Unhappy Anniversary

Not all anniversaries are happy. Not all of them bring with them a feeling of celebration.  Today I experience one.

One year ago today my beloved mother-in-law left this world behind. After battling cancer for the third time, her body finally lost. And our world was changed forever.

Without a doubt, a giant void has been left. There is an empty spot in the bleachers at my kids’ sporting events. There are no cards in the mail on holidays that truly only served as “a reason for GG to spoil her grandkids day.” There are fewer cheers for me as a mother.  And there is one less person in our world to motivate, direct and compel us.

The absence is tangible, and it is painful.

But she is with us still.  In the way my daughter uses her inherited gift to create art and crafts that my husband and I can’t even imagine.  In the way my son picks clothes that she would have loved to see him in, and in the way his chest puffs as if he can hear her compliment.  She is there when my husband recounts a tale from work where his “no excuses, get the job done, there is no quit” attitude shows. She is there when I go ahead and put “one more” load of laundry in, even when I’d prefer not to. She is in every banana split blizzard with pecans that I order (she introduced me to this delight).  She is in every song that my windchime sings.  She is with us still.

So today, while it is an anniversary we’d prefer to not have, I will celebrate anyway.

I think we will make her favorite strawberry cupcakes and eat them in celebration of her life. We will celebrate that she can breathe, full deep breaths without feeling like she can’t get enough air. We will celebrate that she isn’t walking around in a broken vessel whose extremities suffered neuropathy from chemo. We will celebrate that we got to keep her long enough that she leaves a mark on each of us. We will celebrate because she was ours.

Because whether she is here or not, she is worth celebrating!!


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