As good as any. Anniversaries always give cause to reflect, but if truth be told, I’m not usually given to marking this day. As anyone who has ever lost someone close will tell you, the small slender spear of loss can prick your heart at any time of year, sometimes a tiny scratch on the outer surface. Other times a gaping hole bore from the inside out. It needs no prompt, no reminder, so why inflict it upon ones self just for the sake of a date?
But this year it’s 20 years, and I didn’t consciously realise it until yesterday. And it kind of explains the cloudiness of heart I’ve felt over the last few days. And today, the piercing.
And when you have a small person to entertain, who doesn’t really understand who the young lady in the photographs are, you don’t have the indulgence of just pulling the duvet over your head, closing the curtains and allowing yourself to surrender to it. Thinking of her is rarely associated with sadness. Most days I smile and chuckle at the fun memories she left us or maybe I see or hear something I think she would have appreciated. After this long though, it’s hard to know whether my memory is playing tricks. Of sensual memories, I have no doubt. Her hugs, the smell of her, the slightly crunchy sensation of touching her lacquered hair, the fine and fair downy hairs of her cheek, coated in Clinique. What kind of person she was, well, I’m the first to admit that while my memory has distilled, it may also have filtered. Is this true for all people who have been gone for a long time? The memories become hazy, what’s remembered is an essence, unique in the eye of the beholder?
She’s been gone for longer than I knew her. Twenty years ago I was aged 16, so I reflect upon that too. I think of me in the weeks and days leading up to this day – all that I was and all that I thought I could be. In hindsight, how sly yet sudden comes the shift in your sense of self. Changed forever in that fraction of a moment between her being here, then not being here.
So, after I tapped out this draft, on my phone, I got dressed, put on my make up, and went out. With the intention of trying not to let my mind follow the ruminations. I didn’t want today to be lost in pity for myself or for her. I just wanted what she would have wanted – to try and be here, today. Alive, with her granddaughter for company. The BEST company.
So there. It was the day we did all this. There were also burgers, charity shops and Monsters Inc. So, it was a GOOD day.