With or Without the Slash

Dearest Rachel –

I guess the day has yet to come; I still see the twenty-third of each month as another milestone. It has now been eight months since the accident. Two-thirds of a year. With or without the slash, the numbers two and three have significance today.

Of course, I know that others have suffered loss, particularly in this past year. Between Covid, and the separation it has caused between people, both physically, politically, and psychologically, everyone has lost contact throughout the past eighteen or so months. Some others of us have lost loved ones through it all – I’m not the only one, and I don’t have the right to act as if I am.

But it’s the things that are closest to us that loom the largest. It’s why the dramas of childhood are always such a big deal, even though once we reach adulthood, we realize how trivial they are; when we’re experiencing them, they’re the biggest thing that we’ve ever had to deal with. Similarly the things that come closest to us, that affect us the most, seem so much larger than the sufferings of those outside of our own circle.

And the deeper, and more significant than wounds are, the longer they take to heal. I have a book that you’ve probably seen – one of those things to read in the bathroom when you can’t go anywhere else – about rules of thumb. Some of the entries are ancient to the point of nearly being self evident (including a paraphrase of the golden rule), others are useful but silly enough to be remembered (such as a parachuting guideline to pull your ripcord “when the cars appear to be the size of the ants. When the ants are the size of cars, you’ve waited too long”). Needless to say, there are rules of thumb regarding how long it takes to recover from a loss like this. Supposedly, the average is around five years.

Five years.

Now, again, this is an average; a rule of thumb. Some will take longer, some won’t take nearly as long.

But this suggests to me that you never got a chance to completely recover from losing your dad, let alone your mom. And I do feel bad for you about that. I can only hope that you’re reunited with them, and the pain of that loss has dissipated in the way only a reunion can accomplish.

Meanwhile, it probably means I still have at least fifty months – and probably more – before I stop being hung up over the 23rd of every month. And I’m not really sure what I can do to mitigate that, or even if I should do something to mitigate that. I mean, I’ve already told you about times where it concerns me that I’m busy trying to find someone else to take on the role that you filled; should I not be doing that?

I guess I don’t know what the steps are in the process of recovery yet – which probably should make sense, as I’m in the middle of the maze, as opposed to looking at it from above (like you are). It may well be that the mitigation measures are all part of the recovery process, and a completely good and normal thing to do.

But for now, and as long as the 23rd of the month continues to cast a shadow over my life, I’m probably just going to be guessing.

Happy(?) eight-month anniversary, honey. Wish me luck.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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