There is this saying (which I'm probably wildly misquoting) that the lead-up to a loss anniversary is much worse than the actual day of. God, I hope that's true because this lead up is torture. I can feel it looming over me like a shadow as the sky keeps growing darker with every day that pushes me toward it.
Saturday, February 24th, my Dad will have been gone for three years.
The following Saturday, March 2nd, my Mom will have been gone one year. An entire year. 365 days, 12 months since I last heard her voice. I used to count her absence in days, then weeks, then months. Now is where I begin to count it in years. Just that word, YEARS, arrests in my chest, makes me cough on almost-sobs.
As you can imagine, the end of February/beginning of March will never be the same for me.
They say it will get easier with time and while this is supposed to be of comfort, part of me fears that. Easier means farther away. Does this mean I will have forgotten her voice, her face, her words to me? It will only sting less because my memory will have faultered at that point. The bad will be lessened. The cold drifiting through the open sliding glass door as I held her hand in those last few lonely moments will be dulled. That I will be grateful for. But at the same time, this means that the feeling of a mother's embrace will be that much less present in me. So, for that, I don't long for easier.
I dread this year anniversary, too in that I have wracked my brain for something that is a worthy way in which to remember her. I can't find anything and I'm desperate. At first, we planned to go to Vegas (she loved Vegas). But then the reality of the cost of treatment and my Mother's ever-frugal voice of reason ringing through my brain changed that. I knew I wanted to plan something, so we decided on a weekend away in San Francisco just to occupy my mind. Logistically and financially, it made sense. But then I was reminded that my Mom didn't even like San Francisco. Grief is leaving me completely uncreative, but with an incredible need to mark this day, one of the most instrumental of my life, and above all, remember her. March 2nd will never be 'just a day' for me. Never.
In fact, I'm so fearful of this date that I don't know who I'll be on March 3rd. Sounds crazy, right? I'm sure that life will go on, that this one particular day will not change me anymore than any other day (especially the original March 2nd), but to be that much farther away from her is too much for my brain to comprehend. Geez, I'm sounding melodramatic. It's kind of like infertility. You write the words to your pain and they sound completely understated and yet so melodramatic they could end up in a crappy YA romance novel. And unless you've walked there, descriptions will always fall short. They'll always be simultaneously too much and too little.
I suppose when March 2nd comes I could share a few pictures, tell a few stories, but the truth is, not a lot of people really knew my Mom, so I'm not sure how much I care to do that. And my Mom was a private person, so I don't think she'd care for that, either. I've had necklaces made, and her pictures line the walls of my house but I have no gravesite to visit, no place to leave trinkets. I do have a journal to her, so I know I will open that. As I search for something, I'm beginning to realize that no matter how I plan to remember her, it will not be enough. The enormity of her loss will not be made right with trips or fireworks or trinkets or even a gravesite to visit. She will still be gone and nothing will change. Yes, that it what I fear the most. That I know exactly who I'll be on March 3rd. I will be the same as I am today and as I was on March 3rd of last year. I will be without her still.