Anniversaries are, in general, a prompt for looking back. They’re an annual reminder to be reminded of the past. While oftentimes, an anniversary is also a milestone, it still remains that, simply put, an anniversary measures the passage of time.
They don’t really MEAN anything to widows. Our person is neither more, nor less dead on their death anniversary than they are on any other day, but damned if we aren’t reminded of the fact that they ARE dead a whole hell of a lot more.
Interestingly, other dates tend to morph into this reminder as well. Shelby’s upcoming birthday? I’m always reminded of the fact Megan isn’t there to see her reach twelve years old. Halloween? Megan loved halloween...she would enjoy being here. The anniversary of the date I was discharged? Oh wow, now I remember how I met Megan a few months after that.
That’s the thing, it’s like I can’t have an anniversary or holiday anymore without feeling the pressing need to remember Megan and either A) remember how she was on that day, or B) point out the fact that she’s not there.
But today’s anniversary? It’s different.
Today marks four years. Not four years since Megan’s death, or four years from a holiday she enjoyed, or four years since Shelby hit some milestone that Megan wasn’t present for. No. Today marks fours years since Sarah and I met.
I didn’t wake up this morning and think of Megan. I didn’t even reminisce about her death being the reason I met Sarah in the first place (also Kelley, Kelley is the only reason Sarah and I met, I can’t forget her). I woke up thinking about Sarah, looking back to the four years WE have had together, and simply appreciating her being in Shelby and I’s lives.
As time has progressed, I still acknowledge the belief that Megan and Drew actually brought us together, but they’ve had less and less of a hand in keeping us together. We have our own lives together now, to the point that we’re engaged, but they’re ours and ours alone on our anniversary.
I’ve written in the past that Megan and I’s anniversary is one of the toughest days, because it was a day that was OURS, and nobody else’s. I feel as if I’m the only person left that acknowledges that August 6th was a significant date in both Megan and I’s life. Sarah notwithstanding (she ALWAYS acknowledges it), I have nobody I can reminisce with on that day.
Regardless, it’s kind of the way I prefer it. Our anniversary is a day for ME to take stock of Megan and I’s life together, with no outside influence or opinions. It always was, really. Even when Megan was alive. It was “our day”. Finally, a holiday that we didn’t have to drive all over the place to visit friends and family, or do the “traditional” thing and decorate or dress up or eat a very specific type of meat. We could celebrate it any way we felt was right.
It’s the same now, four years after meeting Sarah. This is our day. Megan is not a part of the past four years, in the sense that she hasn’t been physically present for any of it. It would be weird if she was. Would it be just swell if she could be here, even for a few minutes, just to say “Hi, how’s it going”? Of course. Would I be horrified that my response would have to be “It’s going great, here’s my fiance! Her name is Sarah’”? You bet your ass I would.
But at the same time, along with being horrified, I would also be proud. I think Megan would be too. Proud that the woman I met a few months after her death is such a wonderful mother to Shelby. Proud that I’ve kept it together long enough to “land” Sarah. Proud that I was able to accept her death for what it was, and not avoid one of her last wishes, that of me “moving forward and finding someone”. Proud that Shelby is in a stable, loving, supportive home with two parents.
I am too.
I may not have thought about Megan this morning, until I was forced into it by writing this series of paragraphs. That’s what is so special about today. I get to remember Megan and I’s twelve years together AND Sarah and I’s four, simply because it’s both Tuesday and an anniversary. I get to acknowledge that for almost half of my life, I’ve been beside one of two women that I couldn’t be happier to be with. I even get to be proud of myself for putting it all out there and risking losing another person I love, because dammit, I love her.
It is Sarah and I’s four-year anniversary, and the title of this post is “Paradox”. Riddle me this.
Am I “lucky” that Megan died, because I got to meet Sarah?