These are from Walt's sister's fridge
Walt's brother's business card.
* Discussion *
Talk about it here.
WHAT I'M READING...
WHAT I'M WATCHING...
Samples of two of the
Pictures from the Cincinnati are now up at Steve's Club Photo page.
Pictures from our Family reunion are on my own Club Photo page.
That's it for today!
6 September 2001
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my friend Bill's death. He lived in Houston and died of AIDS and Hepatitis-C. I had spent a month with him and his husband, Mike, when he had his second-to-last major crisis, and the two of us had time to bond. I went back a year later to cook him a cherry pie for his birthday. January 2000 was the last time I saw him.
We've all been worried about Mike as this anniversary has approached. He's handled the year in pretty much typical fashion. He grieved when Bill died, and then as life inevitably began to pick up where it left off when the world ended, he began to slowly make his way back to life, to get back to the regular routine. He had periodic episodes of sadness, tears, and missing Bill terribly, but he was able to get past them and continue. Something about life. Like Old Man River, it just keeps rolling along, and somehow we just get swept along and keep rolling along too, whether we want to or not.
But as the anniversary has approached, he's become more hypervigilant, hyperaware of his feelings, and the old grief has resurfaced. Not with the same intensity, but still the spectre of that first anniversary that had to be faced. But he realizes that even though it will be painful, he will get through it:
At the risk of tempting fate I'll say: I feel pretty good, I'll get through this week, not easily, but I'll get through it. Life ain't perfect but the story goes on, he says.
It's odd how we ritualize anniversaries. All the high and low points of our lives are events to be marked by SOMETHING. We have cake and ice cream for birthdays. We go out for dinner to celebrate a wedding anniversary. If we work in a nice place, we might get a card or a bonus on the anniversary of our hiring.
Alcoholics celebrate the anniversary of their sobriety. As a friend in AA remarks, I know something about anniversaries. Every recovering drunk does. Without exception we all become basket-cases in the month leading up to ours every year. No matter HOW many years we have. And, as you pointed out, the day itself invariably turns out to be anticlimactic.
And when it comes to losing a loved one, those anniversaries are marked too, sometimes when we don't even realize it. The anniversary is important because it reminds us that another year has passed without the person we love in our lives and while it's just another day, somehow marking that "next year" on the calendar can sometimes make us crazy.
The first time I experienced this whole anniversary phenomenon was as we approached the first anniversary of Gilbert's death.
I'd gotten through those difficult first weeks and life had picked up where it left off. I had good days and bad days. Sometimes I fell apart, but as the year progressed, I fell apart less and less often and within a few months, the time I had spent with him was a beautiful memory but I knew it was time to move on--and I had. However, as the anniversary approached, I started to get crazy again. Somehow that "date" loomed so large that especially in the week prior to the anniversary it was almost like being back where I had been a year before. In actuality, the date itself was rather anticlimactic. I'd already gone through the crazy stuff and I was surprised that when the date arrived, it was such a non-event.
Then David died. And I found myself going through exactly the same thing. This child I loved with all my heart was gone and the first weeks and months after his death were terrible, but life has a way of making you realize that you will survive, no matter how painful the loss. But again, the week prior to the anniversary, I found myself all torn up inside again, the tears came more freely and I looked ahead to "the day" coming up and it was terrible. But when it actually got here, we cooked Kraft dinner (which he liked, and which we decided was a good way to remember him) and the day was just...the day. We took flowers to the cemetary, but all the "craziness" had passed the week before.
When Paul died it was the same thing. You lose someone you love and you think you can't go on. But you do. And then comes "the day" again. By now the pre-anniversary craziness was familiar, but that didn't stop the emotions from flowing over. It didn't stop me from getting too emotional.
When Walt and I were in London in May we had a Very Bad Day. I was in a terrible mood, things were going badly, and by the end of the day, I was in tears. I sobbed to Walt, "I don't even know WHY I'm crying. I'm not tired, my feet don't hurt, but I just can't stop crying." He snapped back "BECAUSE IT'S MAY 18." The anniversary of David's death. We had stopped for a beer at a pub we had once visited with the kids and we toasted Dave, but it never struck me until he said so that I was being emotional again because my body understood that it was another year since we'd seen David.
I guess it's inevitable that when you are facing an anniversary that reminds you that someone you love is no longer in your life, it makes you a little crazy. I just hope that when I go a little crazy about anniversaries that people who love me will understand and be gentle with me until it's over and I can get back to the business of life again.
Some pictures from this journal
Created 9/5/01 by Bev Sykes