Oh the anniversary

Oh the anniversary. It comes every year and fills me with dread. As early as August 1st I sense it, and then wait until the 19th can finally come and go.

My mom always told me the loss of her parents got easier once she met my dad and had kids. I guess I thought being engaged would make me at peace with Mother’s Day and the anniversary. And then I feel disappointed–in life, in myself–that those days are still so tough.

I also get stubborn. Nine years later it is hard to truly believe the common sayings: she’s with you, she knows, talk to her. BULLSHIT I want to scream (but I am a lady and keep that to myself, thankyouverymuch). I don’t think I’ve felt angry about her death until I got engaged. And now I feel so jipped, so belatedly.

I tried today. When my watch, which was her watch, scraped the silver subway grate beside my seat not once, not twice, but three times on my morning commute, I wondered if Sally was there. When my coworker announced she got engaged, and as we celebrated over champagne toasts, it might have been Sally showing me that goodness and joy still exist and make life worthwhile. And when thunder rocked the sky as I ran down the street leaving work, I thought of Sally, who was as forceful and fearless and “phenomenal” (my cousin Julia’s description) as that thunder.

It might not be the Hollywood version, where the person appears to you in a beautiful moonlit river, or sits perched high atop a billboard, and answers all your unanswered questions and is so alive that it’s scary and familiar all at once. But maybe it’s my version, and I have to take it for what it is.

Mark Ramel