I haven’t been dreading this day as much as dreading it not being the kind of day I used to look forward to, but I guess that is no news to you. (You are the Universe, after all. All encompassing, omniscient, etc.) It’s another reminder; a confirmation in case I forget the circumstances of my reality. Thanks again, Universe. You’re the best. (Sarcasm heavily implied, but again, you know that.) Today is a special date that deserves jubilant celebrations, parades and fireworks. But I’m a little strapped at the moment so feel free to arrange that and I’ll pay ya back later. Please use your nights and weekends as much as possible when calling foreign heads of state to arrange this global holiday.
It’s a day that is only tinged (so far) with sadness. As much from missing him as remembering sitting on his hospital bed last year with a bouquet of flowers, grinning at him then quickly realizing he had no idea it was out 10th anniversary. The physical pain hadn’t been bridled yet, plus I’m sure he was in shock from all the unthinkable news we were getting machine-gunned at us. It was hard, but I think I was most sad because I knew how upset he would be if and when he remembered. He was the master of both the grand and the subtle gestures and never missed any milestone–no matter how minute it may have seemed. (PS – I don’t feel even a little bit bad about how I handled the unsolicited call from 1800 Flowers yesterday, asking me if I wanted to send Ken another arrangement this year for our anniversary. I’m sure he’ll recover–someday.)
Once Ken was home for hospice and his pain was managed, he remembered and he felt terrible. I know you’ll understand, Universe, that lying to him and telling him he did indeed remember was the right thing to do. I only wanted to ease his mind about it, but couldn’t rest his hands from making me one of his beautiful signature one-of-a-kind cards.
What I want to always remember about this date is my fluttering heart when I laid eyes on Ken on March 23, 2001 after a brief first meeting a couple of months earlier. I want to remember his million-dollar smile, his silky/growly voice and how he covered his mouth with his hand when he amused himself (and me) to the point of hyperventilating–usually with very inappropriate humor. I loved touching him; putting my hand on his shoulder or holding his hand. Our connection was obvious and abundant, and one of the prizes of my life of which I’m most proud. Pasting the photos of us into this entry transported me to each event, and I found myself not sad or tearing up, but grinning. Even his photos transmit a kind of positivity that is undeniable.
I’ve been taking daily walks thanks to Mother Nature’s apparent dementia. It’s a great time to let my mind wander. My thoughts easily drift to my life with Ken, and since. And I think about grief, and what a unique and unpredictable animal she is. A shape-shifter of sorts, I liken her to a Chinese finger prison or quicksand: the more you struggle to escape it, the tighter her grip throttles. Relaxing into her and submitting to her total control are the only ways to appease her. I never impinged I’d spend so much time pondering it. One day while on a walk I texted a note to myself: “Gluttony of grief. We always want more of what we had rather than being grateful for what we had.” I wanted to expand on it later in this blog or in my journal. I immediately got an email from my sister Ronda, asking if I was okay. Rather than texting it to myself, I’d sent it to her. Oops. I imagine she pictured me on a ledge somewhere or in a-pre-final-heroin-injection state. Sorry, sis! (FYI…blame can be squarely placed on two parents who chose names eerily similar.)
It’s important days like today when I can’t help but take stock in what I have and scrutinize things I want to change and target things I want to accomplish–both things for me and for Ken. As I emerge from my SID-induced isolation, everything seems possible. I feel enduring hope and optimism as I’ve felt sunshine upon my face these unusually beautiful March days. Ken lived his life not by fear, but by being bold. And I always envied that trait–particularly as our lives become exponentially complex and challenging. And hope I can emulate it someday–effortlessly, without thought. Though I suspect extracting the “what if” from me might prove nearly impossible.
Another milestone in completing the 365-day circuit of “firsts,” I want to celebrate today. Somehow and in a way that was different for me. I’ve taken the day off and started it by heading out early to coffee shop to write this blog. It’s my plan to stay out for most of the day–something I wouldn’t normally do, but something Ken would have easily done. Massage? Movie? Perhaps. Or rather, “why not?”