The same time, every year, I get into a funk.
It starts with feeling run down, unmotivated and fatigued. Those feelings are often followed by me becoming grumpy, depressed, and very sad.
I experience this same cycle every year in mid April and every year it takes me to the end of April to realize that this cyclical pattern within my body is all the beginning of my unconscious acknowledgement that Flynn's anniversary is approaching.
No matter how distracted, focused or oblivious I am to the calendar, my body remembers that 365 days have passed since his last anniversary, even now, nine years after his death. Its funny that my mind has still not picked up the alert system that my body has integrated into it's biology.
Every year I handle the signals differently. Some years I have embraced the sadness, wanting to wrap myself up in the memories and linger there. Other years it has felt more comfortable to just get through it, do what I need to do and then move forward. I have done that a number of ways such as ignoring the day altogether or keeping it to myself. I have never been able to predict what kind of year it is going to be, it has been different with every anniversary.
The first one was difficult; it was a reminder that time had continued for everyone even after my world had stopped. The second anniversary felt more like a signal that I could not stay where I was with my grief; it was time to cope and learn to manage my life again. Some anniversaries I was able to ignore the significance of the day completely, possibly as a form of self preservation. Ignoring it, while needed at the time, always led to a feeling of guilt. Guilt because I had not taken time to acknowledge my son's death which also meant that I had not acknowledged his life.
That leads me to this year, 2011. This year Flynn would have been nine, I cannot begin to explain the denial I want to experience when I think of how much time has passed. I think of how different May 3rd would be if he were alive. We would be celebrating his approach to double digits, his almost being a decade old. Instead I am coming to the realization that it has almost been ten years since I held him, smelled him and felt his warm little body in my arms.
It is hard because alternatively 2011 has been filled with so many fabulous experiences. While I am enjoying the shift in my life, I have needed to shed more tears, allow for the memories, embrace the reality of who I am, more this year. It has been surprising and therapeutic. I believe that Flynn has been missing from my life for a couple of years, so that I could do what was needed for Bereaved Families and in my role as a support for bereaved people. It is hard to admit that I had to close myself off to his memory and it has been equally difficult to figure out how to open myself back up to it. As his mother I am hard on myself and feel, at times, like I have abandoned him in order to cope. The emotion that I have encountered while remembering him, is humbling. To remember his purpose, the significance of his little life and the importance of not forgetting, it is a part of my journey that I am glad to have found again.
This year, 2011, has been based in the pursuit of my dreams to finish school and get my Masters in Social Work. I have said so many times (in this blog) that my path and my course was set the day that Flynn was born. There have been several other reasons that my life was destined to be in a helping and supportive profession, but he was my inspiration, my purpose for knowing that I was on the right path.
His life, so short and yet so meaningful is remembered first by my body that carried him, then by my mind that remembers his tiny toes, fingers and his perfect little face and finally by my heart that is forever scarred by his death and swollen with love by his life.