The start of the New Year makes me think of all important dates coming up-the anniversary of Bruce's death, my birthday and our anniversary. This year we would have been married 40 years. Quite a milestone to consider if he were still alive. Sometimes (but not often) I stop and think about what life would have been like. Bruce would have loved all of the life changes - the marriage, the births, being a grandfather to 3 little ones (actually 2 right now with another on the way). He always acknowledged our anniversary as a very important date on the calendar. And - in a very atypical fashion, I was the one who had difficulty remembering the day. Was it the 25th or the 26th? I was always off by one day for most things.
We got married a week after I turned 19 years old. March has a special significance in light of this and it follows on the heels of his death in February. I think that I have written about my birthday issues in past entries but just before he died - he would spend the week trying to help me acknowledge the date. It is funny how he never seemed to understand that the date was best recognized by the presence of all of my family. I hate to think that I am narcissistic - but in this case, I guess that is the correct label. Yes, I want that day to be about me, and it upsets me a bit that I am easily disappointed by what my birthday does not bring. One of the goals that I work towards is taking care of myself, and my birthday is a perfect opportunity to do that. So, what do I want to do and how do I make that happen? Rather than dismissing the day as a statement about how "not important I am and do I really expect everyone to drop everything and help me celebrate" - I am trying to do something by myself-for myself. This has now translated to spending the day at home, watching television, knitting, baking, listening to music, and whatever. It also means that I will buy myself a gift. Does it sadden me that I need to do this - that there is no one there to look out for me and orchestrate the day? It would be a lie to say that I am not sad about that. But still it never felt quite right to put my celebration in someone else's hands. And I believe that a birthday should be acknowledged and yes, celebrated.
And so I approach another year and another set of milestones, my sixth year as a widow, my birthday, my wedding anniversary date.
And I will focus on not focusing on what it means to be alone, and how different my life is now. Instead I will try and recognize my strength in dealing with the unthinkable events in the recent past-both bad and good. And I will try and contemplate the future that I want for myself and try and make that happen.