On July 26th, a couple of friends sent messages to say that they were praying for or thinking of the girls and me extra on that day. When I read the first of these messages, I had to think hard about why that day warranted extra thoughts and prayers. I finally figured out that July 26th was one month after Adam's accident.
Though I will never forget the day of his death, the date does not stick in my mind as well as the events. In fact, when filling out the first batch of estate paperwork, I had to repeatedly check the calendar.
When I mentioned this to our grief counselor recently, she asked if there were any upcoming milestones that concerned me. I've realized that for me, the milestones of grief will be not dates, but events: canoe trip, apple butter stir, Thanksgiving, the girls' first boyfriends, their drivers' licenses, graduations, weddings.
Today was one.
This weekend, one of the local living history groups is holding their annual summer gathering, at which Adam and our friend Doyle have roasted a hog for at least the last twenty years. Though I have gotten used to the empty space that Adam left in the house (and really, the process of rearranging the house to better suit the girls and me has made that space less garish), Adam's absence was a gaping hole in the events of this weekend. Adam and Doyle's partnership had at least as many habitual patterns as Adam's and mine, and they all crumbled to pieces this weekend, one after another. Each successive task that he was not there to do and each tradition in which he did not participate was a fresh reminder that he is never coming back.
A steady stream of fresh reminders all. day. long.
I'm glad that I went. For the most part, I enjoyed the day: I visited with people I don't often see, I got to pet greyhounds, the girls ran amok in the woods with a pack of great children. There was amazing music and delicious food. It was so very difficult.
As in other years, I felt like the pig pit was my center of gravity, the place to which I returned between other things. But it was not a center that sustains. Instead of my favorite person there was his absence because he is never coming back.