There are some good things though. The first time I had to face his birthday (and all the other special occasions) after he died, I was filled with anxiety for weeks beforehand. That horrible tight chest and the racing racing racing thoughts that just wouldn't stop. I have noticed though, as hard as the second year has been, when those special days come… this part no longer comes. There is still sadness and still a broken heart and a broken life to try and hold together, but there is no longer the paralyzing fear. I first noticed it last Thanksgiving, and went around like a weirdo expressing how happy I was to JUST be sad. Yeah! What a messed up statement… I'm happy to JUST be sad. But yes, I really am actually.
This really got me thinking about relatively and just how much we can change our perspective on certain things by what we choose to relate to it. It's like measuring your day up in one of those old balance scales. When you choose to relate today to one of your best days, it just adds weight to today. But when you choose to relate today to one of the really hard days - or perhaps even THE hardest day - we add weight to other side, and suddenly today might not seem as heavy as it did before.
In relation to a week before his birthday in 2012 - when he was alive and perfectly fine - this week has been unspeakably horrible. A hell no one should endure. But in relation to last year, when all the anxiety and fear and rawness twisted itself around inside me… this year the coming of his birthday is so much better. I know I won't always be strong enough to choose to weigh today against the heavier days… but somehow I think this visual might help me remember better. And hopefully it'll help someone else out there too.