I recently was at work requesting days off for various weddings, camping trips and Beyonce concerts that are already scheduled throughout the remainder of the year when it occurred to me that I should look and see when the 1-year anniversary of The Outing is. In considering the gravity of that day, I don’t think it can be a day I’m at work or have scheduled plans. It will likely resemble “Luke’s Dark Day” from Gilmore Girls, the one where he disappears on the anniversary of his father’s death and no one really understands why. To my relief, the anniversary of The Outing is on a Sunday, so no need to take the day off. That said, sitting at my desk I started to imagine what my head-space will be like. Will I even want to be around Katie? Will I want to be alone or distracted by friends? In town or out? Will I need more than just Sunday, or Monday too? What will I think about? Getting lost in planning for this moment, I got emotional at my desk, shut my laptop and took a walk outside. Planning to mourn my life was going to need to be a Future Natalie problem.
I still have moments where the magnitude of loss catches me off guard, like the raised seam in the sidewalk that trips my otherwise capable feet, causing sheer panic as I teeter on the brink of identity crisis. Tonight while I was working at home, I looked up at the wall my desk occupies and noticed the customized clock. This clock was a wedding present, engraved with “Kyle and Natalie” and our wedding date. I remember opening it, wrapped in warmth of the thoughtfulness behind it, imagining it being on our wall for many decades to come. This clock was supposed to track when our kids are late for school, the time we eat breakfast on Christmas morning, the time we eat Thanksgiving, walk down aisles, go to graduations. This clock was supposed to witness the memories I was planning to make with Kyle. Will this clock always represent the beginning of our marriage, that time where I naively walked with ease through the plans for our future, strutting along a newly paved sidewalk, un-trippable? Will Katie reach a point where seeing the name Kyle will feel false? Will I? The sudden intensity of my sadness in these moments continues to remind me that I am really not in control of my acceptance of this process, that I owe it to myself to feel the sorrow and respect what this sadness means: my life isn’t what I thought it was going to be. This is not to say that it isn’t headed down a more interesting, improved path. I’m learning to accept what my life looks like now amongst the battlefield of mourning, rewriting what my book is going to read. It is only with the bad, that I can appreciate the good. Patience with myself is a virtue and all that other crap. I digress.