Death Anniversaries: The Beauty and Pain of Remembering

Death Anniversaries: The Beauty and Pain of Remembering

First...I'm so happy to be back writing in my blog after a little break.  The book is currently at the editors getting edited.  So, I have a moment to get back into writing to all of you because I KNOW without a doubt you have all missed my blog posts each and every Friday.  BUT, if you haven't, well I have missed you so get on the bandwagon and enjoy these great blog posts! 

Catching you up as I write, we are another 365 days around the sun and that means  a new year of anniversaries. Today as I write, it is February 8th and I have two people I now honor on this date; so very strange to me.  I honor and remember my late husband Jack and my father in law from my first marriage Gary.  Still odd to say that father and son died on the exact same day just 14 years apart.  

It's been a good day as I write this, nothing exciting, ran errands and reflected.  Shared a beauty of a post on socials that I will share with you here if you don't follow me (which you should be doing anyways @butterfliesandhalos ). I am taking my mother in law out to dinner later, it will be good for her.  As I move further out from my initial losses and the years continue to pass by, I'm finding it increasingly curious on how I am supposed to be feeling.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be on the couch unable to move or if I'm supposed to be crying and spending time at the cemetery or if I'm supposed to be doing all the things to remember them with a smile on my face.  I guess what I am learning is that there is no exact correct answer.  I've always done elaborate, almost grand gestures just because I truly believe a person needs to be celebrated for the life they lived and what they gave the universe when they were here.  I also know that it is so painful for many in the beginning years to even function and move forward.  Believe me, I was there once and I am now not there and it's even stranger to feel this way.  

What I am learning more and more is that ALL feelings are okay.  We can feel sad & happy, we can feel smiles & tears, we can feel numb & alive, we can feel up & down.  THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG.  I want to teach people that you can do you and it's all good.  Do not compare your grief, how you honor a loved one, or even how you process an anniversary to anyone.  Everyone has to process differently and that is my friends the beauty of life.  When we are in the beginning of the grief journey, we do more, we need more, we want our people back more, we want our old lives back.  When we move forward in grief and we reach year 15 for example (like where I'm at today) it feels different.  The grief journey feels healing, it feels better, it feels like yesterday but also a million years ago, it feels reflective, and it feels okay.  This did not happen quickly, I'm just feeling that maybe, just maybe this is my healing year.   When I say that I think of how far I've come and the work I have put into my life to heal after my losses.  My little guy Garret will be gone 18 years this June (absolutely mind-blowing), my first husband and brother 15 years.  These three deaths were the catapult into my biggest life changing journey ever.  So, I feel with the work I'm doing within my small business and the cards I create, I'm healing.  With writing my book and turning in my first rough draft, I'm healing.  With turning the calendar to another year and I'm further out from last seeing my people, I'm healing.  And you know what else, it feels good and OKAY. 

I will quote a verse in the song The Dance by Garth Brooks:

"And now I'm glad I didn't knowThe way it all would endThe way it all would goOur lives are better left to chanceI could have missed the painBut I'd have had to miss the dance"

So that...that is what I'm talking about when I blab out my feelings...I'm glad I didn't know what I know now while on this grief journey.  I'm glad I've grieved and I've remembered and I've honored and I WILL continue to do all this on the anniversaries and birthdays of my people who are gone; because I didn't want to miss the dance which in my mind means the healing.  

So in a nutshell or a very round about, maybe even confusing blog, I'm feeling good in honoring my late husband on year 15 and I'm happy to hear he is missed by so many just like me, because he is missed, but man life is so very different 15 years later.  I'm not crying on the couch wishing for him back...heck, I'm downright ready to celebrate him with a good ol' margarita from his favorite Mexican restaurant!  

Here is what I shared on socials: 

How do you honor 15 years? Is it just time passed, lessons learned, growth in life? I didn’t know 15 years ago that when my husband’s life was ending, mine was just beginning. I promised Jack that I would go on living and loving this life, that I would go on doing the scary things because we believe that love is bigger than all fear and pain. I learned love and grief are just the part of life that we were never told about. As I look back on 15 years, I honor the memories, I share them loud and proud for all to hear, I’m doing the hard things, but mostly I’m keeping the promise. I’ve always said I’m the blessed one…that still holds true bigger than I could imagine today. So I thank Jack for the promises he taught me.  To our dear beautiful daughter…you are the Grace all wrapped in a cute little body, bubbly personality, and smarts that outwit me.  Thank you for all the grace you’ve given me in 15 years. We miss you Jack, thank you for the memories. As we remember 15 years ago that a young man left us, we ALSO remember 1 year ago today that a bigger than life man went to be with his son. Thank you to my father n law Gary for the signs, the visits, and continuous guidance  in the every days of life.  Your voice is missed and your presence is deafening.  We continue to live for the ultimate life we know you were given. You boys behave up there in Heaven and we will try our best here in this life. Love you both.  🩵February 8th🩵 ***you will have to go to my socials and see the beautiful video I shared*** a long winded, crazy blog post on death dates and remembering, I hope you can take away one thing from all of it; just do your best to be your best and to remember your loved one no matter what that looks like.  Lean into friends and family as you need and if at year 15 you are still in the darkest trenches...I am here for you and you can reach out to me at any time.  We are all BETTER TOGETHER, so let's not do this grief-y life alone! IT'S ALL GOOD! 


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1 comment

So impressed how you honor and celebrate your people. I need to do a better job of that.

Judy Handon

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