Before I can even mentally process it, my body reacts to hearing or reading the word September. I’m zip-lined to an unreal time of formidable tragedy. I’m brought to the mouth of a cave that echoes, “Death and Henry are in here,” and I feel the heavy bellowing, damp air emanating from the depths of the cave, and I sit down at its mouth and gaze, hypnotized. I imagine it will always be this way.
It was like this, though not as intense, when I lost my dad. He died on the birthday of a good friend of mine, and was buried on my birthday almost 10 years ago. August is a month of sadness where before, it was celebratory. Now, the month carries a shadow, but I have so many wonderful memories of my dad that the tragedy of his sudden passing doesn’t cause August to be a brooding affair any more.
Tragedy and horrible life events seem to piggyback significant dates in my family. My Aunt had a stroke on Easter this year, my Grandfather died on Easter when I was a child, and we lost Henry two days after our six-year anniversary, at the end of September. It will be interesting to see how much we can stomach celebrating our seventh this year when two days following will be the first anniversary of the death of our first child together.
This is pretty cheesy and melodramatic, but our life is a rose for the beauty and thorns, and if you pay attention and move past the delicate inviting smell, the thorns are by far the most impressive part of the flower’s anatomy. We should change our last names to Thornjumper. Or Flowerbutt.