I’d be lying if I said today was simply a day of reflection. The weeks that have led up to today have been full of, if not reflection, recollection or something like it. Can you “recollect” memories that you collected unwillingly, that you have barely put out of your mind since you got them, earned them like scars and bruises? Today is a day I observe and almost — in a twisted way — honor. I’ve already given the backstory of what this date stands for, and since I’m already risking repeating myself, I won’t retell the whole story. You can read it here, if you’re interested. All you really need to know is that my fiance was in a horrible automobile accident on October 5, 2010. Recovery was a process of hundreds of baby steps, but he still recovered from his serious physical wounds a lot more quickly than I’ve recovered from the emotional ones.
My eyes have felt wet, pressured and tired the past few weeks as the anniversary has approached. I laid down on my bed last night and cried into his old t-shirt, filled with holes, the one I wore every night while he was in the hospital. Nothing made me cry — nothing and everything. No single memory with sharp edges, no specific haunting image or sound of sirens in my head. It was just a release I needed, still do need.
I let myself admit these things in writing, in public, once a year. The rest of the time, I rarely mention the accident, but not because it’s not on my mind. It almost always is. It’s just that I know it’s too heavy. It weighs down normal conversation, overstretches the good intentions of acquaintances and falls down on friendships, a crushing burden that I’ve learned not to share for the most part. I’m still learning to forgive people for this, for the way what feels like abandonment is really a lack of knowing what to do or what to say or how to be there. Sometimes I think of writing a little note to the people who were (and are) there, to thank them. I just can never think what to say, or whether they’d even want to read it.
Have I made any progress in a year? Do I feel better now? When I read over my post from this time last year, I guess I do believe that words have meaning. Reading it makes me teary again. And in the year that has passed since I wrote the post about meaning, I’ve written 700 pages that I like to think are meaningful. Some of them resonate with me on a deep level, what at least says that those words have meaning to me. I’m torn between hoping that they have meaning to others, too, and hoping that there’s no one else in the world who knows just what it means to feel the way I felt.
I’m looking forward to the day after the anniversary of the accident. Last year, I remember the relief that that specific milestone was over. I felt like I could breathe again. Right now I feel like I’m suffocating on the memories. I’m looking forward the clean air of another, hopefully better, year.
I heard this song yesterday that makes me think of him, or of us. It’s sweet and sad and simple. I keep listening to it. I want to dance to it and cry to it.
It’s not always easy, but somehow our love stays strong.
If I can make you happy, then this is where I belong.
… I wish that I was stronger so that I had more to give.
I’ll share everything I have and we’ll find a way to live.
…And I know you too well to say you’re perfect,
but you’ll see, oh my sweet love, you’re perfect for me.
This weekend, we’re going to take some time to be together, to try to heal. Some things are too hard and too painful to get over, but I think there’s a difference, however subtle, between “getting over” and moving on. We don’t have to get over it. But I want to move on to better moments, to a point where my life isn’t divided into “before the accident” and “after the accident.” Maybe a walk on the beach and a round of mini golf — memories of things we did before the accident and reminders of the good things, even little things, since the accident, will get us somewhere.
It’s not much, but it’s a start.