Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bittersweet Anniversary

Yep, that's my parents.
Yesterday was my parents' 44th anniversary.  My brother and I went to the cemetery with my mom where she laid a rose at my dad's grave.  It was so sad.  My dad is buried under the same stone as my baby brother, and the stone is still just my brother, with a temporary marker for my dad until the new stone is there.  There is still a rectangle of dirt from the fresh grave, with grass seed that will hopefully take hold next spring.  And now there is a lovely red rose there, a symbol of a wife grieving, unable to go out to dinner with her man to celebrate 44 years together.  It's too devastating to think about for too long.  I have a hard time with grief, and I always feel a pressure to bottle it up.  It's hard to watch my mom be in so much pain, and I have this overwhelming need to take care of her.  But it's healthy for her to feel this, to go through this process.  I think she's doing it in a much healthier way than I am.  I don't know if I've even dealt with the whole thing yet.  I stand there, hurting for her, but I have this need to just ignore the hurt, push it away, distract myself from it.  Run away.  It was her anniversary.  44 years ago yesterday she married him.  And through thick and thin, they loved each other.  They depended on each other.  They were life partners in every way, best friends, soul mates.  And it must be so difficult to face life without him.  I hope she's able to feel the joy of her wedding day, to remember the happiness and allow it to comfort her.

As we move toward Thanksgiving I worry for her.  I know this is going to be such a fun time, our whole crew hanging out at a big old cabin for a few days.  I hope we can honor my dad, enjoy his memory, and help my mom through her sad times.  I hope I can help in an honest way, without feeling the need to change the subject or run from the pain.  I wish I was stronger emotionally.  I'm afraid of my own pain, afraid of my kids seeing me hurt, of anyone but my hubby seeing me hurt.  My mom lets it all out, and I respect that about her.  Emotion can be a beautiful thing, no matter what it is.  We hurt so much because we love so much.  And that's a good thing.

After we left the cemetery yesterday, we went out for lunch at a Mexican place.  That was dad's favorite kind of food, so we figured that's where he would have wanted to go if he was here.  I think it was nice, I know it was good for my mom.  But every time we do something like that it's hard to see her drive off afterward.  I don't want her to be alone.  But I know she has to be sometimes, she's learning her new normal, and she's determined to find her way.  I can't help but wonder how I would be if I lost my hubby.  It's hard to even allow the thought into my brain, because I don't know how I would survive.  Every time he's gone at work, especially in the evenings, if he's not home when I expect him to be my mind immediately goes wandering to very dark places.  His car is in a ditch.  Stuff like that.  I have worried like that since we got married, and it never goes away.   I don't know if it's normal, but I can't help it.  Just like when the kids were babies I used to go in their rooms if they were sleeping too peacefully and feel for their breath coming out of their little noses to make sure they were still breathing.  It's so dark and twisted, but I'm always worried someone is going to die.  And I don't know how we are able to survive such loss, but I guess people do.  My mom will.

Now there's all these reminders that it's our first holiday season without dad.  I made my list yesterday for gift shopping.  I hated not writing his name down.  When I send things to my mom's place, I hate writing only her name on the envelope.  Things are just different.

But we can still be happy.  The people I have lost do not want us to sit and stew in sadness.  They want us to feel joy, to feel silly, and to celebrate our lives.  So yesterday my mom was sad.  But she was also celebrating the 44 years she was able to spend with her husband, the father of her kids, the man who made her laugh almost every single day.  He enriched her life.  And during our holidays we will celebrate our lives, our health, and the traditions we have built over the years, traditions that would be so much different were it not for my dad and for the other loved ones we have lost along the way.  And if I were up in Heaven, looking down at all my loved ones, I would hope that they would be loving their lives.  Drinking a peppermint martini in my honor on Christmas Eve, and going along with their lives, still laughing, still feeling satisfaction, and enjoying regular moments.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

No comments:

Post a Comment