Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Importance of Remembering


Anniversaries are sneaky. They lie low in the bushes of our lives pretending to be asleep or not even there until we walk by, and then they smack us from behind. Sometimes we don't even recognise the smack as coming from where it did until a bit later. I learned a new lesson about the power of emotion over body during the past 10 days.

On June 10, I spent the day pottering around the farm. I noticed the date and thought with a certain amount of pride (watch out for that stuff...always caused the Greeks problems) that this year I was taking it pretty well. June 10 is the anniversary of my husband's death, an occasion that changed my life and my children's lives irrevocably and with the impact of having a building fall on us. So to just be doing some gardening, go out for a ride, things like that on June 10 felt good. Foolishly, I thought to myself that I was really "getting over it".

Losing your partner isn't the sort of thing that you get over. You do get used to it. As a friend of mine told me not long ago, it never hurts less...it only hurts less often. I've gone through the anger, through the expectation of him walking in the door surprised that we weren't expecting him home from a trip unepectedly, through the sadness...well, some of the sadness. Now the loss is more like an old friend.

So how did I get smacked? About the 12th I noticed an itchy eye which on closer examination was a stye, an inflammation on my eyelid. A stye? I haven't had one of those in years. Styes are a sign that your immune system is on the blink and for the life of me I couldn't imagine why. Then all of a sudden I had a sore throat and fuzzy tongue. Thrush? Another immune system warning bell. Neither of these things have been life threatening, just unbelievably irritating, and easily treated. I found myself extremely tired as well, to the point of taking an unplanned 6 hour nap one day.

It was only around dawn today that I suddenly woke up and made the connection. Sure, consciously I'd slid by June 10, but that didn't mean that my unconscious didn't notice. For many years I used to get incredibly cranky and argumentative right after New Year's Day and each year I had to remember consciously that this was the anniversary of my father's death. My mother died slowly and there never really was a particular date associated with her passing, so I never noticed the phenomenon with her death. At any rate, having realised that not taking the time consciously to recognise the day ended up with me paying for a week or so, I've decided to pay more attention to these things from now on. This is probably the reason for many of the ceremonial anniversary observances. It keeps things out of the bushes.

copyright 2007 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani

4 comments:

Rhonda said...

I wish I had known him. I could always sense his presence around you. Loses like that are so difficult to understand. He must have been a very dynamic individual. Bless you. Rhonda

Mohamed Hossam el Din said...

Hope you feel better.

Living Away said...

dear maryanne...

unfortunately, i understand your pain and i'm so sorry for it!

i lost my father in a motocycle acident 27 years ago, when i was just 14, and i do agree with your friend..."it never hurts less...it only hurts less often"!
he passed away on may 21st and my body also notes it!

well, take my dear!
leandra

Omar said...

Sorry about your husband.

I have asked myself: which one is better - I go first or my wife. Both are difficult; for my wife to remain alone would be extremely difficult, and I would rather remain rather than think of the pain she would go through if she remains alone. But then, normally women manage widowhood, much better than men.