Today is the day. The one when Owen died. I take the day off work each year, and in the past Angus has skipped school as well. He opted out this year, said he didn’t feel he needed it. I don’t mind; Angus is on to bigger and better things, hardly tripped up by dates unless he’s supposed to get something.
I read somewhere that it’s important to acknowledge anniversaries – to be prepared and plan something so as to not get caught off guard not having commemorated the special date, whether birthday or death. It makes a sort of sense – why not? – and so regardless of how I’m feeling I always take time off on August 18 and October 24.
Granted, it can feel a bit contrived. All days will happen whether I acknowledge them or not. Christmas still happens if it doesn’t snow. My birthday will come and go whether or not I get cards in the mail. And depending on how I’m feeling that day, any of these things may or may not be fine by me.
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s been 3 years and no matter what, Owen still died. And whether or not I acknowledge this cruel anniversary, this is still the day it happened.
In two hours, 3 years ago, I will learn by phone that Owen died. I will rush down to Michael’s condo, making hasty phone calls to inform my close friends and family, hearing them fall apart on the phone as I feel all the blood drain from my head. I could give you a play-by-play of the entire day, the following day and each day after until the funeral, after which I finally collapsed and time itself ceased to exist for several months.
On a regular day, I avoid replaying those scenes in my head on purpose. I have become good at repressing them at will. But despite my efforts they are simply dying to bubble up again, to be seen on the continuum of all things that have ever happened to me.
So this day is less about Remembering Owen. I don’t need a special day to do that. Instead, this is my day to acknowledge my loss. An x-marks-the-spot, bridging the before and after.