This year is the first one since the crash where we stayed home for Thanksgiving. We usually go away to soothe our souls with mountain air and breath-giving views. However peaceful it might seem, that still brings its own level of stress due to packing clothes, food, emotions, and expectations for five. Instead, we stayed home and had a quiet holiday. We spent the 26th tree finding and trimming as the boys would have loved, and then, Dan and I took this past week off from work and obligations. It wasn’t enough time. It never is though, is it? This escape from the world did carry me to an epiphany, of sorts: Death Anniversaries are not really here for the griever. We do not need a “remembrance day”. As a parent who lost two children, that grief is inside me every second of each day. It isn’t expounded upon on one day of the year. It is an ever flowing current within my veins. The anniversary is a moment in time when the rest of the world says “we give you permission to grieve” and we grievers will cling to it with every fiber of our being. The more time that passes, the less people remember. The less they reach out. The less they say their names. The less permission they give. The fighter inside of me screams into the empty void that I DO NOT NEED YOUR PERMISSION! But, I do. Desperately. I need it on November 26th. And, May 20th. And, June 27th. And, on Sundays and all the other days, too.
I speak about #naturalizegrief quite a bit. Our society does not accept Grief beyond that 3-day bereavement window. It does not approve of anything but smiles on our Zoom calls and masks perfectly in place the rest of the time. With more hours that pass, others begin to resent canceled dinner plans and the versions of us that remain. It’s been four years. While I will admit that my lows do not stab me in the gut with shock quite as often, my constant is more stripped to the bone. This year, we put up a second Christmas tree in our home. It is filled with the names of children who have gone on before us. Each have touched us in one way or another. Every day, I add another name or two and when I do… I take a moment to remember them all. To those of you walking a similar path: I will say their name. I give you permission to grieve. To cancel plans. To be the you who remains. This is Grief. We are Grievers. Every day. Much Love, The Graceseeker