I wrote this post this last week on an evening I was feeling really low. I’m feeling better now and was leaning towards not posting it. However, a number of blog and Facebook posts this past week reminded me that the ‘Holidays’ are stressful for a lot of people and that I am not alone in my struggles. Sharing this post may help others realize they are not alone either.
Last month, I went to ROW practice the evening before Terry and my 11th wedding anniversary and while we were wrapping up practice and walking out the door, I jumpstarted a conversation about wedding anniversaries. I was predicting that Terry would forget our anniversary and so was looking at suggestions of what we could do. One of my fellow rowers asked why it was Terry’s responsibility to remember and plan something special which kind of stopped me short. The conversation went off into suggestions of fun activities to do before I had a chance to respond (the crowd favorite was swing dancing), but the question of remembering really resonated with me.
In full disclosure, it bugs me that Terry has to be prompted to remember our anniversary and Valentine’s Day. As a feminist, which I’m quite comfortable identifying with, it probably shouldn’t, but it does. A lot. But after 11 years of marriage–nearly 14 years of knowing one another–forgetting dates like Valentine’s Day and anniversaries really shouldn’t be a big deal, should it? I should be used to it by now, right? Well, see there is the rub. Valentines Day and wedding anniversaries didn’t always require prompting and well placed hints–or my mother sending out a card before the date. I have some damn special memories associated with each, including skiing trips to Boyne (in northern Michigan) for Valentine’s Day with special dinners and rather sexy gifts as well as special adventures to Montreal and dinners at the top of the Hancock Building in Chicago for our anniversary. Terry was really sick the week of one of our first anniversaries celebrated in New Orleans, but he still managed to coordinate a special dinner and gift, with some planning involved.
So, what gives?
Just a guess, but I’d say
- Terry’s mom, Janet, dying of congestive heart failure February 11, 2007
might just have something to do with it.
Valentine’s Day has become almost a non-holiday since Janet died and I fear our anniversary is moving in that same direction. This year, Terry did forget our anniversary and has started associating the date with after Thanksgiving rather than the weekend before. Ugh.
And today is the 1st anniversary of Zoey’s passing and I am feeling all kinds of a mess about this. Questioning whether we did enough, missing her to pieces, being angry at Terry for silly reasons, wanting to hide somewhere so I can mourn…
And tomorrow is the 4th anniversary of Dr. Uddo calling to tell me that the biopsy results were not benign. No matter how much hoping and praying and people saying that breast cancer wasn’t going to happen to me, it did. Positive attitude wasn’t quite enough in that situation. While I found out the week that started with our anniversary and ended with Thanksgiving that my first mammogram was irregular, there was a month there where I hoped that I would wake up and the fear would just be a bad dream. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the apple cart being rolled over. It’s so strange how being told I have BC–no ‘ifs’, ‘ands’ or ‘buts’ about it–is more traumatic to me memory-wise than my mastectomy on December 28. Strange.
This is a time of anniversaries and holidays with much positive symbolism and significance, but sometimes the unhappy memories are also heaviest and are considerably heightened during this time. Many people are carrying extra baggage that they haven’t quite worked out how to handle. All I can say is try to be extra kind and compassionate to both yourself and one another during this time. xoxoxoxo