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These are Days - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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These are Days
Occasions come and go, and occasionally blend in your memories.  I found out today that one of my co-workers' birthday is today, which is also the anniversary of  Eleanor and I being wed.  That's kinda cool.

A few days ago, though, another friend celebrated a birthday- her first since the tragic loss of her own daughter in an automobile accident.  Not so cool.

She wrote about it at some length in a post titled "Cake, Schmake"- which tries to cope with the jumble of emotions and triggers which come out of these memory streams crossing:

My entire awesome family has wrapped me in love and care every single day, and my friends -- near, far, old, new, online and in person -- have offered more understanding and support than I ever dreamed existed.

Thank you ALL for your good wishes, not just today, but every day. You have all truly been a gift.

So, I think I cried today not just from grief but with gratitude. And my goal, now that I have acknowledged the former, is to spend the rest of the day with as much of the latter as I can.


I know some- nothing close to all, but some- of what she means.  In a little over a month, I will celebrate my next birthday with the woman who's the reason for our anniversary, at a show we both want to see and see together.  But that date has been intertwined, since about my seventh birthday, with it also being the birthday of my oldest sister's husband- who shared it with me until two days before my 48th, and his 70th, in 2007. Jean Pierre passed from cancer and his funeral and burial wound up on our birthday two days later.  The loss to his kids and grandkids was far greater than what I felt and feel, but it's still there.


Then, a few years later- five birthdays of mine ago, in 2011-was the day I got a call from an old friend from Rochester- telling me that one of our former ministers- not a participant in our wedding but who was present at Emily's christening- had been flying cross-country and was taken from us in an instant by an embolism.  My post on my birthday was titled simply Just. Like. That.

But as we remember our vows and celebrations of 29 years ago today, I will always have entanglements with the life that was lost barely a year later.  My sister predeceased her husband by almost 20 years, after a long and sad struggle with drink.  Our wedding was the last time I can remember that we saw her, and this photo- taken by a last-minute RIT student photographer who needed to do a wedding set for her portfolio- portrays the bond between sisters-in-law that no words of mine ever possibly could:



I wrote to my friend celebrating-if-you-could-call-it-that her first birthday without her daughter, partly to share a link about the grieving process, but also to empathize with the mishmash of these occasions.  Among other things, I said this (the "shoe" reference is to one of Peri's coping mechanisms for bringing her daughter back into her life in a tangible way- by sometimes wearing shoes from Jordan's extensive collection):

I have never lost a child, but I have seen the effect it had on a mother- my mother- who did. I have never "gotten over" the loss, and Those Days every year- her birthday, death day, her anniversary and even ours (which is tomorrow and which I will probably post about, perhaps quoting your post if I have your permission). Our wedding day was probably the last time we saw her; barely a year later, she was gone. I have a brain full of memories, a small collection of triggering songs, way too few pictures, but still it is enough. You are blessed that you have so much more in the way of memories (and I, for one, could never get away with wearing any of Sandy's shoes;), but still that is not enough.

Leave it to a fellow writer to turn that reference around in the best of ways:

You may not have been able to wear your sister's shoes, but you have walked closer to mine than many, and my heart is with you and your family. I don't think grief is something that leave us; we just learn to make room for it in our hearts.

And with that, may all your birthdays, and anniversaries, be happy- and real- but leave room in your hearts for everything else that's connected to them.
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