our anniversary...nobody.  Well, except me.  

I guess, since she’s dead, it doesn’t count any more?  God forbid I change my “relationship status” on facebook, because that wipes out 10 years of marriage.  Those ashes in my house?  Oh, I picked those up at a garage sale somewhere.  Shelby was actually an immaculate conception, and god just miracled her into being.  Apparently, Sarah is the only person I have ever truly loved, and Megan is left to be nothing but a facebook reminder once a year.

Bullshit.  Our anniversary is HARDER than her birthday.  It was OUR day...not hers, not mine.  I spent all weekend in an angry haze, teetering on losing it at any given moment.  Shelby and Sarah had to bear the brunt of this, but at least they knew why.  Shelby EXISTS because we were married.  Megan got those additional three years from her lung transplant BECAUSE of Shelby.  She didn’t want to go through with a transplant until Shelby was born.  

Where were all the facebook posts on Saturday?  Was it inconvenient for people to remember the day Megan was married?  Screw remembering me...I could not care less if someone put a post on my wall saying “happy anniversary” or “thinking of you”, but don’t post about how much you miss Megan and “think of her every day” one week, and then forget about a pretty damned significant day in her life the next.  There are maybe one or two people that write little anecdotes to her on random days throughout the year, and those people actually DO think of her all the time, but on her birthday, wow, suddenly she’s the center of attention again.

I DO think about her every day.  Christ I miss her.  It’s f’n horrible that she’s gone.  I love Sarah with all of my heart, and I am so happy that we’re together, but I miss the ever-loving hell out of Megan too.  I don’t show that once a year when a reminder pops up.  Just because I am in the next relationship doesn’t suddenly mean Megan is old news.  Our anniversary was, is, and always will be a harder day for me.  

I don’t want to feel this way.  I’d love to be able to have August 6th just be any other day, like it is for most people.  But it’s not.  It never will be.  It is a day that only Megan and I shared, and I guess, my rant about people remembering it is ill-founded and selfish.  Truthfully, I didn’t post anything or call Megan’s parents on the 2nd, which was also the 11th anniversary of her brother’s death, so I guess I’m in a glass house tossing rocks.  Writing Ranting about it like a toddler having a hissy fit clears my head.  It’s stupid, really, to think that anyone outside of our marriage would make it a point to say something about our anniversary, but it’s damned therapeutic to me to vent a little bit.

Look, friends and family.  I miss Megan.  I love her, and I went into our relationship knowing full-well that she was probably going to be gone by the time I got my first gray hair.  I married her knowing it was going to be a hard road ahead; full of hospital stays, surgeries, and emergency room visits.  We had Shelby as meticulously as possible, making sure every “T” was crossed and “I” was dotted. She and I had discussions for years on her last wishes, and ultimately, I had to make the decision, based on those discussions, to end her life.  It was a complex marriage, to say the least, but it was founded on what it should have been...love, and nothing else.  

So, it’s hard for me to see all of those birthday wishes flood in on one day, and then see them be the most recent thing on her wall for months.  Within a few weeks of their writing, they only serve as a reminder that the day that Megan and I shared is just that, a day that Megan and I shared.  

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Isobel Potts
    commented 2016-08-13 08:30:40 -0700
    My 1st husband died of cancer in 1974, at age 29, so I have decades of experience with this loss.
    Remembering our anniversary, his birthday and his ‘death-day’ are shared by mentioning these dates to our son, who was only 4 when his father died. Never wished to include other family or friends.
    Interesting to know that, as I get older, my loved one will always be 29…
  • Carrie Zwicker
    commented 2016-08-10 08:55:56 -0700
    Oh how I get this. Our wedding anniversary so hard and people don’t think about it, don’t remember. And, yes it is true that I don’t remember many other people’s anniveraries either but it doesn’t make it not hurt when no one acknowledges it. I had something odd happen recently. My mother in law died. She and I had a nice, not super close relationship. My friends, who know Ron’s family through me, of course, sent condolences messages to his family but not one of my friends thought that maybe I was sad, maybe I was grieving her loss. I find that so bizarre. Just because Ron is dead doesn’t mean my relationship with her was voided. I am glad they reached out to his siblings, that was the right thing to do— but then they said nothing to me at all.
    Here’s to you and Megan on what should have been your 11th anniversary—
  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2016-08-09 23:12:05 -0700
    Our anniversaries are the hardest aren’t they? They are a day only the two of us shared. Part of that private bubble that only existed because WE existed. No one on earth shares those memories with us. No one knows the stories, no one remembers all the thousands of little motions or words or feelings that made us the couple we were. There is such an aching loneliness in that for me. Every June 14th…..
  • Linda Tevebaugh Keeling
    commented 2016-08-09 18:41:44 -0700
    Mike…I can so relate to this….August 11th would have been our 9th wedding anniversary…My John has been gone 4 years this May 8th….I remarried this past April and madly in love with my new husband…..
    I know no one will remember the 11th and most would be surprised that I feel the way I do, because I have remarried and have a different life.

    Yet I am mourning not having a real 9th anniversary….and the loss of the life that I once shared…..it was a great life and it would have only gotten better…
    My now different life is wonderful….and I am looking forward to the life we will build together….
    I feel that the anniversary that we share with our deceased spouses is the harder one to handle…..my new husband is a widower and he feels the same way.
    So I am bearing ahead for the 11th…will do something special…not sure what..
    and remember when….
    Thanks for sharing your raw and true emotions….take care
  • Tracy Pastor
    commented 2016-08-09 07:14:03 -0700
    I agree with this post 100%. Social media for me is such a hard thing. You see everyone posting all their happy family moments and it cuts like a knife. My Todd didn’t have a facebook account and I think Im kind of happy to that. It is now 2 years and 5 months for me and I feel like everyone just thinks magically you are ok. I also have started to open my heart to someone new and I have let this out to the world very slowly and the reason is, I feel it is an excuse I am giving people to feel like Todd didn’t matter. I feel that people think because there is someone new in your life, that you are done grieving and that you are ok. People don’t understand the daily struggle. Yes, I am starting to try to open myself to someone new, and it is so difficult and complex. All caused by death. I wake up everyday thinking of my late husband and I go to sleep thinking of him. It doesn’t diminish this new person in my life it just is what it is. Glad you were able to rant and I hope it made you feel better. I seem to find that being on this board I feel a sense of community.