Is an anniversary just another day? I realised I never commented on the first anniversary of Dad's death, so here are my thoughts...
Paul McCartney wrote a song called "Another Day". As you know, my dad was a massive Beatles fan and I am too and I love to get a song into my blog titles! The song describes how one day can be just like another, with no outstanding moments of note. And this brings me on to 14th July 2023.
People asked me what we did on the 1st Anniversary of Dad's death. I booked the day off as soon as we could book our annual leave, I didn't think my empathy levels would be high enough to cope with work on that day (self awareness is important!) My mom was not working that day either. I spent weeks, if not months considering what we should do. Should we go away somewhere? A day out? Go to the pub and have a drink for Dad? I agonised over it, trying to think of the perfect thing to do.
On Anniversaries in many cultures, it is a common practice for people to visit the loved one's grave. If a relative is cremated you don't have that as an option, unless you have the ashes interred or do something like plant a tree or have a memorial plaque somewhere. In our case the lack of a place to go was intentional. Mom and I never felt that having a permanent memorial to a person is a healthy or necessary thing (personal choice, I know it can be a comfort for many people so it's fine with me if you disagree with my thoughts). My feeling on this is that I can remember Dad anywhere (usually the most unexpected moment, like when "Imagine" starts playing on the radio when I am stopped at traffic lights). I don't need to go to a particular spot to do think of him. I think this influenced my decision on what to do on the first anniversary of his death.
After lots of thought about what to do on the Anniversary, I decided not to make any firm plans, mainly because I just didn't know how we would feel. The day before I felt quite anxious, I think because that whole week I had sort of been reliving the week dad was in hospital, and although the anniversary was on the friday, as dad died on a Thursday, the Thursday sort of felt like a poignant day. When that 14/07/23 came, I will be honest, it felt like every other day in the preceding year. You see, a date on a page can't make you miss someone any more or any less. The fact that we didn't make some big gesture didn't mean that we didn't miss my dad, it doesn't mean that we have forgotten him. By not making a gesture, it was testament to the fact that we miss him every single day and that life in the past 12 months has not been the same, and it never will be again. Pleas don't label me as dramatic for this statement, it is a fact - there will always be an empty seat on our sofa, an empty chair at the dinner table. I missed my dad no more or no less on July 14th 23 than I do every other day. I thought about him no more or no less than I do every day.
14/7/2023, you really were just "another day".