Tomorrow is one year. One year since an earthquake happened in my life and shook everything out of place. One year since my partner took his life.
I have tried to approach the anniversary calmly. People have been asking for weeks what I was going to do and I have just glibly said that it doesn’t really matter. And it doesn’t. Other than the fact that I want to be with my parents, whatever I do the day will pass and then another day will come. But the calm seems to have only lasted until about 48 hours ago. Then my mind started to dance. The enormity of a year having passed without seeing him, without being able to repair, without being able to make things better, was impossible to ignore any more.
For the rest of my life the 4th February will be a date I remember; a day which feels different. I’m sure that anyone who has lost someone close to them will know that feeling. But what has played on my mind the most is that the date and the day don’t match. Of course I know that dates fall on different days every year but it has messed up my mental countdown.
On Sunday I remembered that on the Sunday this time last year was the last bike ride I went on with Bob. I had bought a new bike for touring and winter road riding (a Specialized Tricross for those who are interested) and was trying it out for the first time. We went for a fairly short ride but I recall stopping to take a phone call, I think from my Dad, and then noticing that Bob was shaking his head as we rode along. I remember asking why he was shaking his head and him saying he couldn’t stop thinking about things. I joked with him that he would be in trouble with me if he didn’t stop. I remember the cheerful greeting he gave to another villager as we arrived home and know now how hard that cheery front must have been for him.
Monday was the last running club. I persuaded him to go in the hope that a run would make him feel better. That evening we sat and talked for a long time, the same way as we had many times in the preceding weeks. As I watched a hazy sun set behind the clouds yesterday the phrase ‘a weakened sun’ came into my mind. That is how Bob seemed to me those last few weeks – a weakened sun. Because anyone who knew him would tell you he shine bright and bought great light into rooms and people’s lives. He tried to shine right until the end but the clouds weakened him.
And then on Tuesday I lost him. So today actually feels like a year because by the Wednesday last year he was already gone. I’m not sure why this bothers me so much but I imagine it is because of a lack of control. I cannot control what happened last year and now I cannot control the grief I feel now. I feel frustrated and out of synch.
Grief has certainly changed me in many ways. I am more aware of others and how they may be feeling. More aware of the way the background of your life can affect you. But I am also less tolerant of the smaller gripes I hear. I admit to sometimes listening to people and thinking ‘does that really matter?’ Or ‘Is life really that bad?’. But, that said, I am still essentially the same Cadi I always was; still growing (although sadly not in stature!) and still learning. Still taking on new challenges. Still running. Still cycling. Still fighting.
I do not and will never avoid talking about Bob. I am not afraid to look at photos. I know he is not coming back but under my bed is the last box of teabags he ever bought. In the box there is one teabag left (yes I drank the rest; they were Vanilla Redbush, who wouldn’t?!). One left, just in case he ever needs it.
Tomorrow will come and tomorrow will go. A weakened sun may set but it always rises again – the light still shines in all of our lives. New days will continue to dawn.
And there is always a song to help you through: http://youtu.be/oCtIFQV5Cn8
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