I feel it before I ever see it coming. In the exhaustion in my body. In the ache in my heart. In the anger in my mood. I feel it everywhere before I am attuned to the date on the calendar.
My body knows. Grief is a part of me now. A sixth sense, reminding me that I am unable to escape the pain. Reminding me of dates - both happy and sad - that I'd sometimes prefer to ignore.
But I can’t.
My body shuts down and I get sick. My patience lessens and I back my car into a tree. My temper shortens and I yell at those I care about. My emotions heighten and tears flow freely and inconveniently.
And I know - deep in my bones, even if I was oblivious to what month we were in, I would know. My anniversary is approaching.
And for me, my anniversary kicks off, not a week or a month, but an entire season of significant dates. A now season of grief.
My anniversary. My remission date. Brad’s cancerversary. My cancerversary. Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Years. Brad’s death. It’s all coming.
And in between those monumental dates are flashbacks to emergency rooms and scan results and unbelievable pain and suffering that wasn’t always talked about or written about, but was lived in the quiet reality of a household fighting desperately to survive. And also In between those monumental dates were intimate moments of hope and joy and love.
I carry these moments of grief just like I carry these moments of love - they both slow me down and propel me forward. The heaviness of those moments are still there, several years later. But so is a new fortitude. A new strength I didn’t have in previous years.
I feel these moments in my body.
And this year is no different.