The holiday season is over. Starting in early November, every year, I begin pondering Megan’s death at an elevated rate, leading up to the anniversary of it. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day all occurring in the weeks just after, it’s two months of absolute stress, that nobody seems to understand, including myself. My work becomes overwhelming, the weather is never “nice”, no matter what the actual conditions, and it feels as if my world is falling apart.
I present myself as totally and unalterably angry, save for the three to five days where I am just flat-out depressed, until sometime on or around January 2nd of the new year. There is no specific pattern, other than November starting, along with the initial thought of “this is the month Megan died”. It’s all a plummet from there.
I have no control over it. I can intellectually analyze it and realize that my anxiety is wholeheartedly related to her death occurring within the month, but 95 percent of the time, it is buried in my subconscious, with the quick-hitting excuses of “work sucks”, “money is tight”, or “I’m just tired” taking the forefront.
The holidays have become something to “get through” anymore.
I got through them.
Yearly, in complete amazement to me, January second is the actual “New Year”. Sarah and I have a tradition of taking a long drive to some random place on New Year’s Day, which has almost become the initial indicator that the worst of times is over. I’m always in a better mood, and more at peace, both during and afterwards. My hobbies begin to become more interesting again. I WANT to do things outside or with my hands. I want to make things, explore, and learn in general.
It has nothing to do with “New Year’s resolutions”. Those have, are, and will continue to be silly to me, because they are almost never thought-out, or followed up on any longer than a week in my experience. If anything, I just get to become “me” again, without any qualifiers or decisions to “make a change”.
All in all, in the five years plus since Megan’s death, I can almost foresee the future, at least in the overarching routine of things.
I’ll be woodworking and dreaming of camping in the first few months of the year, while working on major projects at my job. Spring will come into view, and fishing, hiking, and camping will be obsessive pursuits. Summer, and Shelby being off school will bring beach trips, amusement parks, and boat drinks or light-colored beers with lime wedges in them. This summer will also bring a wedding, and as such, no longer calling Megan “my wife”.
I still don’t know how her title will change, but Sarah will be my wife, so Megan will become…my “first wife-although-not-divorced”, my “late-first wife”, my “widowmaker”, my “zombie bride” (she’d actually love that), my “person in a box in the dining room”? I don’t know, but it certainly won’t be “my first chapter” (still hate that term)
Fall will start to appear, and harvest festivals, drives to the country, apple cider, and campfires are going to be most of what I am wanting to do…up until my late-October birthday…my 40th.
Then, the shit will hit the fan all over again.
Sure, there will be new things. New hobbies, new possessions, new skills, new knowledge, and ultimately, a new spouse. Shelby will be another year older, our debt will hopefully be all but gone, I might have a new job, and we may even be preparing for a new home.
But Megan will still be dead.
I may have simply become more observant since her death, but I cannot recall any time before that where life seemed so routine. Where I could predict, and almost schedule where I would be in a few months. There have been very few constants other than literally life, death, and taxes that I can remember.
The major constant, up until Megan’s demise, was that I was a husband. I haven’t felt like one since November 19th, 2014. I’ve been a widow in both title and thought. Maybe this is the year it finally changes. I can hope that I will no longer be a “widow”, but once again, a “husband”
So here’s hope for a new year, new title, and a new holiday season in 2020.