Anniversaries. The first thing that comes to mind is wedding anniversaries. Happy celebrations of times together, marking years of a shared life. Six weeks from now will be my first anniversary.
Throughout this past year, I have counted the mile posts, noting with each the events that punctuated the prior year. One would think each mile post would take me further away from it. Yet each day brings an event newly remembered; memories painfully experienced as if currently happening. As the approaching anniversary draws nearer the pain becomes so real again it seems unbearable.
I struggle to be present, yet my mind continues to look backward, to look for the clues I missed. Once again mourning the relationship, a marriage littered with clues of what was to come. A marriage full of denial of the damage that was taking place. I want to put it in reverse, I want a do over. I want to rewrite the scene, make it palatable. Write it so I can live without it haunting me day and night, so it does not permeate my soul.
I can’t help but wonder if I hadn’t decided to leave, to finally make the break I’d been so afraid of for so many years, would it still have happened. My reality is I was already dead emotionally; my spirit already broken over and over, each time healing less and less. It was only after I had virtually nothing left of me that I got serious about leaving. In preparing to leave, I saw a chance at a future. I struggled so hard for so long to have the courage to open that door. I had finally resolved I was going to walk through it and not look back, never go back there. I never considered the cost of that freedom being so high.
As my anniversary approaches, it is not the anticipation of a joyful celebration of wedding vows exchanged of love, commitment or honoring each other. Rather it is the anniversary that marks a tragic ending to a turbulent relationship. The anniversary of one struggle ended, another begun. The before and after. A family torn apart, a family created. Holding on for survival, and finally, learning how to let go.