Our Story Begins:
The Day Approaches
It’s an odd day, the one approaching us. It’s not a holiday, not a day you’d celebrate . . . well, it’s not a day I celebrate any more. The day used to be filled with all kinds of love and devotion and craziness. That changed almost three years ago. In fact, 9 days from the writing of this post will be the exact day.
That day, you see, will be March 26th. It’s a dual anniversary for me. The 26th of March was the day, in 1993, at the age of 22, I got married. It’s also the day, at the age of 40, my wife passed away. I like to think she wanted to make it to our anniversary before she finally let go. If that wasn’t the case, I certainly don’t want anyone to tell me.
It’s a funny thing . . . the date hadn’t really crossed my mind that morning. I woke up and raced to the hospital and it wasn’t even dawning on me what day it was. I had certainly made plans, dinner, romance, all that. It was 18 years to the day we were married and I thought that was quite a milestone. We’d been through a lot – jealousy, the 7-year-itch, three pregnancies (with 4 kids), Andrea diagnosed with clinical depression, all of that.
I would always be able to tell the 26th of March is approaching even if it wasn’t burned into the recesses of my brain. You see, I can see the kids getting more and more persnickety as the day gets closer. The boys will start picking on their older sister who gets upset and then the angst-ridden teenager acts out and they end up in a ball on the floor like an old Looney Toons cartoon. Some of it’s the full moon, I know, but most of it is the fact that they just don’t know they’re still adjusting even three years later.
Over the last three years I have yet to know how to handle, emotionally, the 26th of March. I know others who have lost a spouse or a loved one . . . and that anniversary date is theirs. It’s a day they take to themselves, think about the fact that they were together with this person and how they loved each other. They think about the adjustments and the changes and it’s a day that’s theirs. I, however, share this day. It’s not just my wedding anniversary it’s the day that my wife passed. It’s also the day a mother passed away . . . and a sister and a niece and a daughter and a best friend . . . so many others have this very same day as an anniversary. It’s selfish, I know, but sometimes I want to just wallow and commiserate with myself on the day I got married.
But it’s also a day that someone shares the loss and the love. It will have celebrations – my oldest will be home from college on Spring Break. My son has a speech competition – on that day. I took a few days off to decompress so that I’m not moping around at work.
It’s been three years and we’ve all had some pretty major adjustments. I’ve had some unsuccessful dates with women. I’ve had some enjoyable times with others. I’ve had a roller coaster of a year with losing a dear friend, my wife’s father losing a battle with cancer and her mother losing a battle with a debilitating brain disease. Where we lost one major person three years ago in the last year we’ve lost many, many more.
But as the day approaches, I see more light than dark. The haze doesn’t descend on me the way it did over the last couple. I find myself flirting with a woman during setup for an interview for work…and it doesn’t feel wrong or awkward any more. (Well, it’s still awkward, I was never very smooth…)
Time has passed, the world keeps turning as we keep leaving our footprints on its surface. It becomes clear with each passing anniversary that she’s remained who and where she was. We had to keep moving forward. For lack of a better phrase, we kept living…
Even as the day approaches.
—- We’re working on this year’s (2014) anniversary video. It will feature, for the first time, my daughter Hannah playing on the song and I am quite proud of our accomplishments. It will post on the anniversary, March 26th.