Time is slippery: it's difficult to grasp and impossible to hold still…and I just can't believe that six years have passed since that sad day. I can close my eyes and remember the feel of her soft skin and the strength of her hug. I remember the sound of her friendly voice and the welcoming scent of lavender that she spread throughout our home. I wish I could forget those last few days of her life…those memories seem to collide and dominate my thoughts around this time of year. They are the nightmare that I can never quite escape.
This year, my grief is heightened. My father-in-law passed away suddenly on January 20th. I am caught between the ache of losing such a kind person and the empathy of losing a parent. Life can really hurt sometimes, but it's the empathy that's twisting the knife. It's taking me back to the rawness, back to the breathlessness, back to the panic in the face of learning to live without someone.
I went to her grave as I do every year on the anniversary. It's the only day I visit because the experience is too overwhelming. Away from there, I can remember her healthy, laughing, carefree…there, I am slapped with the unyielding reality that she's gone. The morning she died was sunny and unfairly pleasant, but January 26th has been gray and barren every year since.
I didn't expect Nick to go with me this year…he has his own heartache to work through. Even so, I was grateful when he made plans to do so. He wiped the snow away from her stone as I knelt on a blanket upon the frozen earth and wept. Feeling guilty, I apologized to him—this was his time…his sadness was fresher—but I couldn't stop the tears. He knelt beside me and told me to that January 26th will always be my day…oh how I wish to God that it wasn't…that nothing of importance had ever happened on this day.
I hope I can be as much of a comfort to him as he's been to me.