the date on which an event took place in a previous year.“the 50th anniversary of the start of World War II”
the date on which a country or other institution was founded in a previous year.“Canada’s 125th anniversary”
the date on which a couple was married in a previous year.“he even forgot our tenth anniversary!”
When we look meanings up in the dictionary, it can help clarify where the use of the word came from. It can make something special, cold and simplified. It can bring clarification for proper use. In the case of the word Anniversary, it makes me wonder why it just states the previous year not years.
Anniversaries bring nostalgia, sweet memories, old flames and sometimes yearning for the good old days. I am being triggered to remember the past. I can enjoy the warm memories but remember that they are ephemeral. Emotions can color my recall and distort my understanding of today. Because this is the pattern in recall and memories, I take this 1st half of November to remember, to reminisce and revel in the joy of her life, knowing full well that it does not change what is happening currently in my life, but I go there. I go there because I believe in embracing the past and every year since her passing, I learn something new that allows me to embrace what is. Those memories? They just feel good and it’s ok to feel good from something that was.
Not so strange really, but as we get older, we seem to have many events worthy of being noted as a anniversary. When we are younger we focus on the unions, the special moments and those moments that build us. We get older and soon enough we recall anniversaries of separation, in my case this week, the separation is death.
The odd part is it becomes not just the day that is special. It’s all the days leading up to it. The 10 days in the hospital. The talks, the fear I see in my siblings and my father. The desperation. The disbelief. Every day preceding the day she died has it’s own event of importance, an anniversary.
The fact is, I am different. The 10 days leading up to my mothers death, I recognized what was happening. I wasn’t asking for something different. I was just touching her every moment I had, and the eye contact, we did that a lot. I rubbed her feet and her hands. She had moments of lucidity and she shared them with each of us in a way that worked for us. Each of us different, needing different coaxing. It isn’t just because of my education and experience with the dying human body, it was watching day in and day out, my mother preparing me for her human demise. Preparing me to look for another way to understand the expansive, energetic universe. The one she was already experiencing. Through humor and intense stares, she showed me the signs. I watched the dozens of family and friends come to see her, beg her to stay. I watched my father having to, in such a short time, come to grips with the fact that she was not going home, the home they built together. It was the slow building understanding coinciding with the swift action of death. this I could see and accept, but that hole that was left, the abyss, that I could not bare. My heart felt joy for her and oh so much sorrow for my dad, siblings and others who she had eternally affected. And for me a beginning of understanding of what sorrow and anger really were. A wonderful reality of my life is that I have a family and we are all really good at feeling, we had the best teacher. We seemed to take turns as the guide, the comforter, the rock, the reality check, the guided, the comforted…. we got through the 1st year being there for each other, and as life demanded we start paying attention to it, we were all still there for each other.
My best friend of a lifetime, recalls my husband saying to her that I would never be the same. As if being the same was possible or even an option. No shit I was going to be different! That is what grief does best, initiates swift and punishing change in an instant. It’s the evolution of dealing with and embracing grief which defines how we carry on. For most it seems a permanent separation, in my case and I hope of many, this separation anniversary represents my resolve to accept and grow. And as I may not be able to touch her, call her on the phone, stop by for a hug and a good stare down that let’s me know she sees who I am and that I have work yet to do, I can resolve to feel her, recognize her influence on me and after my ugly cry is over, I can feel her embrace and then ugly cry again because when it’s over I feel good. It’s like all my 72,000ish nadi’s in my body are reborn with a new connection after the cleansing. I breathe deep her scent and love and I am renewed. All the while my scars in the heart are freshly ripped open and I feel. It is inevitable, so I embrace it. It’s hard to be vulnerable no matter how necessary it is, no matter how we respect it. I am beginning to love the sensation of being vulnerable. It takes me to that quiet place where she guides me and I gain clarity in other aspects of my life.
The craziest thing about anniversary of death? It doesn’t ever seem to lessen. But that is ok too. It has become a shut down and reset time in my life, just so happens to be right before the holidays, and my mother, she loved the holidays. This makes it so we can embrace the holidays as a blessing not a burden. They are actually enjoyable, forgiveness and letting go seem 2nd nature. Love for all seems easy and humbly present. Thanks for that too mom.
I gotta say though, as my children get older and they begin a very independent life of their own, this time of November brings them back to me. Close to my heart, a child who needs reassurance that feeling and remembering are an amazing gift and never a burden. Still being able to teach my children and remind them that growing up is an ongoing process that doesn’t end. New lessons, being vulnerable and willing to show and share that with them allows all of us to learn. Allows for feeling, alone and together. Allows the spirit to rest because this pain, this pain that re opens the hearts wounds, makes the spirit weary. A reminder to rest and be plump with awareness. A lesson that tells us to rest, feel, remember, feel it all and as you do, feel her presence and let her guide us to rest and meditation to build up until the next time, the next moment, the ones that come out of nowhere, not the ones tied to this anniversary, those ones that blind side us other days of the year. This rest and remember phase is our hibernation that builds us up for all of the fierce days of living we still have left.
Anniversary: the date on which an event took place in previous years….It’s here, this anniversary so dear to my heart, the one that rips my heart open and demands attention. I love you to the moon and back for infinity my humble, loving, giving,curious, loud, knowing, ditzy (any mother is), crazy spark of a mother, I am grateful for your presence in my life today and the guidance you continually give each moment I am in need.
Pardon me now, I must go perform that beautiful ugly cry for a bit,
In La Kesh,