Last Friday was the 4th of July, a holiday I used to love and I no longer enjoy. In fact, I dread it. It was the last holiday we spent together. Each year, it does get a little bit easier, the further out we are from his death. This year, though, it was extremely rough for me. I was home with 2 of my boys. Steve was away with our other 2 boys. I felt like the puzzle wasn't complete, as if we were broken. Yes, broken. Not incomplete, like some people would say. I felt broken. When Steve came into my life, it felt as though the puzzle was gaining back missing pieces, heading towards completion. A puzzle, isn't a perfect solid piece. Rather, pieces that get put together and fit. Steve and Zion completed our broken puzzle, just as the boys and I completed theirs. But on this holiday, I felt as though our puzzle was broken. It was just too much emotion for me; missing Allan, my late husband and remembering our last holiday together and having Steve and two of the kids away. I know how to live on my own, to be independent. But this was just so hard. And, I don't know that anyone will understand that. Yet, I know Steve does, because he too was widowed.
So, I survived the 4th of July, barely. Now, I sit here, staring at the calendar, knowing the 9th is two days away. I don't know why it makes such a difference. He's been gone for 10 years minus 2 days. What exactly will happen on the 9th? Nothing. Nothing different than today, other than me knowing what it represents. It gives me so much anxiety thinking about it. There's a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, but also, a feeling in my chest. Not chest pain, relax. But this physical ache that only someone who has suffered such a tremendous loss would understand. The loss of a spouse when I was only 28 years old and he was six weeks shy of turning 36. The loss of a father at the ages of 5 1/2, 3 and 18 days old. I spoke with Steve about this about two weeks ago, when the anxiety started. It does every year around the same time. He doesn't take it personally when I speak of Allan just as I don't when he speaks of Micki. I think it's something widowed people "just get". It's not about loving your current spouse any less or that they take a back seat. It's so hard to explain and put into words. You just fill with tears and they understand. I told him it seemed impossible that 10 years had passed. And he started to list everything that has gone on just in our time together, and it blew my mind. It's amazing to my me what we do in our lives, everyday, and how much we accomplish. Allan has been missing for all of Simon's life, minus those first 18 days. There are no words for that.
I don't know why this anniversary is hitting me so hard. Each year out usually gets a tiny bit easier. Yet, this one, is just lingering over me. And, it hurts. It physically hurts. When a child turns 10, as Simon just did, they've reached double digits and everyone makes a big deal out of it...it's a very exciting time. When a couple is married for 10 years, people make a big deal. There are so many reasons to celebrate 10 years. Nothing to celebrate here. Just me listing off all of the events he's missed out on in his children's lives. So many events. It's gut wrenching when you really start to think about it.
I took the boys to the cemetery on Fathers Day, per their request. Admittedly, I dread going there. I don't believe you need to be at a cemetery to "talk" with the one you've lost. But, we went. The last time we went, they were all little boys. Now, my big boys look like men. They opened the picture we have on the headstone. Allan looks so young in the picture, because he was, and we've all aged. Something just seemed wrong. But that's because the whole thing is wrong.
Do we ever run out of tears? At what point in life have we cried enough? It seems like there is an endless supply. There is also an endless supply of stupid people. People who make ridiculous comments without thinking. People who tell you that you have a new husband so why be so sad. People who say its been long enough and to "get over it". I can't even get started on that.
So, for now, I sit here feeling sad, along with a million other feelings, and unsure of what to do with all of it. The anxiety takes over and all I can do is look forward to July 10th.