One year ago we began. I suppose we never really ended, chasing the tumor through surgery, the terrible promise of chemo, and finally home again. James found his own way around the tumor there. The journey changed. The path became less clear and more muddled. It's strange in a way. James dying settled a lot of things. Side effects of chemo, what the next year of treatment would be like. It took away all of the unsolved variables of that equation and replaced them with an absolute certainty. The trouble is dealing with that, with knowing it and living in it, walking around each day with that settled on your soul. The adjustment is not pleasant.
If you told me one year ago today, sitting at James' bedside with the white noise of our neurosurgeon in the background and a picture of James' tumor splashed on the wall that I would spend the day a year later without my son (unless you count his grave, and you really can't), I would have hit you. I would have called you a liar shortly thereafter, and after you left me alone I would have started to cry because I would have been frightened you were right, and fully aware I was incapable of dealing with what that meant. Today, I'm still not sure but I am here.
In many ways, I'm not sure what I expected. Some revelation, perhaps, as if the date itself held some special significance to the world outside of me. None of that happened of course. It's a day. A day when the thoughts are closer to the surface, when my memory of him is more easily accessible and I can hear his voice a little clearer. But it's still just a day. I cried, but not as much as I might have. There is no clarity, at least not anything new. Because it's the kind of thing I do, I looked up most of the key dates on wikipedia to see what if anything happened on them. June 23 is particularly unmemorable. A few minor battles in minor wars, the birth of a lesser King of England, Julius Caesar's illegitimate son with Cleopatra, and a hundred other individuals just important enough to merit a place on wikipedia but not in your memory. It's just another day, and not an especially crucial one.
Not much happened. The day passed on a slow, steady manner. Denton. Lunch at Rudy's, a bar-b-que chain restaurant that has the distinct advantage of being at the same exit as the cemetery. Home and netflix to pad out the afternoon. Dinner. Bed early. Just another day.
I know better to expect revelations. I know better than to expect anything at all on a schedule. It's been a year and there will be more years to come. More days. I miss him either way. I love him more. I always will, and while I can't count on revelations I can count on that.
Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers.