It was 2 months ago today that our son, Milan, passed away.  If I look at the anniversary of his death by the hour, it was at this very moment, 2 months ago, that I was holding his lifeless body in his arms just after we realized CPR was hopeless.  The 20 medical professionals were filtering out of the NICU room about now.  I was crying out his name.

I recount this painful story to explore the value of Anniversaries.  As it is the first and hopefully last death trauma I have had to cope with, I will have to understand my feelings of a death anniversary for the rest of my life. 

Here is the definition of anniversary according to

-noun; 1.  the yearly recurrence of the date of a past event: the tenth anniversary of their marriage; 2. the celebration or commemoration of such a date; 3. wedding anniversary.

When we acknowledge and often times celebrate anniversaries of all sorts, we dig deep into our memories and commemorate the date.  A birthday is an accomplishment to commemorate, so long as you are still alive.  A wedding anniversary is also something to celebrate, so long as the relationship is working for the most part, and you remember all the things you’ve been through together.  Still this is a happier anniversary when you are both alive.

In coping with a traumatic loss, do we need an anniversary to remember the loss we are living with everyday?  You play out your memories when you are washing your face, peeing in the middle of the night, or touching someone’s skin.  Distractions offer only a moment of rest.

Maybe one day, when time has passed and my memories naturally fade, I will need to take a day to remember.  For now, trying to live in the present is what’s helping me live with the past.