Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of my father's death. It is a sentence that is just resonating in my head today.
Yesterday, just like that faithful day 10 years ago, was a beautiful day as if nothing was wrong in the world. Certainly good enough to believe so. I worked all day. I saw many friends, I had some laughs, I even made some moneys! It was indeed a beautiful day. I had decided not to really mention that it was the 10 year D-day, and I made that decision because I didn't want to be the bearer of darkness, the cursed one.
I can remember that feeling after my father had died, for months on it lingered. The girl that was left behind. I couldn't even stand to look at myself in the mirror. I couldn't bare to think that I was the same person anymore. Something had fundamentally changed.
I decided to share with a few people that it had happened, and I also didn't share with one, but it was shared with me.
One truly amazing human being was pro-active on the event. She called me in the day, with no warning at all... I hadn't even mentioned it to her that it was the anniversary, she just had it down. She called to wish me well in remembrance of him. She wasn't even in my life when he was alive, but she knew how much he meant to me. She took a breath like any other and said the words without a flinch in her voice, "Happy anniversary day!" It made my day just to know that she was thinking about it. I knew right then, I was not alone in the universe, not by a long shot. I could feel everything in me just dropping into the moment, to appreciate how grandeur life can be when shared in just the right way - and that was it. Thank you truly my dear friend.
Two others I shared with responded in a way that upset me. I told them about the anniversary, because it was something I wanted to share with them. Both of them offered me this idea of "celebration." One offered it as a piece of advice, and one offered it as a question in the form of: "would you like to mourn, or would you like to celebrate?"
Some of my readers now may understand why this was upsetting, and some may be confused. So here is a bit of my thought process:
For anyone that has loved, lost, and learned, we have realized that every day we are alive is a celebration in the memory of those that have flown. We have learned that it is possible to be held down by the changes in our lives, or that we can use it as an opportunity to change even greater, it is a state of transformation, that is what life is, in my opinion.
Now also in my opinion, an anniversary of a death, is something that can be quite different.
It is for me, a remembrance day where I can place a pretty exactly measured amount of time passed over an event that transformed me in some of the harshest ways that I have known, to this day. It is the 10 year anniversary to the day that I came home, and saw my father - the man that solely took care of me for all 18 years of my existence to that point, dead.
He was the one that I came home to almost every day for those 18 years. He was the one that listened to all my stories with the utmost of interest, and encouraged me to learn and grow in any and every way available. He was this soaring spirit in the depths of poverty, because he truly believed that we have a system not worth supporting, and he found his own ways to survive without that system, even with me around, and he always found a way to make the universe work. He made me believe that dreams come true every day, and thanks to him, I made my dreams come true, and I am finding my way through this crazy winding journey that we call life.
I didn't need to be reminded to celebrate, because I have already been celebrating. The memory of that day for me is a memory of a traumatic event. It is a type of pain that doesn't need celebrating, like if you were raped or attacked. It is just nice to know that you are not alone in the world, and that others are willing to be right there with you, even though it may not always be the most pleasant experience. That in itself has a way of healing.
As a friend of someone with an event of trauma, you might be sensitive to know that your friend is going through a rough time. And if you have been through that place before, by all means offer advice. But my suggestion is: do it based on experience, please don't just try to pretend you can make a biologist's problem feel better by offering them advice, if you are a chemist. Sure there may be some deep over lap in some experiences... maybe you will even get lucky and really hit upon a good idea. But if you can't relate to something directly, chances are it is better to just be willing to be there for a person and hear them out than to offer advice. Spend time with them, and learn together.
The other two people I mentioned it to had done exactly that. They offered to spend time with me. I had one more just say "that's really hard to believe," and that was a great response too. I am sure there are many ways to deal with each individual situation. But I just figured I'd share mine about this topic.
Regardless, it is now ten years and one day since I have seen my father alive, and there is no amount of words I can spread out to cover the depth of what that means. I love you, I miss you, I remember you, dad.