December twenty-first is just another day, after all. One day like any other since he died. One more day on the calendar. Just because it happens to be the one-year anniversary of the day he died doesn’t make it different than any other day. My friend Angela, who also lost her partner to suicide last year, told me that last weekend while we were Skyping. My brain, logical brain, knows she’s right. I grieve every day. I don’t make grieving reservations, grief comes when it wants to and overstays its welcome and never thinks about what I want.
Why then, as the days proceed inexorably toward that one day, that one day plus one year, a three now disrupting the line of ones and twos that precede it, does my heart clench in dread? Why does my stomach knot? Why does it feel so big, that day that is just a string of numbers, just another day in a long line of them; a line that started before he did and will end after he did? Why do I not want to get out of bed in the morning? If it is just a day like any other, why do I want to wipe it from the calendar, crush it out of existence?
When he chose that date, he took the shortest day of the year and made it into the longest day of my life. He took the three big sevens in our lives – our first date June 7, our first day in San Diego November 7, our wedding anniversary August 7 – added them to make 21 and subtracted himself to make zero. Every day now is another step I do not want to take, another anniversary of some horror, whether I remember it or not. Every day of the two weeks before he died was its own kind of nightmare. He was unraveling and I. I could not stop it. I could not stop it. I did not stop it. He did.
It is coming. I hate it already, and I haven’t even met it yet. I can’t predict what it will be like, but it feels like my enemy, that day. It is a thief that goes by no name, only numbers.
One. Two. Two. One. One. Three.