I've had a lotta angry dreams the past few nights.
It's a stage of grief I'm all too familiar with; I really don't like it.
Today marks one year since losing my mom-in-law, seventeen days after she was diagnosed with cancer.
In some ways, the anniversary is harder than the actual death. There's not the shock and numbness that in some ways lessen the pain. During the event, there is sometimes a flock of present, similarly grieving family and friends who help carry the burden. There's administrivia and to-dos for funeral arrangement and estate details. There's sometimes the muddiness of dealing with the fractured relationships of the living, the regret of things not done, things not said (though we were blessed with very little of any of that).
A year later, the reminder, the pain, is there -- but not the layers of distraction that blunted it before.
"It's not better yet, why won't this pain go away" is fighting against the "I don't want ever to stop missing her".
I have this reverse entitlement of feeling like I don't have as much right to grieve, because it's not my mom I lost. There's a feeling of hopeless helplessness of my being wired to fix things, but I'm not able to fix this for my beloved wife, or for my best friend brother-in-law.
I'm frustrated wondering if the only reason I'm feeling all of this is purely psychological. I know the date, and preemptively I know remembering is going to suck. Maybe I'm just getting myself spun up "unnecessarily."
Maybe it's just trigger events that remind me of the grief. Last year, we watched snippets of the Superbowl from a cramped hospital room during our final watch, and that's really changed what the game means to me for now, and I was dreading it this year.
Maybe it's just some big cyclical physical rhythm that needs to work itself out in human beings.
Or maybe we're all innately spiritual creatures, and our souls have elastic memories that pull toward each other for these kinds out losses.
Today is a day I remember a neat, neat woman. An example for me, for the daughter and wonderful wife she helped raise, and for the grandchildren who were the light of her recent times with us.
She was a giving, service-oriented woman.
So today was about staying home, not doing day job stuff, and doing what I could for my wife, with the kids and me telling each other stories about Grandma.
Which included, among other things, tales of swimming and Tic-Tacs, dog training and movie nights.
She is a neat, neat woman.