It’s the 3 year anniversary of the day my father took his life. It’s not a milestone anniversary like the first year, and in all reality it should be treated like any other day on the calendar. But we remember. We see the date and have to take a deep breath. We might be a little out-of-sorts today, but we will keep functioning because we’re past the point of being allowed to let grief swallow us whole. We will hide our irritability and we will save our tears until we’re behind a closed door. Everything will take a little bit of extra energy today, but we get through it with some comfort in knowing that we’ve gotten through this date before and we will have to get through it again and again.
Tonight I’ll light a candle and I’ll remember my dad for the amazing man he was and all that he taught me to be. I’ll put my head down and say my thoughts out loud to nobody in particular. Ask the questions, yet again, that I know I’ll never have an answer for.
I’ll toast him with a Captain and Coke and choke back the threatening emotions.
One day I’ll have to walk down the aisle with his ashes in a little pendant around my neck and my brother by my side holding his place.
One day my children will know of their Poppop only by the stories I tell, and the part of him that lives on in me.
But today, I’ll just remember. And I’ll watch the flame of the candle and feel the burn in my chest.