Our Story Begins:
The Hardest Day
March 26th, this coming Thursday, is a hard day.
“Hard,” by the way, may just fall shorter than any adjective in the English language.
It’s not just the day my wife died, that’s a series of emotions and memories I can share with my kids and my sister-in-law. Lots of people find a way to mark the day they lost someone and share that day with those around them.
I hate sharing this day.
I hate sharing it because it’s not supposed to be our day. It’s supposed to be our day. It’s supposed to be mine and Andrea’s, my late wife.
Andrea, after less than a week fighting off a resistant strain of pneumonia, died at 8:30 am on March 26th. It was the morning of our 18th wedding anniversary.
That is why I hate sharing the day.
Other people I’ve known who have lost their spouse commiserate with their friends and family on the day they lost their spouse. They also have an opportunity to reflect on the date of their marriage and how that’s passed when their wedding anniversary date comes. They get that reflection to themselves. They can tell the stories.
They get to tell you that the morning of the wedding they showed up at an apartment to get some things and found their fiance and her bridesmaids all still asleep, hung over from the bachelorette party the night before. They get to tell you about the fact that their Mom thought she lost the rings and in a panic so relatives ripped both hotel rooms apart looking for them. (It was caught in the bottom of her purse, by the way) They get to tell you how the airline lost only one bag . . . the one suitcase with the wedding dress in it, just two days before the wedding. They get to say how you saved the day by getting it overnighted to the airport with time to spare.
They get to tell you that she was one of the most beautiful women you have ever seen walking down the aisle. They get to say that she cried and when you tried to wipe her tears it just made her cry all the more.
I don’t get to share those stories I have to share others’ stories and I hate it. I selfishly want to be grumpy and have the day to myself.
But the anniversary of someone’s passing is also a day that you have to sympathize with everyone about their loss of that person. It’s not a day you get to reflect and remember and wish and think about what might have been. It’s the day they all tell you what their memories of your loved one were about and they want you to tell them it’s all going to be okay. It is all going to be okay, by the way. I don’t say this to be mean, I want all their stories.
Loss, in the end, turns from pain to remembrance to fond recollection, I think. It’s a natural progression that someone’s loss doesn’t sting quite so much as the years wear on a bit.
This isn’t to make you feel sorry for me. To use a term from my friend Rene Syler: we’re thriving. My kids are healthier, happier, and more stable than I’ve ever seen them. That’s all since my wife passed away. I started dating again. My oldest is in college; my middle in high school and the twins are in middle school.
Life, for us, is amazing and adventurous and wonderful. I wouldn’t trade anything we’ve done in the last four years for the world.
I said to my kids and to you that each year I’d make a video, a video showing what we’ve done, how we’ve changed. The reality is . . . after last year, when we showed you how we saw life as a constant change, a new beginning . . . I didn’t really know what more to say. There isn’t anything left to say. I normally write or cover a song, record it, and do that video. Instead, this year, I’ve focused on writing new material for a record of my own. I wouldn’t have done that four years ago.
I can move on, go on dates, have sex, fall in love, hell even get married in the future, who knows? That doesn’t ever mean I will forget the amazing force of nature I shared half a lifetime with.
This is my chance to tell you that reflection. This is where I get to say . . . I loved, lost, and suffered and it was . . . beautiful. That is what makes March 26th so hard.
Fly on, my sweet angel. I love the way you spread your wings.