Tricky days that is what my daughters and I call days that should be celebrated – holidays, birthdays, anniversaries but now there is an empty chair or no need to buy a Father’s Day or Birthday card. Today is a tricky day for my uncle and cousins. Today would have been my Auntie Jean’s birthday but she passed away in August. I sent my uncle and cousins cards this week to acknowledge that I remember that today is Auntie Jean’s birthday. I wrote in the cards that I am thinking and praying for them because I am.
We all have tricky days. Days that had at one point been for celebrating and for now are for grieving but eventually will be for remembering. Tricky days aren’t just tricky for the person that experienced the loss, they are tricky for their family and friends as well. Sometimes we think we need to say that “amazingly poignant thing” but maybe “I remember” or “I know” is enough. The people in Newtown, CT have many tricky days ahead of them.
As I was pondering tricky days, I was reminded of when I had the opportunity to share my September 11 story with the “Faces of Hope”. The Faces of Hope were children who were born on September 11, 2001 – one (or twins) to represent each state. A book had been published with their photos in 2002. I met some of those children in early September 2011 right before their 10th birthday. (Actually part of my visit with them was on the Today Show. How weird was that!) I reminded them to not let the attacks of September 11 define them, to remember that they were a wonderful thing that happened on a bad day. I told them I was so glad to meet them because they were truly faces of hope. On sad side note, the little girl that was killed when Gabby Gifford was shot was actually one of the children that was featured in the Faces of Hope book. 🙁
I mention this idea of tricky days for a few of reasons. First we don’t always know if today is a tricky day for someone so let’s listen to each other. Second we can’t expect someone to know it is a tricky day for us unless we tell them so let’s talk to each other. Thirdly let’s just cut each other some slack because until I have walked in your shoes, I can’t know what you are going through but I can choose to walk beside you instead of over you.
The card came today, it meant the world to me. It was a tricky day. As a teacher, I wrote the date dozens of times, it got easier as the day went on. I called my mom’s sister, my Auntie Doris, in England, seemed like the next best person I could talk to, since my sister has laryngitis. I talked to my dad. It was hard not to cry. They say it gets easier, that the “firsts are the hardest”. I hope that’s true, today was not just tricky, it hurt. Thank you for remembering.
It does get easier in some ways. Time doesn’t necessarily heal all wounds but it does soften them. The shadows don’t stay so dark and the light comes back in. 🙂
My dad died 19th Jan 34 years ago. I still remember the date because it is a friend’s birthday, otherwise it might pass as just another day – another of the 365 days every year when I think of my parents and remember with love.