Monday, January 4, 2010

Walking with Boo

~ shared journey ~
Originally uploaded by alicepopkorn

An anniversary (from the Latin anniversarius, from the words for year and to turn, meaning (re)turning yearly; known in English since c. 1230) is a day that commemorates and/or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event. For example, the first event is the initial occurrence or, if planned, the inaugural of the event. One year later would be the first anniversary of that event. The word was first used for Catholic feasts to commemorate saints.

1 : to call to remembrance
2 : to mark by some ceremony or observation
3 : to serve as a memorial of

Tonight, and for the next couple of days I want to walk along side Boo. Like myself, and many others, Boo lost the love of her life in 2009. These next couple of days mark significant anniversaries for her.

As widows and widowers, we are often advised by others that the first year will be especially difficult, as it is the year of firsts. The "year of firsts," meaning first Valentine's Day without them, first Birthday without them, first Wedding Anniversary without them...

Being new to this, all I can say is that every anniversary thus far has been met with sorrow and pain. And in this year of firsts, way are all painfully aware of how this year will end, the anniversary of their death. In looking ahead I know that for me it will not just be the actual day of Michael's death that is difficult, it will include the anniversary of the dying process. There is that point when our loved one suddenly took ill. Or, if they had a terminal illness, such as Michael, there is that point when we knew that they were actively dying. It was a time when we felt utterly helpless, and experienced our true Love's life slip through our hands.

As you see in the beginning of this post, I did my google search, in true Dan form. I do this for a specific reason. Often as I prepare to write a post on a particular subject I want to really understand the true definition of a word I previously used in casual conversation. When you are grieving, nothing feels casual. Everything can feel very intense, yet distant and numbing at the same time. It helps me to break the word down, then break down what it is I'm experiencing.

As you see, the word anniversary, though often thought of in terms of a happy celebration on the date that an important event occurred, it actually has it's roots in the observance, or commemoration of saints. Now I'm not inferring that Boo's true love was a saint, and neither was Michael, thank God. What I am saying is that our spouses were central in our life, and commemorating their departure from this life is of great significance.

As a bit of an aside regarding this line of thinking, there is something that I feel others should understand. I'll explain this from my personal point of view. On September 13, 2009 Michael left this world, this life. As a result I feel like I am no longer whole. Yet, at the same time I don't feel as though Michael has left me. His love for me remains the same, and my love for him remains active. That is why each of these remembrances, opportunities to commemorate them, becomes very important to us. If you remember a significant day about our loved one, please share it with us. It will warm our hearts. It may bring us joyous tears. They are always on our mind, and it is a gift to us to know they are also on yours.

So here's to Boo, and to the man that gifted her with his love.

And, for both of them, I dedicate this video and song:
Northern Skies-Dido


  1. thank you for doing this for her. in spirit, we all quietly congregate around each other through the harder days, and nights. for today and tomorrow, throughout this whole week, we are here for Boo and her love. because as we've come to learn, an anniversary doesn't always affect only that one day.

  2. oh Dan, thank you so so much ... it means the world to me, and I loved the song by Dido. We loved listening to her, and I hadn't heard this new album ... funnily enough I played Dido's "Thank You" for Cliff at his funeral, and used to sing it to him <3

  3. I have been thinking about this post all day and having trouble coming up with the right words in response. But I'll try. This post just hits me in such a loving and inspiring way. To reach out to someone offering to be there beside them on this day and caring enough to create a post about them and their needs is just so unselfish and compassionate!

    This intent and connection somehow closes the gap that can remain so open when we are grieving (and facing much of that grief on our own) because of being isolated or the fact that most people don't understand.

    I picked up the kindness and love expressed in your effort and felt connected and part of something bigger than myself. So thank you for what you did for Boo and for bringing me into your fold through this miracle of cyberspace.

  4. I was talking to my therapist today, explaining how much kindness and compassion I get from my exchange with other widow/widower bloggers. I experience such understanding, and always feel that the flow of support here is unmatched.

    There are people in my life that help me in many ways. Fortunately for them, the aspect that is difficult in offering support is that they don't know the pain of losing a spouse directly. I never feel burdened by reading each of your blogs. In fact, I always come away with the grace of being invited in to your lives. In turn, I come away with a better understanding of myself.

  5. The exchanges and connections made with fellow grieving bloggers has been the key to my finding some peace and guidance through all of this. And I started blogging years after my husband's death. I think if I'd done so sooner, I'd be at a different place in my experience. The gift of being able to communicate with others who "just know" is priceless.

  6. Thank-you Dan for a beautiful post, and to the comments that followed. As "Widow in the Middle" commented "The gift of being able to communicate with others who "just know" is priceless". I agree, and I believe that following your blog has somehow proved very healing for me.

    I so understand what you write about in describing the very many different dates that are important to us.

    I have myself just acknowledged a very important date in my calender. The 3rd January 2003 was the last day that my partner and I had a full day at home together and life was normal. Chris was taken into hospital in the early hours of the 4th, which was to prove to be his last admission to hospital.

    Chris died on 14th January and thereofore during this period, I tend to play back in my mind the day by day account as the situation developed in 2003. I don't relive every minor detail, but theres more a general sense of "knowing", with only the main times etched into my memory. I find it these days to be very comforting.

    A friend of mine said to me only recently, that what he found "moving" was that the way I spoke made it feel that Chris was still a part of my life. I was so touched that he should say this, and indeed I think he is right. After almost 7 years apart, as I have worked through my grief, it's as if Chris has come back into my life in a new form that gives me happiness. (Though I hasten to add there still seems to be the odd time when something, such as a TV programme, will evoke intense sadness.

    Back to my memories :)