Two days ago was the 8 year anniversary of the accident.
8 years. A lifetime but seems like just yesterday.
Normally I post something the day of the anniversary. Put up pictures from our "balloon day." A day L likes to call our own special holiday that is "loads of fun and sad all at the same time."
The day before I was my usual mess. The strange feeling that it's all going to happen again. I kept myself busy and took two 15 minute naps to reset my brain in order to make it through the day. I comforted M and texted with E reminding both of them that they are so loved, agree that all of this just sucks, and that it still hurts so much.
The morning at the park was lovely. Our family definitely knows how to show up. This year involved negotiating some logistics, but we figured it all as a group. The kids are always happy to be together.
The rest of the day I tried to do things to relax and sit with my feelings. I visited the cemetery and had a good one-sided talk with Jeanne and Mike. I had a strange incident with the lawn mower at the cemetery who stopped me while walking to my car. He asked me if I was visiting their grave. This was somebody who didn't know them in real life, but said he thought about them often and wondered about the girls because he remembered how sad the funeral was. After a brief comment about the girls, I fled to my car having been mentally propelled to the graveside and my dad and K having to pull me away from the coffins because I could not fathom leaving Jeanne behind. Leaving her there in the ground. At that point it all became so real.
The rest of our day was a bit of blur. We had lots going on with soccer games and a cross country meet. I had to be present for the kids. I had to be mom/aunt. Lunches needed to be made. Hugs dispensed and love given. I noticed that less people reached out to me directly. There were some comments on Facebook as usual when I posted my pictures from the morning. My in-laws didn't call or text acknowledging the day. That kinda hurt.
The next day and even into today I feel hung over. I'm really not sure how I got through yesterday. I actually left the office early. Overwhelmed with sadness and all my responsibilities and the continued profound impact on our family. I still have a tinges of jealousy of my two younger sisters, who have sometimes from my warped perspective had simpler path of grief. My feelings are so wrapped up in having to parent the girls through their loss and the loss of our family as we knew it. I hold myself in check from indulging fully in my grief to be there for the kids (or maybe it's just a defense mechanism). I think part of me is still a bit mad of Jeanne and Mike for leaving. Hints of resentment at my sisters. Then of course all of these feelings are followed with shame and guilt for even going to that space.
So here I am 8 years and 2 days out. My life is still divided by the before and after this day. I can still recall every detail from October 24, 2009 and the days that followed. I miss my sister. My girls miss their parents. I'm sad and am going to sit with that for a little longer. Our love for Jeanne and Mike deserves nothing less.