Anniversaries – coping with the hard ones

April 19, 2016

Well of course I’m nine months pregnant on the anniversary of my Dad’s death this year.

I am learning to embrace these little intricacies and coincidences in my colourful life, knowing that things do (seem to) happen for a reason.

When I thought they might schedule a planned c section for me I had this feeling

that the date would be Dad’s anniversary (April 19th) and I felt surprisingly calm about that.

I did use fickle language in response to my Mum asking how I would feel if this would be the case stating,

 “I think it would be quite nice. I guess it wouldn’t be ideal if the baby or I died. Well, it wouldn’t be good for you..”

Sometimes I really need to check myself. Insensitive and not really funny is how one could describe such a statement.

This post isn’t intended to be sad or filled with self pity.

However I do have to confess that I find Dad’s anniversary harder than his birthday (which I forget the date of every year. It’s early July sometime, the 5th maybe?… The down side of your parent dying when you were too young to remember dates) or Fathers day.

Perhaps this is because he died a week to the day before my eighth birthday.

My memories are faint and now almost forced but there is a little notion in my head that he promised he would acquire a wheelchair and take me to the Wimpy for my party. Do you remember Wimpy!? It was the craze in Northern Ireland before Ronald McDonald and someone dressed in Mr wimpy costume for your party. Great craic.

Anyway it’s perhaps for this reason that I feel the lowest around his anniversary.

Although my memories are getting weaker as I grow older there are definite visuals like my Mum remaining upbeat during my birthday party ( we didn’t do Wimpy that year although I imagine I demanded one, being the little brat that I was) four days after she buried her husband.

Also I remember the faces of the people who left gifts.

Like the minster of our church and his wife leaving me a skipping rope and me asking to have my photo taken with it.

A time that must have crushed my Mum to the very core as her heart ached.

This year, this month, I am also aware that my eldest boy is now a seven year old. He is still so small and so naive with a lifetime ahead of him.

My husband and I are engaged eleven years on April 23rd, which is just one year shy of what mum and dad had in married years together. I feel a snippet of anger that she was robbed of the years subsequent to Dad’s death. It feels like Michael and I are only starting our journey as a married couple.

But she (Mum) would be the first to tell me that dwelling on such a “what-could-have-been” daydream achieves nothing but further hurt.

So what is my point in all of this?

Mostly to say that if you are like me and find the actual anniversary of your loved ones death that bit more of a pinch than any other time in the year, you are not alone.

Of course I speak in this post of how I cry at the small things too- have I shared how many times the Denny sausage ad makes me weep?! The music (it’s Foy Vance who I do love after all), the movement, the babes and family- sets me right off craving for my Dad’s presence.

Pain is a chance to remember we are well and truly alive.

Whether it crushes  us or drives us forward. It happens and we can ride the wave, take stock and keep trudging.

So, the date is here, my babe is not yet in my arms and I will probably always find this time emotional.

And thats’ ok.

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  • Reply jennybairdblog April 19, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Lovely post.I know what you mean when you say you feel like you are only starting out aa married couple. We have been married 18 years and I too feel like we are only at the beginning. Can’t imagine how hard that must have been you you all – especially your mum. xx

    • Reply Aly April 20, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      Jenny first off thank you for reading and commenting on this post. Secondly I got to read your own posts last night and I am so thankful for your words and honesty. Life comes with it’s challenges in all different forms. You’re amazing x

  • Reply Joanne April 19, 2016 at 10:56 am

    lovely post of memories sad and good. I suppose that’s what they call life. But for to happen at such a young age must have been very hard. I empathise with you in the fact that dad was taken from us last year May5th 2015 just after his 76th birthday on the 4th May. ITS BEEN ALONG ROAD AND THE FIRST ANNIVERSAY IS YET TO COME. sorry about caps. lol. I miss talking to DAD, holding his hands and the fact my daughter Jayne will grow up not knowing him. it hurts but we have to keep going. All we can do is stand together and to know were not alone offers some comfort.

    • Reply Aly April 20, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Joanne thanks for reading and taking the time to comment and share your story. You are right, life continues and we have to brace ourselves and keep trucking. I will be thinking of you on May the 4th. Thanks again xx

      • Reply Joanne May 3, 2016 at 9:40 pm

        thanks Aly. love that bit keep trucking.

        • Reply Aly May 6, 2016 at 1:10 pm

          Hi Joanne I trust that this week hs been ok for you. Aly x

          • Joanne August 7, 2016 at 8:43 pm

            The week went by OK. We had our wee moment at the grave for Dad and it was nice. People might find this strange saying it was nice but it was our moment you get what I mean. Yes we were sad and a few tears but I think everyone has taken it in our stride and deal with it the only way we know. Remember, reflect, let feelings show and and accept them and when we’re ready move forward but not forgetting Dad.
            Nothing will replace that feeling of lost we have you have no choice but to live with it. That’s life. Thanks for thinking on us.

  • Reply Judith April 19, 2016 at 11:23 am

    With our grief for Nana still very raw, this is a hard read. I’m sure Auntie Ella’s reaction to the ‘well it wouldn’t be ideal if me or the baby died’ was a good solid tut. 🙂 love and hugs. can’t wait to see you and the new addition real soon!

    • Reply Aly April 20, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      Thanks for reading cous. Yeh I think this year in itself got off to a sad start in many ways. Hopefully baby will arrive safely and bring joy to many of us! Thanks for commenting xxx

  • Reply lynseym027 April 19, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Beautiful and honest words. I lost my husband of 11 years nearly 18 months ago and have only experienced one anniversary which was more emotion filled than any other date (birthday, wedding anniversary etc.). The other date that stings is the birthday of my little girl as it is a reminder that her daddy is not here to see her grow up. This date along with any milestone that she achieves is a difficult day. Thanks for sharing x

    • Reply Aly April 20, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post and to comment. I am so sorry for your own loss and so thankful that you shared with me your experience with emotion around anniversaries. My Mum would also agree that the milestones in our lives bring with them a bit of sting as she sees Dad is absent. Thank you again xx

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  • Reply Denise Atwood April 23, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Love this Aly, Loosing my parents was one of the hardest things in my life, I am lucky to have a sister and thought the anniversaries of their deaths has a real physical tug and a sadness we have chosen to celebrate their birthdays. On our Mom’s we go shopping for new shoes, something she would approve of! And for Dad’s we have a burger at a local spot he enjoyed. It’s been many years and those traditions make me smile now. Thinking of you and your boys and your new baby and the gift of life. Love to all of you.

    • Reply Aly April 25, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Denise I love this idea! Funny, I bought Dad’s favourite loaf of bread on his anniversary and tucked into the whole thing toasted with lots of real churned butter- the way I know he liked it.
      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and comment. i trust that you are both well after another loss recently in your family.
      We are on the final countdown for baby number three so any tips on how to juggle three will be very welcome! xx

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