Yesterday would have been my 9th anniversary with my fiance. Instead, we got 3 years. Instead, it was my 6th anniversary without him, and a reminder that I've now been without him for twice as long as I was with him. I didn't even think about those numbers leading up to this week… it wasn't until the day hit that I realized it was twice as long. And it punched me in the gut.
I've spent days fighting a kind of numb sadness. So much so that this is actually the first time I didn't share anything on Facebook or anywhere else about our anniversary. I just quietly let it be here and let it pass. I just didn't feel like having everyone on all of social media commenting. It's odd, but instead of wanting to make certain everyone else remembered him and this day, I just didn't care, because I remember it and that's what matters. In a way, it felt nice to allow it to be private. I just didn't feel like having to say some grand statement. It is what it is. He’s gone and it sucks, again, just like this week sucks every years… and I'm sad, and I don't feel like including the whole of social media in that right now.
His death anniversary is in less than a week too, so I'm sure I will share something next week, but this week… this week is for me.
Somehow hitting 6 years of death isn't the number that bothers me. It's the other… knowing we would have been together for nine whole years by now. We would have been reaching closer to that exciting new chapter of having been together for a decade. Something that so many other people in their mid thirties can say they've achieved - including my new partner - but I cannot.
It really sucks to have had to reset that clock. And it's hard not to be sad and a bit numb this week, as my heart longs to joyfully tell someone “Happy Nine Years!!! Look how far we've come!” Only he isn't here to tell it to. And we've now had six years of a life we didn't get to live.
If I’m very lucky... no car crashes, diseases, illnesses, heart attacks, murders or bear maulings will happen, and one day I will be there with Mike. Sometimes it feels awfully risky though, considering just how easily I know a person can be taken. I suppose it's a solid reminder not to take today for granted. And not to get so bogged down by the little things… which I think I've been guilty of lately more than I'd like to admit.
I am grateful for this life, I can say that. I am grateful that the new person I am with welcomes me with open arms on the anniversary of someone else I love, and he holds me and lets me cry. He follows my lead and tries to help support me thru it however he can. And I do the same for him on his hard days.
Sometimes it's easy to forget just how beautiful a thing that is… to love each other in a way that means you include the person they've lost in your heart and world. To have anyone in our lives that understands that this person will always be a part of our life in a major way. For Mike and I, it's always been this way. Our partners who died are a part of our family. When we first met, we used to jokingly tell people it was like being in a foursome, and well, in some ways, that's very true. They're in our day to day conversations in such a way that I'm certain plenty of non-widowed people find it completely weird.
It helps though. It helps on the regular days but it really helps on the hard days, because I know I can turn this person and freely express how much I miss Drew, and I know it will always be received with love and openness, and never with discomfort, rejection, or jealousy. And I know I will get the same from my closest friends and family too. We all deserve that, after what we've been through. Whether it's with a new partner, a close friend, a sibling or a parent or even a counselor… we all deserve people in our world who we know 100% will meet us with open hearts and open arms - who will understand that the way to continue on is for all of us together to continue to love them long after they've gone.