A Year and a Day


Fair warning: this post is going to be a bit of a downer. If you want something to cheer you up, here’s a video of some baby pandas on a slide.

So yeah. Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s passing. Which is a nice euphemistic way of saying I lost one of the greatest men and influences in my life, and my entire family and the world was diminished. Not something you want to denote with an “anniversary”, and yet it was something I couldn’t avoid being aware of for several days beforehand and dwelling on for most of the day.

And now today is “a year and a day”. Historically this is a length of time with great significance, with many precedents. Of particular interest to me is the notion of mourning for a year and a day. I actually thought about this (not coincidentally) about a year ago, when I realized very quickly all the holidays and other events that would be coming up without Dad around to see them. Every one of them would be “the first (insert holiday) without Dad”. And yesterday was the first anniversary of his passing, which was the one holiday I never wanted to have, with or without him (although I suppose having it with him would have been odd and more than a little creepy). And so… today is a year and a day. There are no more “firsts” to endure. Everything has been trodden, everything is old hat, or at least as much as it ever will be. Each day that follows will no longer be “the first time without Dad”. So what do I make of it instead?

I have decided that I am going to make this year about reclamation. I am going to take back every single day that I lost. Not that I regret mourning, because I needed to take the time to understand what I felt, to get through it, and be able to move on from what happened. But that time is over, and more importantly so many other times in my life are over, times that had become old and stale and lost their meaning long before I was willing to let them go, and I have at last decided I am ready to let go of all of it.

Starting today, I am reclaiming my life, and I am reclaiming myself. I have let too many things languish, and I have let too many things stagnate. I have decided to give myself a year and a day to make a change, a real, positive, and noticeable change in my own circumstances. Life is for the living, and I am tired of merely existing.

Who’s with me?

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8 Comments on “A Year and a Day”

  1. Google and serendipity provide this:

    Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
    Aetas: carpe diem, quam
    minimum credula postero

    My latin schoolin’ ended in the 7th grade (just prefixes really) but apparently that translates as:

    While we’re talking, envious
    time is fleeing: pluck the day,
    put no trust in the future

    time as ripened fruit, a dog barks for the time trialists.

  2. Shoshana says:

    I don’t know how you feel but I can empathize. My mother died in 1997 (December 25th, thank goodness we are Jews!) and this past Monday would have been her birthday. Judaism is one of those “mourn for a year” traditions, so I wasn’t able to just forgot. Not that I could, but I found myself angry. Angry because I was so sad. I had these stupid restrictions on me because my mother had died. How about if she hadn’t died in the first place?

    I won’t give you any advice. All I will tell you is that what you feel or do is correct, as long as it doesn’t harm someone else. No one can or should tell you how to feel or react. All your feelings are valid.

  3. I’m Jewish too! YAY FOR GUILT!

    In any case- they say it gets easier after the first year. I don’t know, having not (bite my tongue I know) lost a parent… my mom just passed twenty two years of losing her own mother. She says her life adapted to let the hurt live with her, but it never went away. In either case- I’m wishing and sending comfort upon you/to you.

    • Bob Bonsall says:

      Thank you. It does seem to be easier now than it was, and I imagine it won’t be as hard moving forward without all the “firsts” to deal with. I appreciate your support.

  4. frazzledslacker says:

    You captured beautifully in words an experience I never was able to fully explain. In reading your experience I felt every word as if I had written it myself. <3


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