Settling In


This Tuesday will be the third anniversary of Mom’s passing, and in some ways it’s felt like the hardest anniversary I’ve had to deal with so far. I’ve been thinking about the anniversary in the days leading up to it more than I have the others, and I’ve taken the day off work. (The first anniversary fell on a Sunday, so there weren’t any issues there, but the second was on a Monday when I did teach a class at eight in the morning, but then I took the rest of the day for myself.) Even though I know that I’ll get through it, I still feel like the weight of this anniversary is suffocating me, and I have to wonder just how much better I’ll deal with this day in the future.

If anything separates this anniversary from the others, it’s the fact that I haven’t had to move in the last twelve months. Both of the previous anniversaries came in the relative aftermath of big moves and even bigger changes in my life, and although my life continues to go crazy in a lot of ways, I’m not making the same kinds of large-scale adjustments in my life that I’ve been doing in the three and a half years since Mom began her final hospitalization. That means I’ve had a lot more time to think about things here, and having all that time may be more of a blessing than a curse.

It’s been almost a dozen years now since my father died, when I finally began to understand the wisdom of how great pains get easier to deal with over time, but they never get easy. I honestly don’t think that much about the anniversary of my father’s death when it rolls around every February, but I had a much different relationship with him than I did with Mom, so maybe that’s only to be expected. The fact that Mom’s passing is so much more recent probably doesn’t help me either.

I’ll probably write a lot more next month, when I do my anniversary .journal entry, about how this last year has left me feeling, but I don’t think there’s any question that this past year has been a huge one for me, as both my teaching and writing work have been even more hectic, and more successful, than ever before. This hasn’t really changed — I’ve got a huge paper proposal to put together by the end of this week — but I guess it’s been harder and harder to focus on that work when Tuesday’s anniversary keeps staring me in the face.

I keep telling people that I’ll need to live another hundred and fifty years to finish all the book ideas I have bouncing around in my head right now, and that just points to how much more I need to do while I’m still in this body. That’s going to mean a lot more of these anniversaries to deal with, and while I know they’ll never get easy, I hope this one at least gets a little easier to deal with as time passes.

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