So this is a month-and-a-half late (hi, my name is Andi, and my sh*t is decidedly NOT together), mostly because I’ve spent the past THREE months trying – and failing spectacularly – to authentically articulate my thoughts and emotions.
I can’t call August 21, 2017 the first “anniversary” of anything. Nor can I call it a “crapiversary.” For me, that term is entirely too juvenile, and it diminishes the severity of what we went through, though I know it suits many others just fine. A griefiversary, then? That insinuates the grief has passed, that it’s a memory to indulge upon one day a year, when in reality the grief is still alive, rearing its ugly head in times we least expect it. Onset-iversary? Maybe, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as well as trageversary – as in, the anniversary of the day tragedy struck.
August 21st, 2017 came and went and was – not just uneventful, but utterly unremarkable. It was a bright, sunny day outside. Chris worked from home, and Love Bug and I moved through the motions of our typical routines. In hindsight, I think I’d been holding my breath in the weeks leading up to our trageversary, waiting for Love Bug to relapse, or get worse, or fall ill a second time, or just for something bad to happen in general.
As the day loomed nearer, I found myself bracing for an onslaught of emotions, regrets, second-guesses, a crisis of faith…and none of it came. Instead, it was a day of quiet reflection and being present in the current moment, wherein I was surprised to find my focus wasn’t so much on past tragedy, but on how far we’ve all come, and on how much good and love there is in our lives, both internally within our little family and externally among family, friends, and strangers who meet Love Bug in passing but are no less charmed by her for their brief interactions.
My lack of a total and all-consuming meltdown I’m sure can in part be explained by the catharsis of so recently addressing and examining my own turmoil thoughtfully through this blog. Thus, instead of grieving over distant memories, I was able to acknowledge and embrace fully the uncertainty and harrowing fear and breathtaking grief, and then wave goodbye as I released them. There will be scars – I don’t foresee ever being truly free of random, blindsiding grief-stricken moments – but even scars at least fade over time.
Besides, Love Bug amazes me every day with how capable she is, how much she fights, how determined and fierce she is. And though Chris and I have come a long way, it’s only because we’ve had her to guide us; in leading us, she’s come the furthest of us all. For now, one year post-onset, that’s enough of a victory.
Still to come: a snapshot of our summer, an overview of occupational therapy, our surgery struggle, and so much more (I ran out of alliterative alliterations). Thanks for hanging. We’ve only just begun.