The 7-year anniversary for Jared’s death or his angelversary as I call it, didn’t hit me as hard this year.
The first year I was kind of numb, grateful to have survived that awful first year. The second year, that was when his death got real. That’s when I knew he was never coming home yet life must go forward. The third year I decided to live. Live for myself instead of just living for Jared’s memory. The fourth year, I was in a new relationship and felt guilty on Jared’s angelversary. Guilty I was loving someone that wasn’t him. The sixth year, I was doing okay until grief knocked my son down and sent me down the grief hole.
But this year we both had relatively good days. We decided that rather than focus on the saddest of days, we would just have a normal day. That we no longer needed to honor the angelversary to honor Jared. Instead we decided to treat the angelversary like any other day and focus on celebrating the good memory days.
It helps to know Jared would not want us to be sad. He would tell us that weneed to live. I know he would be telling me to get out there, take life by the horns, and make it my own.
Even though this year was better, I still miss Jared. Wish he was here. And this may sound crazy, but no matter how much I miss him, I am grateful that his suffering has ended. There comes a time and it is such a guilt-ridden moment, when you realize you are no longer praying for a miracle but instead praying for their suffering to end. That doesn’t mean you want them to die. It doesn’t mean you won’t miss them everyday. It doesn’t mean that you stop loving them. It just means that your love for them is more than you ever thought possible. It is the moment you realize just how selfless love really is. I would take a healthy Jared back in a heartbeat. But I would never, ever want him to have to suffer the way he did his last few weeks on earth.
Instead, I tried to find comfort that he is breathing with the angels. And until I get to see him again, I will try to live a very full life. A life I can look back on and be proud of. And I will teach my child that life is an adventure and that fear of the unknown should not keep him from living. These last seven years have taught me more than I ever wanted to know about grief but they have also taught me a tremendous amount about strength and resilience. And life and love.
This most recent angelversary reminded me just how much grief changes over time. And the manner in which we cope with our loss changes over time. And that it is always okay to accept the changes and grieve in a different way. There is no right or wrong way. Just the way that works best for you at the current moment.
And right now, for me, that is focusing on the good memories. Living my best life. And loving my people with my whole heart.
I’m reading more and more widows saying how hard the second year is. It helps to know I’m not alone – I’m in my second year.