The Twenty-First

Michael died on July 21st.  As the days and then weeks passed, there it was looming ahead – August 21st.  I guess it was the first evidence that time was passing without him.  On August 21st, one month after he died, it was hard to breathe.  The kids and I all knew it was a difficult day.  Friends marked it as well.  Many called to check on us.  There was still unbelief that this was our life.  I gave platelets in the blood bank that day.  And as much as I thought I would be able to be strong, the irony of it made me cry through the procedure.

On September 21st, Michael had been gone two months.  It was Sunday and quiet.  The night before, the kids and I went to Emeril’s for dinner, a place filled with lots of memories of special occasions and “no occasions” spent there.  The day after, I gave platelets in the blood bank, complete with tears, though fewer than the month before.

On October 21st, Michael had been gone three months.  It was a Tuesday with business to take care of and lots of things to do.  I was scheduled to serve dinner at a ministry of our church that night.   But out of nowhere that afternoon the emotions came.  Try as I might I just couldn’t get it under control and had to cancel.

This last week I knew would mark another 21st, four months since Michael’s death.  Throughout the week I knew it was coming on Friday.  Always on the horizon.  Getting closer each day.

On Saturday morning as I put my shoes on I realized that Friday had come and gone.  The day had gone by without a breakdown of emotion.  Without weeping and depression.  In fact the kids were here with me that day and several times we laughed until we cried about silly things.  But I never once thought – “It’s been four months!”

What’s wrong with me?  It’s not like I don’t think about Michael 187 times a day.  It’s not like I don’t miss him with every breath I take.  But how could I get through the day and not once realize it had been exactly four months?  It somehow feels like a betrayal to not have stopped for that moment of recognition.  How could I possibly have gotten through the day without realizing it?  It’s not like I didn’t miss him 372 times that day.  But that day I missed it.

I’m not sure what it means.  I’m not sure why I feel guilty about it or why it makes me sad.  Is this how it happens?  How you go on?  Does the twenty-first of each month pass and soon you don’t even notice it?  I don’t want it to be that way.  I don’t want the twenty-first to come and go without me marking it in some way.  I miss him 731 times a day, every day.  Why is it different on the twenty-first?  And what will the 21st of December be like?  And January?  And February?

2 thoughts on “The Twenty-First”

  1. I have followed your every post Ginger from the start. At the same time I was following a post for a friends 10 year old granddaughter who had cancer and passed away shortly after Michael. I was so moved by both of the daily blogs and your unwavering faith. I have been inspired by both you and Amanda’s mothers blog. Thank you for continuing to share as often as you have. You still inspire so many people by continuing to give, whether it is through donating blood, platelets or your inspiring words. Keep posting and inspiring. I have been able to donate blood again now that I have passed my five year mark and no signs of breast cancer. When I give blood I always think of you because it was your post that made me inquire if I would ever be able to be a donor again. You are in my prayers.

    1. My husband lost his father on the 21st of a month. For many months, it was just as you describe. Tears and emotional breakdowns. Then it became just quieter moments, not the destruction of an entire day. Yes, the first month he forgot, he was filled with guilt. In this busy, full, over scheduled world we live in, it is almost inevitable. I can assure you that your emotions on that day will be as varied as other days depending on circumstances and memories. Just last week my husband was quiet, moody, and just wanted to be alone. I asked him what was wrong and his response ? “today’s the 21st. It’s been 47 months.” Thank you for sharing and I will pray for you too on the 21st.

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