Why do we have anniversary grief?


 It’s been a year since my sister literally dropped dead, to the floor, from heart disease. At first I felt the need to excavate the tragedy, pick at it until there was nothing left to be found. Now I can barely stand to revisit it. I had a lot of post traumatic stress afterwards. The anniversary brings it back, more so beforehand, the coming weeks, than right now. I don’t understand anniversary grief, but I have been captive to it since my Mom died when I was young.

Daddy’s death didn’t have the same effect because it wasn’t shocking. Maybe that’s the reason it’s so hard to come to grips with. Getting past sudden death is hard. It’s like I’ve let the whole thing out on a string and let it go, slowly, away from me until I only hold it by the string, not knowing where it went or how far. But there’s always that string.

I spent some time worrying about my own heart’s health, I still do worry. I did the same thing after mom died of cancer. I was 20 and now I am 62 so that’s a lot of worry that I might have cancer and not know it. Now I worry about dropping dead of a heart attack, or not knowing I’m having a heart attack. I assume it’s normal to have these fears? And everything reminds me of my mortality, still, one year later. At first I was afraid to do anything alone because I might die and no one would be there to know it. That’s what happened to my sister. I wear my wedding rings when I go out alone so if I die, people will know there is a husband to contact. Then they will look in my phone and find him and tell him. 

And I keep feeling sentimental about all the good things I will lose when I die. Happy things, people I love, beautiful world, existence. A year’s not enough to finish this morose obsession? I hope it’s not the fate of old people to view everything as if you’re about to lose it. Maybe it’s because I’m the only one left of my little family of origin.

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