There are some tough days sometimes that you just have to live through. For my family, the hardest day of the year is the anniversary of my son Nick’s death. I am stunned every year by how hard it hits me. I used to try to tell myself that it would be okay, but there’s no way around it, it’s a hard day every year. A very, very, very hard day. Some years are worse than others, but there seems to be no way to escape it.
Other days that are filled with memories are easier, like his birthday. That at least is the anniversary of what was once a happy day, and you can’t help but smile at tender memories on those days, even if it’s bittersweet. But anniversaries of the day someone you loved died have no redeeming features. It’s the anniversary of a terrible, sad day.
So, we just made it through another one, supporting each other, and reaching out to each other. With all of us in different cities, we couldn’t be together, so we called and emailed throughout the day, which always helps. I had breakfast with one daughter in Paris, flew to New York and had dinner with another, and the next day flew to San Francisco to see several of my children, and three days later am heading to LA, to see another, making my rounds. As I do everyday, I wish we were together.
You do learn to live with the loss, but sometimes the pain of loss is more acute and impossible to ignore. The anniversary of my son Nick’s death is one of those days. I went out to the cemetery to visit him when I got back to San Francisco, and it always takes your breath away (or mine anyway), to find yourself there, face to face with the reality. It was a sunny day, and peaceful there. It was the day after the anniversary, and my youngest son had been out there the day before to visit him too. He had left him flowers, and I could see by mementos he had left, that another of my sons had been out there recently too.
Losing someone you love, particularly someone very young (Nick was 19 when he dies) is not an easy process. It is a journey, and sometimes a rocky path, but there are flowers along the way, tender memories and gently people who help you along. And in the end, despite the loss, I am grateful to have had Nick in my life at all. We will love him forever, and the anniversaries are just days we have to get through as best we can. I hope that if you have lost someone very young, or anyone you love, I hope the anniversaries go as gently as possible for you. With much love, Danielle